I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in a long time people. Granted, I haven’t read nearly as much as I used too, but I still firmly believe that statement would still be true. Trevor Noah has a story to tell, and my god can he tell a story. This one just happens to be about his life, up until the days following his mother being shot in the head.
You might know Trevor Noah from his stand up, and currently as host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. What you might not know is that Trevor was born into a world in which he was considered the product of a crime. Literally. His mother, a black South African woman, and his father, a white Swiss man, were forbidden to engage in sexual relations under the Immorality Act under apartheid in South Africa. His lineage was then kept a secret from everyone other than his immediate family, and his exposure to the general population was minimal until apartheid ended. Even then, the repercussions from apartheid he would continue to deal with for the rest of his life in South Africa, until he moved to the United States in 2011. The most recent years of his life aren’t chronicled in this book, but I am very much hoping he writes those stories in a new book.
Trevor’s book is filled with so much.
Honesty, comedy, love, parenting, feminism, fear, abuse, courage. After finishing this book, it is astounding to me that this man can not only still see the world in a positive light, but to keep pushing the boundaries and seeking the truth in a world in which the truth is seldom positive.
I am grateful that he decided to share his story in this book, and I am grateful that he is here.
Below are a couple quotes that I loved, and I really hope that everyone reads this book.
PS- His mom is #momgoals. Seriously, that woman is everything.
“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to. “What if…” “If only…” “I wonder what would have…” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.”
“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”
“I was blessed with another trait I inherited from my mother, her ability to forget the pain in life. I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don’t hold onto the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass kicking your mom gave you or the ass kicking that life gave you, you’ll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It’s better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on. You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s ok. But after a while, the bruises fade and they fade for a reason. Because now, it’s time to get up to some shit again.”
“Trevor, remember a man is not determined by how much he earns. You can still be a man of the house and earn less than your woman. Being a man is not what you have, it’s who you are. Being more of a man doesn’t mean your woman has to be less than you.”
“The name Hitler does not offend a black South African because Hitler is not the worst thing a black South African can imagine. Every country thinks their history is the most important, and that’s especially true in the West. But if black South Africans could go back in time and kill one person, Cecil Rhodes would come up before Hitler. If people in the Congo could go back in time and kill one person, Belgium’s King Leopold would come way before Hitler. If Native Americans could go back in time and kill one person, it would probably be Christopher Columbus or Andrew Jackson. “
“The world doesn’t love you. If the police get you, the police don’t love you. When I beat you, I’m trying to save you. When they beat you, they’re trying to kill you.”