Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 3 Discussion: BORN A CRIME by Trevor Noah #12mos12rals

born a crime

Welcome to our third discussion for our Born a Crime readalong. This week we'll be discussing Part II. To check out our previous discussions, please see our week 1 and week 2 discussion posts.

  1. This past week was Valentine's Day, and appropriately Part II features not one, not two, but three stories from Noah's tragic misadventures in romance. Which one of these was your favorite? Which the saddest? Did they remind you of any of your own teenage heartbreaks? Juicy details pls!
  2. In Chapter 9, "The Mulberry Tree," Noah says that's it's easier to be an outsider trying to fit in than an insider who doesn't. Do you think this is true? How do you think that experience shaped how Noah related to the world going forward? How did you react to the actions of Abel?
  3. Trevor Noah: entrepreneur or hustler?
  4. One of the most tragi-comic stories in the section, I think, is Chapter 13, "Colorblind." What were some of your reactions to the story? Noah never tells us what happens to his friend–why do you think that is?
  5. Anything else you found interesting or want to discuss?

Thanks for participating in the readalong so far! If you posted about this section on your blog or anywhere else on the internets, be sure to link back to it here so we don't miss it. Otherwise, feel free to discuss the book in the comments section.

Next week Tuesday, the last day of February, we'll be closing our readalong with a discussion of Part III. See you then!


  1. I missed last week's discussion, sorry! Too many things going on.

    Anyway, I loved all of the Valentine's Day essays, even though they were all pretty awkward and painful. The saddest for me was the first one. At the end I said, "Awww." Aloud. In public. But the one I related to the most was the second one, because I too had a huge crush on a guy in highschool but never said anything because I figured there was no way he'd ever like me too. (And speaking of, do you think Zaheera is out there somewhere, reading this book, and she remembers Noah?)

    As for an outsider being more easily accepted by a group than someone seen as part of the group who's trying fit in elsewhere, I do agree with Noah's observation, although I think that's a simplistic way to put it. I think people are more accepting of what they perceive as anomalies because they're not threatened by them, so as long as you're the only one trying to fit in, sure. But I also think group identity or "fitting in" is itself a myth, and if you're the type of person who always sees yourself as an outsider or other, you're never going to feel like you belong to a group to begin with.

    When I finished chapter "Colorblind," I was like, "Wait – so what happened to Noah's friend? Did he stay in jail? Was his life ruined?" But then after a few minutes I realized that the fate of his friend isn't really the point of the story; it's to convey an experience where Noah was literally reduced to a color. "I've never felt more invisible in my life," he says at one point. I can understand why Noah wouldn't have mentioned what happened to his friend because that would have detracted from the main thing he wanted to tell us in the essay.

  2. Part II held so many great stories that it is hard to narrow down just one favorite, but if I had to in the name of love, I would have to say The Dance. As he was telling his story, the language barrier never did make an appearance, so I was completely stunned with his revelation towards the end. How could this even happen?!? But, it made complete sense once he thought it through.

    My own life really does not compare to Noah's, but I must say that I have sometimes felt more accepted as an outsider than an insider. Growing up, I never really fit in because I held different beliefs than the majority of my home town (or even the state, for that matter!). Once my husband and I started moving around, I found that in certain locations, I was more accepted. I've since moved back to my home state and have frequently stated that I feel more like an outsider again. It's so weird, and can be a bit hard to process at times.

    "Colorblind" was such an interesting story, and I found that I had the same reaction as Tasha. I wanted to know what happened to his friend! But, again as Tasha has said, that was not the point of the story. Ultimately, I found this tale to be one of the most fascinating for a variety of reasons. It really made you think about what others have sometimes did to survive, and also how to live with themselves when they have had to make difficult decisions along the way.

    I really could chat tons about this book, but I will save more of my thoughts for the final discussion and when I post my own review/discussion of the book next week.

  3. oh thanks, I get it. So I think I agree too, I probably feel more accepted here as an outsider than in my home country


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