You know that feeling when you close a book with a smile and your mind screams, “what a book!”

I don’t enjoy reading autobiographies much, so I don’t have many under my belt. This though, I had to read this one because I love the author’s stand-up comedy. He reminds me of me (minus the humour and fame, of course) – he is wry, outraged, and always an outsider, no matter where he is.

If you haven’t guessed already, I’m talking about stand-up comic Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, who was quite literally born a crime.

In his book, Noah deals with issues of race, adolescence, faith, and abuse while recounting his early years as the son of a black Xhosa mum and white Swiss dad. Interracial kids, like Noah, frequently talk about being torn between two identities and worlds. But for how many does this inner tension manifest as actual danger? 

His book is more than just a humourous remembrance of an interracial kid growing up a product of South African apartheid. It is a tale of survival – leavened with insight and wit. 

It is also a moving love letter to Patricia, his incredible mother, who grew up in a hut with her 14 cousins and was determined her son would grow up without paying the so-called “Black tax.” Naming him Trevor was just the start of her determination.

Noah explains how Xhosa give their kids names with traditional meanings, like many indigenous communities in India. But his mother deliberately called him Trevor, a name with no meaning in South Africa and no precedent in his family. 

Noah writes, “It’s just a name. My mother wanted her child beholden to no fate. She wanted me to be free to go anywhere, do anything, be anyone.”

What would you do with your life if you could go anywhere, do anything, be anyone? Write and tell me?



P.S. I’d like to express my gratitude to all of you who are writing back to us, forwarding Just One Thing to friends and helping our community grow. YOU ARE AWESOME!