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Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  256,763 ratings  ·  26,682 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by Spiegel & Grau
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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.…moreDon'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. (less)

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Average rating 4.46  · 
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 ·  256,763 ratings  ·  26,682 reviews


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Larry H
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Emily May
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
...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
...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 ...more
Nat
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
...more
Zoë
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5
Trevor Noah was a great narrator and had the ability to turn the grimmest of experiences into smart, exciting stories. If this book interests you, I urge you to listen to the audiobook!
It was fascinating learning about his life growing up as a mixed race child in pre- and post-Apartheid South Africa. Though I learned vague facts about Apartheid in high school history classes, this was the best lesson I've had on the subject.
The book skips around non-chronologically, which confused me at
...more
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
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
...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
The author is very charismatic and if you're going to read this book, I would recommend the audiobook since he narrates it!
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
...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
...more
Warda
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I soon learned that the quickest way to bridge the race gap was through language.”

Where do I even begin to explain how incredible this autobiography was?!
Trevor Noah brought this story to life, but ultimately, it was his mother that was the main character, the MVP, of this book.

You all know what this book is about: Trevor Noah is narrating his account on being raised in Apartheid South Africa. The issues growing up as a mixed-race child and a mother who defied all societal standard and called
...more
Bibi
When he took over from John Stewart I'll admit I stopped watching TDS; however, intermittently, I would come across Trevor's comedy shows online which would have me doubling over fighting for air (watch the "Australian apple" and "Escalator" skits), and within a short period, I became an even more ardent fan of TDS.

In my opinion, Trevor is one of the most intelligent people on TV (or elsewhere) and this book shows us how he became the astute, authentic, resilient, and insightful person that he
...more
jessica
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘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.’

this is one of the most touching love letters to a mother i have ever read. although this is presented as a collection of coming-of-age stories in a time where his existence was literally a crime, trevors words radiate pure and unconditional love for his mom. i am beyond humbled by the lessons trevors childhood taught him, his
...more
Kenny
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, favorites, people
“Language, even more than color, defines who you are to people.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood


1

Trevor Noah's BORN A CRIME is hilarious, heartbreaking and always told through a sympathetic lense. Noah moves from comedy to tragedy seamlessly. He understands the human condition better than most writers, no, most people. BORN A CRIME is one one of the best books I've read this year & maybe the best memoir I've ever read.

BORN A CRIME is a book of fascinating
...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 ...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
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
...more
Montzalee Wittmann
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 ...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
...more
Sam
Nov 01, 2016 rated it liked it
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
...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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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.
...more
Malia
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Barbara
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


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.


Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah (Trevor's mother)


Adult Trevor Noah with
...more
Diane
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Matthew Quann
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...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
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
Jessica Jeffers
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
...more
Brown Girl Reading
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: memoir lovers
OMG! This has got to be the BEST audiobook I've listened to all year. Trevor Noah reads his life story with passion, gusto, and unflinching accuracy. As a listener the best thing is to hear all the names and languages pronounced correctly, as well as hearing the way he imitates his family members. Touching, humorous, and sad, Trevor Noah finds exactly the right words to talk about poverty, the hatred of apartheid, but most of all the love he has for his mother and the love she has for him. His ...more
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6,997 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.
“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.” 729 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.” 649 likes
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