Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime

By Trevor Noah

  • Release Date: 2016-11-15
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 5
From 1,013 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


  • Thank you.

    By erims
    For writing a book for all of us mixed kids who never knew where to fit in until essentially now. Thank you for res presenting us on television and being a person who can be admired. I cried and I laughed throughout this book. I could not put it down. Seriously seriously kudos.
  • Amazing!

    By JLS172
    The lessons, funny moments, and life threatening events kept my eyes glued to the book!
  • Born a crime

    By N E E L
    Dude this book is amazing for real read this it will change your life. I've never cared so much about the story of some African kid it's a good book. Read it. Do it and you get a free Pokémon. Actually read it. Ok? Ok. See ya
  • Worth the read

    By gyrl7
    I normally don’t read memoirs, biographies, etc, but I love Trevor Noah and I love they way he sees the world and how he in turns expresses his perspective to the masses so I had to see if his book was just as good. And it was. It’s an easy read and very entertaining. I highly recommend this read for young men as well. I have two growing boys who mixed race and I want to read this.
  • Fast read

    By fgianakos
    Book was at times riveting, I simply was not able to put it down.
  • Eye-opening and inspirational

    By Katia Oh
    I really enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down! Before this, I thought Trevor came from a well-off family and led a privileged life! What a story! My favorite part was the dance performance in the Jewish school - it really shows how wrong we are to assume what "common knowledge" is. This is a well-written book that provides a glimpse into someone's life, a glimpse that is both relatable and yet hard to imagine at times. Much love to Trevor's mom - she is the best!
  • thanks for g

    By u uz
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  • Funny and sad all at the same time

    By FaithFilled&Thankful75!
    Thank you Trevor for sharing your truth.
  • Trevor Noah: Miracle Man

    By Bob Shearer
    A stunning work by a man whose mother generated miracles, not the least of whom is Trevor Noah. Now it is clear how he can critique shameful politicians with such grace and cheer. Thank you!
  • BoOg's Review

    By Dhjdjddj
    It was tastier than FiSh!