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A Goodreads user asked:

The book sounds intriguing. Is there anything in it that might make it inappropriate for a mainline church library that does not limit itself to books on religion?

Angelique alberty Don't let swearing be the reason why you won't read this book. His story is uplifting and full of wisdom and history. Don't deny yourself this book.
susie Trevor's mom is actually an extremely dedicated church-goer, and religion is a major part of his upbringing. It's a pretty consistent part of the story that parishioners would probably find interesting.
Jonathan Go for it. It is a very truthful account of the conflict between a mother's unquestioning devotion to God and Jesus, and her son's attempts to question it using logic. This happens. Understanding it, and recognising it, is surely important. The critic who said don't get it because there is swearing and Jesus's name in the same sentence seems to live in an alternative reality.

The final sentence is one of the most uplifting and religious I've read. But you have to read the rest to understand that. Don't skip to the end.
Sydney P I agree with Angelique. This book is a wonderful chance for people to learn more about what it was like to grow up during apartheid in South Africa. One of my favorite passages from the book is:
"Nelson Mandela once said, 'If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.' He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else's language, even if it's just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, 'I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.'"
This seems a relevant and important message in our country today. I hope you will consider reading the book and adding it to your church library.
Betsy He was interviewed today on CBS This Morning. It's about his difficulty growing up with biracial parents in South Africa and also considered a love letter to his mother. I think it would be uplifting, educational and hopeful.
Lily If your church and congregation cannot read this book, they ought to question their role as a Christian Church in the United States in this century, at least your adult members. Even if subsequent reviewers brand the story as exaggeration or cause doubt of the truthfulness of some of Trevor's memories, the story is too powerful a look at justice and the needs for kindness and civility (and the institutions and laws to support those) in our lives and our world. I have listened to this in parallel with reading and studying Plato's Republic. Noah addresses issues of morality and justice in 21st century language and quandaries as deep as those posed by Socrates for ancient Greece, whether at the family or community level, or as institutional entities. Yes, it can be trumped by the Bible and its stories. But may the leaders and members of the congregation do just that in fervent exploration of God's intent for his people. (And read/listen to the book all the way to its end -- I almost missed the humor and the faith expressed in those final pages.)

Not a book to necessarily "like."
Ann Many thanks to all who replied! I plan to read the book from the public library, and I fully expect to like it. We are a reasonably open-minded congregation, and if someone were to donate a copy to our church library, we'd catalog it. But the librarians decided not to spend budget money on it, since there are plenty of other good choices on our wish list. The few books with salty language on Biography/Memoir shelf were donated — two of them by me. :-)
Jeni Morgan I'm about a quarter of the way through and there is a lot of profanity and some of the subject matter is blue. It depends on how progressive your church is and if people there have a good sense of humour. However the perspective of Noah's experience of apartheid is fascinating. Give it a read and make the decision you think is most appropriate for your church.
Mike I liked the book, but I'm surprised that no one else mentioned that a recurring theme is Noah questioning and sometimes gently criticizing his mother's faith. I think his end conclusion could be characterized as a doubtful respect, where he doesn't share his mother's faith but is beginning to appreciate it. For a well-formed adult Christian, I think that engaging with the religious aspects is worthwhile, and that while Noah and I have different conclusions on the issues, he treated them with sensitivity and at times some insight.

I enjoyed the book and have recommended it to some Christian friends. The "salty" language didn't really register on my radar (but, then, I'm of the school of thought that my own colorful language is a useful communication tool rather than a sin) and to the extent that it touched on unpleasant social issues (domestic violence, street crime, etc.) it was realistic and not glorified or overly sensationalized. In a church setting, though, I could see the book going either way. It would likely spur growth for someone secure in his faith... But I'd imagine that, were I a pastor, I would only recommend it to someone struggling with their faith after some careful discernment of their situation.
Gregory Absolutely nothing would limit this book from being a showpiece of any library, including those running by churches. Unless you are a racist.
Adrian It absolutely should not be included in your church library! The book has profanity and other obscene language throughout. There were even times he would curse and mention Jesus in the same sentence!

I normally can listen to my audiobooks when my kids are in the car...not this one. It's disappointing because the stories would have been just as compelling without it. Also, his story and insight into the life of South Africa in the '90s may not be shared to a wider audience because of this. For example: your church library and my kids.
Jasonwilkerson The story is definitely worth reading, but there is a LOT of profanity, and specifically the f- word. Additionally, the use of it gets steadily more prolific through the book. At times, the author expresses emotion simply by repetitive use of that word. While I can usually tolerate occasional profanity, especially if it fits the context, the (over)use of that word gets really, really old. Nothing of the story would be been lost if the profanity were reduced considerably. Great story, well told, made less enjoyable by overuse of profanity.
Sunaina Wow. I just finished this book and I am "shook". Honestly, I didn't really know who Trevor Noah was before reading this book. I don't watch the Daily Show. I had only seen him on some horribly biased "Occupy Democrat" memes so I thought this would be some political commentary book, but it has absolutely nothing to do with politics.

It is about Noah's life growing up in apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa, and how his mother raised him. I learned so much about South African apartheid reading this, and it was not in a reference-book, boring, formal way. This was an amazing story and in so many ways I can relate to it too since I was raised by parents who come from third-world countries.

What I loved most about this book is how Noah and his mother are not bitter for any of their tragic circumstances. An emotional story, but it is laced with humor and gratitude for life. It speaks about injustice in South Africa, but never with bitterness. It's real and brutal at points, but to me it is a story of the triumph of the human spirit.

I definitely, definitely recommend this book.
Julia I think this is one you will have to answer for your church and its library. If it sounds intriguing to you give it a listen. I read it, but after listening to him on "Fresh Air," you may want to see if there is an audio version to listen to.
Pam Plumridge This depends on your church, extreme conservatives would probably find the language distasteful. However, if your church does a lot of outreach and has people from different backgrounds that didn't grow up in the church, this would give them something to relate to. Personally I think it would be a good addition to a church library. Christianity teaches that we should love everyone and understanding people is an important part of that. This book gives a realistic view of a world that is likely different from the lives of many people who grew up in the church and we should always seek to expand our views.

You could always put a disclaimer on the book, saying something along the lines of "Although we do not condone profanity, here is why we chose this book and what we hope you will get out it..."
Amy Hamrick Lewis He does cuss a lot, so if your readers are sensitive to that, it might be inappropriate.
Barb Cherem I'm just starting but I think the description of the three Christian churches they'd go to every Sunday is so funny and worthwhile. Unlike most comics and satirists today, Trevor doesn't use foul language in his stand-up (netflix videos of shows) acts. I think he does the most respectful interviews of any late night host. So far, I've not run in to the salty language described above in others who finished the book, but I think he's a fascinating writer and the justice-seeking is fascinating stuff in and of itself.
Linda How much do your church members accept modern, secular popular entertainment? If they can find faith and goodness in people in spite of profanity, in spite of choices people make that are less than noble and church-approved, then this book is suitable. Trevor Noah himself may have doubts about organized religion, as many young people today have, but the rock-solid faith of his mother is never in doubt, and Noah pays tribute to that--sometimes with humor. But I think "awe" is his view of her faith at the end. I found it a book about faith with lessons about just reaching out to people, (such as Noah's discovery about his jail mate).
Mellisa Kubi Trevor has published a new version of the book specifically for younger readers. I assume this just means the swearing it taken out.

Slightly different title: It's Trevor Noah : Born a Crime; Stories from a South African Childhood; Adapted for Young Readers
Carolyn Shaw Lots of swear words. Too many. Content so worthwhile, but language sometimes gets in the way.
Kathy I think it's questionable depending on how liberal your church library is. There is some swearing (not a lot but enough to turn off some people) and Trevor is definitely not a true believer. However he has some interesting conversations about faith with his mother that are very genuine and thought provoking. It's also has a great experience of growing up in South Africa with religion being a huge bedrock of daily life.

I personally love this book. He raises some very interesting questions. I think it would be educational and insightful.
Ida Sansom I think you should go for it just be mindful that there is a whole chapter dedicated to a small boy pooping on a newspaper. Shitting is the word. And he says it maybe thirty times. There are other moments like when he describes downloading pornographic images but I think it would be worth it for the educational and humorous portrayal.
Mary Kyle While I wouldn't read it aloud to the preschoolers, this could be an interesting read for a high school youth group or adults. You might want to put it on a high shelf, but it definitely helps people think about the tougher parts of Christianity - how to keep faith when things don't go how you want - and really puts your own troubles in perspective.
Lyonardo Trevor Noah seems to use what we consider "bad words" in the same way that many non-native speakers do: as the normal words for whatever they're discussing. Even if their English is perfect, many immigrants or visitors will use four letter words un-selfconsciously.
If that's not a deal breaker, I think it's safe for your congregation to read.
Anno I just can't believe you are asking this question....shades of Dr. Malan.
Pam I am listening to the audio version of this book with my son.. he is 9 and a half.. there is some swearing involved, but his life lessons are very powerful. So we talk about it. His mother was very religious too. We've not finished it yet, but I would say it just depends on how open minded congregation is...
Judith Herman I don't think so. In fact, as others have said, his mother is devout. He even describes a miracle.
Justin This is probably not the best church library book. On one hand, religion and its role in South Africa as a very Christian country is interwoven in throughout the story, a lot of Trevor's life experiences revolve around going to church with his mother and her devotion to prayer and living a good life, but there is definitely more to this story. There's a lot of swearing, reflection spent on crime, prison, and poverty, an unflinching looks at social injustice and racism. It's funny but also heavy.
Catherine Evans I dont' remember any swearing in it. I suspect because Trevor's mum would not approve.
Carrie The book actually talks about Christianity quite a bit and ends on a note which is definitely very pro-Christian.
Nancy Mumpton There is also a young adult version of the book that is perfect for such audiences and church groups.
Sherry Definitely read this book. Jesus saves the day and I say this as a non-Christian.
Holly Merriman Also, there is a young readers version.
Millie if the profanity is unacceptable to your congregation then try to get your hands on the version that was written for children/YA.
J. Carter Merwin An amazingly detailed account of life for a young 'colored' boy and his Mom in Apartheid South Africa told with much wisdom and humor, I learned so much about the everyday of racism, how his Mom worked around it. No holds barred, (a little scatalogical in one chapter, some violence.) He was a good boy but a little terror. Worth reading for his insights into life and what his very Christian Mom taught him about how to handle a brutal world...
Annie Mac I think it would be an excellent choice for a church library. As others have said, Noah's mother's religious belief was a key part of his upbringing, and while he doesn't appear to share the depth of her religious beliefs, her unwavering belief that religion expressly upholds equality for all races informed his childhood.
Hakeema Would love to get my hands on this book. But apart from the obscene language, are there any inappropriate scenes mentioned in it? (for a teenager)
Hjwoodward I would definitely get it for your church because of the mother's upright and godly attitude!
Linda Klager I wouldn't include this book in a church library. I would not want to offend anyone because of the language and story line.
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