The 1927 Immorality Act of South Africa made it possible for his parents to be jailed for Trevor's very existence, so he grew up torn between the black and white cultures of his community. Trevor's humor and mischievous nature is evident from early in his life, and that prankish personality shines in the book's prose. He survived hunger as a child, yet he is rather nonchalant about eating caterpillars. One of the early stories of the novel is told like a slapstick film. Having grabbed a ride on a minibus, Noah's mother throws him out the door at an intersection when she fears the driver plans to rape her and kill her son. His mother, Patricia, is both devoutly religious and a rebel. She raises Trevor in a world of women with her faith at the center of the experience, and that meant church three times on Sunday and prayer meetings during the week.
Whether he is writing about the indomitable spirit of his mother and grandmother or dating in high school, Trevor treats all his stories as simply part of the matter of fact nature of the world. He makes few excuses and accepts the cruelties of the culture as what made him, rather than what defines him. This book is one of thoughtful laughter and impossible to fathom heartbreak, yet it is powerful from page one. For me, reading this book feels like looking into the eyes of Trevor Noah and finding a heart and spirit that speaks to us all.