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1-Page Summary of Born a Crime
Trevor Noah’s memoir is about his childhood and adolescence. He talks about the history and culture of South Africa, as well as his life story.
Trevor Noah’s mother, Patricia, is born in South Africa. She belongs to the Xhosa tribe and her parents are divorced when she’s young. Her father leaves for another family and her mother has to raise two kids on her own. Patricia is sent away from home at a young age to live with relatives who don’t have much money or education. However, she still manages to get an education and works as a secretary; she saves up all of her money so that she can move out by herself into an apartment in Johannesburg where she meets Robert, a white man who becomes friends with her. Wanting children of his own but not being able to have them because he’s married already, Robert agrees to help Patricia start a new family by having sex with each other without contraception (which was illegal). They give birth to Trevor Noah; Trevor is mixed race since it’s also illegal for people from different races/ethnicities in South Africa during that time period.
Although both Patricia and Robert have to be careful of how they treat Trevor because of apartheid, he remembers a happy childhood. He grew up in a small flat and then moved to Eden Park, which was primarily colored. His father visited him every week and he also spent time with his mother’s family in Soweto, the Black neighborhood. He was rambunctious as a child so his mother often disciplined him strictly but they also had an extremely close relationship. She encouraged Trevor to think for himself by asking questions and challenging rules at school. She gave him ambition by getting him enrolled in private Catholic school although he would get into trouble there for questioning authority.
Trevor is about six years old when his mother meets a man named Abel. The two of them get married, and then Trevor has a half-brother named Andrew. Because he doesn’t like Abel, Trevor visits his father less often. His relationship with Robert deteriorates over time until Robert moves to Cape Town when Trevor is thirteen years old. Around this time, Trevor gets kicked out of Catholic school and starts attending H.A. Jack, where students don’t intermingle much because they’re from different races and backgrounds. This makes it clear that he feels most comfortable around Black people but doesn’t fit in well with any specific group at the new school—he’s either too black for colored folks or too white for Blacks—and so he rarely has close friends and is bullied by others who are trying to find their place in the world as well..
Trevor’s life improves after he begins high school. His family, however, continues to experience problems. Trevor’s stepfather loses his business and starts drinking heavily. The family moves to a different neighborhood in order to avoid more financial troubles. Patricia still supports the household by working full-time while her husband drinks even more and becomes abusive towards the rest of the family. Trevor is interested in starting his own businesses but is unsuccessful at attracting girls until later on in high school when he makes money from other students’ lunch orders and eventually sells pirated CDs out of his car that become popular with classmates for their low cost (and illegal nature).
When Trevor finishes high school, he doesn’t have a clear plan for the future. He can’t afford to go to university and has only found work in his CD business and as a DJ. This leads him to spending more time in Alexandra, an impoverished neighborhood dominated by petty crime. By this time, tensions between Trevor and Abel have led Trevor to move into his own apartment. The relationship between Patricia and Abel has deteriorated, yet she is still living with him; however, they are no longer together romantically. When Patricia becomes pregnant again at age forty-three (Trevor is twenty-one), he feels hurt that her husband isn’t helping out financially or contributing anything towards raising the children. He starts spending less time with his mother after this because of it as well as other reasons such as starting up his career which takes off quickly for him over the next few years so he’s too busy focusing on that instead of family matters like visiting them often or talking about what’s going on in their lives when they’re not around each other much anymore since he’s doing better now than before which also helps distance himself from them emotionally since there are things that could potentially bring back bad memories if brought up while having fun with them at times but it doesn’t mean he loves them any less regardless of how many bad experiences they’ve had together growing up nor does it mean one should stop loving someone just because something terrible happens during your life even if you don’t like them sometimes either especially if you know deep down inside somewhere anyone can love anybody else despite how much pain they might cause you whether intentionally or unintentionally when arguing about certain issues but people learn throughout life from their mistakes unfortunately some never do though so be careful who you get involved with whether friends/family members/romantic partners etc…