Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood” as Want to Read:
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  127,380 Ratings  ·  14,609 Reviews
The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

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 m
...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by Doubleday Canada
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Born a Crime, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Emily May
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was fantastic.

Born a Crime, at over six months, is the longest library hold I've ever waited for. Normally, if I hadn't already lost interest by that point, I'd just break down and buy it, but I'm generally not a big memoir reader, so I was reluctant to spend money on a book I wasn't sure would be my thing. Well, I've ended up buying it anyway. And my husband and I are currently laughing our way through the audio version, too.

I just couldn't put this book down. There are many moments of com
...more
Larry H
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

I was really surprised when Trevor Noah was named Jon Stewart's successor on The Daily Show . I inherently knew that they wouldn't pick someone with a sense of humor and style identical to Stewart's, but I felt that Noah was so different that his selection meant the show would have a really different feel, which might not appeal to long-time fans of the show. But I always root for the underdog, so as he was getting savaged by critics and fans in his first few days on the
...more
Petra X
These stories, beautifully written, are set in a world quite like our own but at the same time utterly different. Maybe "through a glass darkly". Who goes to church three times on Sunday to Black, White and Coloured ones? Who goes to jail for (not) stealing a car rather than face the wrath of his mother? Who gets a prom date with the most beautiful girl around, but one who doesn't speak the language and is extremely unsociable to boot? None of these things are extraordinary in this world,

Who cou
...more
Maxwell
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're going to read this book, definitely listen to the audio version. Trevor Noah is one of the most effortless narrators I've ever listened to. It genuinely feels like he is sitting down with you and telling you his life story. Not only that, but you get to learn quite a bit about pre- and post-Apartheid South Africa from the perspective of someone who hypothetically shouldn't exist. Noah's mother is black and his father is white, and when he was born any mixed-race relationships were ille ...more
Nat
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Before I start my review, I want to take a minute to praise Trevor Noah's stand up shows because they're one of the few that don't rely on being ignorant. His shows are one of the enlighten ones focusing on race, white-privilege, police brutality, hate speech, prejudice, and so much more.
I’d highly recommend watching a few before reading this riveting memoir.

description
In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah takes us on a journey from his childhood being born a crime in apartheid South Africa. Trevor was born to a w
...more
Elyse
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An audiobook *treasure*!

Trevor is a likable! A charming- guy!!! Listening to him speak is almost magnetic.
Being thrown out of a car? By his own mother? OUCH! Trevor had my attention in the palm of his hands.

The ongoing - ongoing - and ONGOING ....dramatic stories Trevor shares about his childhood --were life lesson building blocks. Trevor did the building!! He used every life experience to his advantage-- and that's extraordinary!
Poverty, abuse, Religious upbringing, crazy chaotic living con
...more
Jennifer Masterson
Five HUGE Stars for Trevor Noah's book! Believe the hype! I absolutely loved it. I listened to the audio. Trevor narrates his stories of growing up in South Africa. I highly recommend the audio version. He made this book come to life with his narration. This would actually make a good first listen.

I just became a fan recently of his and thought I'd give the book a shot. I'm so happy I did! I learned a lot about apartheid and I learned a lot about South Africa. I also learned some gross facts lik
...more
Margitte
An amazing story of a young man and his mother who went around the block a few times and beat the odds.

Despite a few inaccuracies in his tale, it remains a well-told story that kept me reading and reading until the very end. Trevor Noah has that intelligent kindness like an astral light around him. He has that look of wisdom and experience in his eyes which allow people to like and want to listen to him. He is a gentle soul. I guess he can thank his mom for that. She was on his case, saving his
...more
.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.477 stars

for a book that has so much humour in it, humour in times where things were anything but funny, the last twelve pages broke me - i'm still broken as i'm writing this. i will put it in a spoiler so as to not ruin the experience if you choose. (view spoiler). it's a sad story/situation in general, but this ish hit me hard and i was unsure just why exactly. then it hit me - in some ways he is one of the most
...more
Book Riot Community
I’m joining the club of other Rioters who have read and loved this one. Something you should know about me: memoirs are NOT my jam. I can count on one hand the memoirs I’ve read and enjoyed, so I was honestly shocked by how much I loved reading Born a Crime. Noah can tell a story like nobody’s business, and very often his tales weave tragedy and comedy together in the best way imaginable. I also have to admire Noah’s bare-bones honesty; he really doesn’t front at all. If you’re the type of perso ...more
Montzalee Wittmann
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Born a Crime Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah is such an interesting look into the life of a talented young man. I am a big fan of Trevor and watched his special on Netflix where he speaks of his life growing up but this goes into so much detail, it is stunning all that this guy goes through and is not a bitter man. He describes the horrible laws and society he is born into and the way he is looked at in his society. How he tries to see himself. His life in poverty, with a v ...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Once again, I decided to read something from the non-fiction/biography genres. Partly because I adore Trevor Noah as a person. Partly because I love Trevor Noah's voice & appreciate when authors tell their own stories, both fictional and non-fictional. & Partly because I want to try and get more comfortable with reads like this that are outside of my normal realm.

In this Trevor tells many stories from his childhood in South Africa. He is funny, well-spoken, and insightful as he discusse
...more
Iris P
Born a Crime


 photo trevor-noah-daily-show_zpswoii1b4c.jpg
Funny guy- The very charming Trevor Noah
*********************************************
"People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing."
Trevor Noah
*********************************************

By the time Trevor Noah was born in 1984, Apartheid, the system that institutionalized segregation an
...more
Lori
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
description

This is great! I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read it. A celebrity memoir by a mixed-race guy who was born in South Africa under apartheid didn’t sound like it would be a smart, funny, and charming pleasure to read, but it is. Not that he minimizes the circumstances, but there more fact than lamentation. It’s a shame about those people who don’t enjoy audiobooks. His performance adds to fantastic storytelling.

description

The stories from his childhood reminded me of something Art Linkletter said about the c
...more
Malia
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky to see Trevor Noah speak about this book recently, and the way he talked about his story, and his life growing up in South Africa made me all the more eager to read it! The book is a cohesive collection of stories from his childhood and early adulthood, and though I am not typically a reader of much non-fiction, I found this book truly compelling and hard to put down!
Noah has a way of really drawing you in, and making you feel as though you are there with him, experiencing his memori
...more
Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest


I consider myself an unofficial expert on celebrity memoirs. I haven't read all of them (although I would like to - even the stupid ones, because I am incredibly nosy and devour celebrity gossip the way other people devour Dorritos or fake news), but I've read a fair amount, and they usually follow a typical narrative arc. In BORN A CRIME, Trevor Noah takes that arc, flattens it out, and beats you over the head with it.



I love Trevor Noah. I
...more
Diane
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book about Trevor Noah's childhood in South Africa. I listened to this on audio, narrated by the comedian himself, and I appreciated his frank storytelling. I enjoyed his memories of his mother and grandmother, and the details of the various scrapes he got into as a kid. It was especially enlightening hearing what his mother went through just to be able to see his father, who was Swiss. Because interracial relationships were forbidden under apartheid, they had to be clever to ...more
Julie
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah is a 2016 Spiegel & Grau publication.


I’ve been a fan of Trevor Noah since he started hosting ‘The Daily Show’, but after reading this book, I’m an even bigger fan.

I admit I know virtually nothing about South Africa other than the absolute obvious, like what is reported in the news. So, Trevor gives readers like myself a bit of a history and a maybe a civics lesson too, in how people are divided by class and race and the th
...more
Taryn
Trevor Noah is a South African comedian who currently hosts The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Born a Crime is about growing up in South Africa: living under apartheid when his existence was evidence of a crime, life after apartheid, the deep bond between a mother and son, the unique challenges of growing up mixed race, and living with an abusive stepfather. It's filled with humor and biting social commentary, but the main words that describe this book are insightful and heartfelt. I was already ...more
Sam
Nov 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
Overall, Born a Crime is a fascinating story, but the loose editing and too casual a writing style meant it lacked narrative cohesion for me, so it's a solid 3 star review.

Trevor Noah's childhood memoir definitely showcases his fresh, witty perspective and provide a lot of history and context of life under apartheid and life just after the end of apartheid, from a macro level of the forces and powers at work and warring against each other, to the micro level of Trevor and his family's experienc
...more
Matthew Quann
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: audiobook fans,
The only thing I knew about Trevor Noah prior to this audiobook was his status as host of The Daily Show, a show that I don't watch.

Also, celebrity autobiographies: not really my thing (barring the odd exception).

But that title demands curiosity: how can someone be born a crime? So, I picked up the book in a bookstore, read the dust jacket, and thought Hey, this seems like it might be good. I then put the book down and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

Of course, then I began to see it p
...more
Jessica
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Within the first twenty pages of this book, I regretted just two days earlier writing the sentence “Trevor Noah, while smart and funny, doesn't feel like a must-watch” while lamenting how much I miss Jon Stewart.

This is perhaps the most remarkable celebrity memoir I’ve ever read. I am a hyperbolic person by nature, but I’m really hard pressed to remember one that’s made this big an impression on me. Not just because of the content--which is at times heartbreaking and mindblowing--but also becaus
...more
Chrissie
ETA: The more I think about this book after having finished it, the more annoyed I become. I have changed my rating to one star. I did not like this book. What tipped the balance for me is the "Go Hitler" chant. The author's explanation was not adequate and I found the whole episode inappropriately drawn.

******************

I was perpetually annoyed while reading this book. Perhaps this is my own fault. I misunderstood what its central focus was to be. It is less a book about growing up in South
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This was very enjoyable in audio, and I'm not sure what my experience would have been in print. Trevor Noah writes about his childhood growing up "colored" in South Africa, which you will learn, as a reader to this book, how that is different from white or black or Indian. Despite studying apartheid in school (or so I thought) I had no clear concept of the complexity of the system, intentionally designed to put people at odds with one another.

Trevor Noah was quite a character, running from his
...more
Esil
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
4 high stars. I had no idea who comedian Trevor Noah was, but there were enough rave reviews about his book Born a Crime to make me curious. I'm so glad I read it. Noah was born in South Africa just before the end of Apartheid. His mother is black and his father was white, and given the times in which he was born, he was literally "born a crime" as a mixed race kid. His book focuses on his early years growing up in South Africa. I'm not sure I can do justice to what makes this book so excellent. ...more
Barbara
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it

4.5 stars

Trevor Noah, a comedian and the current host of 'The Daily Show' is a very funny guy.....and I expected this memoir to be full of witty jokes. It's not. The book is about Trevor growing up in South Africa when apartheid was coming to an end. Apartheid and it's aftermath left the impoverished black population of South Africa with hard lives and few opportunities. Nevertheless, Trevor infuses his story with hope and humor.

Trevor was born in 1984, to a white Swiss father and a black mothe
...more
Riley
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was so fascinating! I loved learning about what it was like to grow up in South Africa.
Trevor is such a good storyteller. I was so captivated by everything he said. And he was able to turn very tough experiences into funny stories. I highly recommend listening to this on audio as Trevor narrates it himself and does a fantastic job!
LaDonna
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to LaDonna by: JN
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 (for the audiobook)

First, I must shout out my "Fairy" Godmother. Because of her, I lost my audiobook virginity to Trevor Noah. (That's a lot to admit to). She sent me a copy of the book promising that I would fall in love with it. 💘 She was soooo right. Second, my loving husband took the kids for an outing and gave me most of the afternoon and evening to enjoy this audio experience undisturbed. 🤗Third, my oldest helped with getting the book downloaded and set. She even let me use her
...more
Emma
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
Intensely personal, moving, and funny, Trevor Noah has offered us a taste of what it was like to live under apartheid. More than that, he has opened his family and himself to our gaze. While he does talk about racism and politics, this book is about his family, him and his mother especially. I listened to this as an Audible production, read by Trevor, and it made the whole experience that much more real to me. He makes it feel like he's talking to you personally, telling his tale over a cup of c ...more
Tania
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I became a chameleon. My color didn't change, but I could change your perception of my color.

I really wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Imagine being born from a black mother and a white father in a country where interracial relationships were against the law. This would mean that because you are colored you could not be seen with both of your parents (or they with each other) or stay in the same area as them. I think I learned more about apartheid, as well
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Wanderlust: A Beloved Son 1 1 Jun 20, 2018 07:10AM  
audiobook 2 8 May 22, 2018 02:11AM  
Born a Crime - Trevor Noah 4 53 May 16, 2018 03:32AM  
2,131 followers
Trevor Noah is a South African comedian, television and radio host and actor. He currently hosts The Daily Show, a late-night television talk show on Comedy Central.
More about Trevor Noah

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
    $12.74 $2.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival
    $8.49 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God
    $11.49 $2.99
  • Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Johnny Cash: The Life
    $12.99 $3.99
  • No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Can't Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business
    $12.99 $2.99
“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.” 421 likes
“People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.” 374 likes
More quotes…