• Born a Crime

  • Stories from a South African Childhood
  • By: Trevor Noah
  • Narrated by: Trevor Noah
  • Length: 8 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 17-11-16
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: John Murray
  • 5 out of 5 stars 4.9 (2,648 ratings)


Born a Crime is the deeply personal story of what has shaped Trevor Noah, South African comedian and host of the Daily Show. An astonishing memoir that details growing up in the midst of a crumbling apartheid, it illuminates his unique vantage point and how it prepared him for a life in the public eye. This is a sharply humorous, engaging and unforgettable record of Noah's life and at its heart, a love letter to his remarkable mother.
The compelling, inspiring (often comic) coming-of-age story of Trevor Noah, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.
One of the comedy world's brightest new voices, Trevor Noah is a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life. As host of the US hit show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he provides viewers around the globe with their nightly dose of biting satire, but here Noah turns his focus inward, giving listeners a deeply personal, heartfelt and humorous look at the world that shaped him.
Noah was born a crime, son of a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents' indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the first years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, take him away.
A collection of 18 personal stories, Born a Crime tells the story of a mischievous young boy growing into a restless young man as he struggles to find his place in a world where he was never supposed to exist. Born a Crime is equally the story of that young man's fearless, rebellious and fervently religious mother - a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse that ultimately threatens her own life.
Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Noah illuminates his curious world with incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a personal portrait of an unlikely childhood in a dangerous time, as moving and unforgettable as the very best memoirs and as funny as Noah's own hilarious stand-up.
Born a Crime is a must-listen.
©2016 Trevor Noah (P)2016 Audible Ltd.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Andy on 04-12-16

Brilliant, unique and full of memories.

This book brings back a lot of memories for me growing up in South Africa. I was one of Trevor's friends in high school, in fact I'm the person who he mentions helped start his pirated cd business but to hear about his life from the "other side", growing up as a poor black South African under such trying conditions really brings your own life in to perspective. The Trevor I knew and the front he put on was miles away from how his life really was. Although parts of it do seem to have a slight bit of creative license - at least the bits I am aware of - it is a still fantastic story about a incredibly talented and determined individual who has risen to where he is today because of his mother and her determination to make him a man. Just listen to it, you will not be disappointed.

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20 of 22 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Rohma on 27-02-17


The best thing, hands down, is Trevor Noah speaking in different languages and doing imitations!

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Crystal on 11-04-17

Moving, hilarious, surprisingly informative

Would you consider the audio edition of Born a Crime to be better than the print version?

Definitely. This is a book that really makes sense as an audiobook because it's narrated by the author who does a brilliant job, but particularly because of the languages and accents. Having Trevor imitate the different languages as he gave history and explanations of South African culture and Apartheid added a new dimension and an immediate understanding of the "character' as soon as you heard the voice/accent he used. He also speaks the non-English languages, saving the reader from attempting to read them themselves. He's also hilarious.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Born a Crime?

One of the first scenes that Trevor describes is the one that still stays with me the clearest and the one I found most impactful. He, his mother, and baby Andrew jumping out of the van (technically, Trevor was thrown from the van), and running away from the threatening driver. The young Trevor's take on the incident is incredibly sweet and naive, yet really quite dark and upsetting. The whole thing is moving, shocking, and still funny in the way Trevor tells it.

What does Trevor Noah bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

As above - it's the accents and languages. Also, Trevor's impersonation of his younger self is very endearing.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Just because hate is taught, it doesn't have to be learned.

Any additional comments?

I have been a fan of Trevor's comedy so when he released this book I knew I wanted to read it. It was intelligently but humorously written, but what surprised me was how much I learned about South African culture during/after Apartheid. The book showed me the gaping holes in my knowledge of what I thought was simply another case of white racism to blacks. Apartheid went so much deeper than that. It was designed to create hate and fear and disunity, not only between whites and blacks but between coloureds and other races. It was incredible to read about what life was like, and how the colour of your skin or the language you spoke really did affect every part of life there.

Trevor's own personal story itself was fascinating and often tragic, but on the whole the reader isn't left pitying him. He speaks matter-of-factly and honestly about the tragedies, but the core of his story is set in a firm foundation of love from his mother. You admire Trevor and his mother, you don't pity them.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 15-09-17


I absolutely loved it! I love the honesty and realness of it. I will be listening again and buying the book (God Willing). It inspired me. I love his mum and the relationship they have! Very very nice.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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