Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime

By Trevor Noah

  • Release Date: 2016-11-15
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 5
From 1,212 Ratings
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

Michiko Kakutani, New York TimesNewsdayEsquire • NPR • Booklist

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to 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 earliest 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, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. 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, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Praise for Born a Crime

 “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“[An] unforgettable memoir.”Parade

 “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today

“[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People

“[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”Booklist (starred review)

“A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”Kirkus Reviews


  • Trevor Noah Is a Blessing!

    By Ghostwriter63
    I cannot believe how good this book was it’s a page turner and I don’t even like autobiographies and this is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
  • A definite must read!

    By Nique896
    This book is amazing! I didn't know what I was expecting when I started the book but, I can't remember the last time I laughed and cried so hard. Some parts were heartbreaking but also relatable. I couldn't put it down.
  • Amazing!!

    By $weet P
    This book will put you through many emotions. You’ll laugh out loud, you’ll be mad, you’ll even be sad and you might even shed a tear. It’s like an autobiography with a history lesson all intertwined.
  • He's supposed to be a comedian?

    By Jon21144
    They should've just cancelled the daily show instead of giving it to this guy. He's simply not funny.
  • Inspiring story of hope and perseverance

    By janrph
    I have even more respect for Trevor after reading his story. It was hard to put down from the first chapter. He survived a rough childhood and maintains a wonderful sense of humor.
  • Amazing

    By thisnomadlife
    This is the kind of book that makes you laugh and cry at the same time....and not in an “I’m insane” sort of way. It’s just a heart-felt story that makes you appreciate all that you have.
  • An Excellent Read

    By MsJaeBaby
    All I can say is you never know what a person has gone through until they let you see. My heart broke the minute his Mom was shot. While I don’t advocate violence I would have had someone kill Abel the first time he hit my Mother. I personally left mine and life has been so much better without him.
  • Very interesting

    By juliusasmar
    Normally I don’t like reading but this book was extremely interesting and insightful. I really enjoyed the book and the storyline.
  • Great Read!

    By 333333k
    Great Story! Great Read! Great Book!
  • ❤️

    By NigelKurtz
    Having grown up in South Africa, this book explained so many feeling and emotions I have for the longest time suppressed and ignored. I related to a lot of small things in the book and the way he told it was gripping, I could not stop listening. Thank you so much for sharing your life story.