Born a Crime - Trevor Noah

Born a Crime

By Trevor Noah

  • Release Date: 2016-11-15
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 5
From 1,790 Ratings


#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 TimesUSA Today • San Francisco Chronicle • NPR • Esquire • Newsday • 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


  • Hahaha

    By Mutzica
    Trevor … Tsung-hele!! (I don’t know if I spelled that correctly.) What a great way to write your memoir. I listened to this and not only did I laugh a lot, but I learned a lot as well.
  • Amazing Story, left with new perspective

    By AboveLoveee3
    Being an American, I’ve heard about the apartheid and thought i had a general understanding but reading Trevor Noah’s experience growing up in South Africa gave me so much more insight. I see how the similarities that we experience here in America. It’s also very interesting to read about his upbringing and his childhood. Very unique and inspiring story with many lessons to learn from. Would definitely recommend and would read again!
  • Fantastic Story!

    By JQ1206
    This book was amazing. I have never felt so connected to someone’s past. All the way from Trevor as a little boy to Trevor as a growing adult; I was inspired. Definitely a book worth sharing and reading again! After this. I hope to meet Trevor one day!
  • Great read

    By Marcici1983
    Witty... Reminds me too much of my eleven year old and myself.
  • Thankyou

    By Ft1528
    I really admire you for putting this story down into a book,by sharing Your story , You helped me a lot,thank You .I hope one day I will be also able to share my story so I can move on ,memories and feelings are heavy burdens to bear . your Mom raised you really well, And you are great human being haha
  • Fun read and entertainkng

    By cyril serafin
    Trevor Noah is an excellent story teller, who gives us plenty of anecdotes about how his childhood shaped him. He allows readers to reflect on the intersections of the human experience as it pertains to marginalized groups. Through his narrative, Noah implicates the struggle of identity to our everyday lives, by looking at his life as a boy having survived apartheid. I love this book because it feels like even though Noah has lived in vastly different worlds, his experience is still like mine. He touches on feelings of love, hate, shame, passion, misunderstandings, class, race, and best of all, humor.
  • Wow... Wow... Wow...

    By J Craig Lynch
    An epic life of struggle and fortitude! A painful, but magnificent reminder of the all too often relationship between a mother, a son, and the strivings against poverty and the machine. Hats off for sharing your world Trevor... Much respect!
  • Trevor Noah : Born A Crime

    The world would be a better place if everyone read this book.
  • Eye opening. This book changed me.

    By FinsNPearls
    Thank you, Mr. Noah, for telling your story. This book gripped me from page one. As an avid fan of The Daily Show, I have ended any night that aired a new episode listening to the smooth cadences of Trevor Noah’s voice. Having such vivid and animated memories allowed the authors “Voice” in my head to resound with such clarity, it was simply like listening to an audio book in my head. The world truly is changing, it is growing better, it is becoming closer, and we need, now more than ever, the inspiring voices of all cultures to stand up and tell the stories that need to be told. The understand the world, we need to read the stories.
  • Born a Crime

    By Lynlouise
    This story has made me cry, for love and appreciation of family and taught me some about the life of a colored man in our time! I’m white and privileged and I need others to give me honest clear stories to help me hear, see and feel the lives others experience. I’m grateful to Trevor Noah for sharing these stories in the historic setting of South Africa!