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Born a Crime Audiobook

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, November 2016 - Just as fans of The Daily Show weren't quite sure what to expect when he was announced as the show's new host, I started Born a Crime not really knowing what I'd find in Noah's book. Comedy? Political and social commentary? Sure, but not in the way I expected. Instead, I was given so much more. Noah's story is intertwined with the final years and aftermath of apartheid-era South Africa. It's a story that begins with Noah's mother throwing him from a moving car to avoid a potentially fatal dispute with gangsters and follows the comedian's path to self-discovery amid episodes both bittersweet and comical. It's eloquent and touching and funny and made all the better with his reading, especially as he recounts anecdotes involving his mother - the true show stealer - and delivers clever turns of phrase as only a top-notch comic and storyteller can. —Doug, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

Highest-rated new book of 2016 by Audible customers

Winner: Audible's Best of 2016 - Celebrity Memoirs

Trevor Noah, one of the comedy world's fastest-rising stars and host of The Daily Show, tells his wild coming-of-age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. In this Audible Studios production, Noah provides something deeper than traditional memoirists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives.

"Nelson Mandela once said, 'If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.' He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else's language, even if it's just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, 'I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.'" (Trevor Noah)

Attuned to the power of language at a young age - as a means of acceptance and influence in a country divided, then subdivided, into groups at odds with one another - Noah's raw, personal journey becomes something extraordinary in audio: a true testament to the power of storytelling. With brutal honesty and piercing wit, he forgoes an ordinary reading and, instead, delivers something more intimate, sharing his story with the openness and candor of a close friend. His chameleon-like ability to mimic accents and dialects, to shift effortlessly between languages including English, Xhosa, and Zulu, and to embody characters throughout his childhood - his mother, his gran, his schoolmates, first crushes and infatuations - brings each memory to life in vivid detail. Hearing him directly, you're reminded of the gift inherent in telling one's story and having it heard; of connecting with another, and seeing them as a human being.

The stories Noah tells are by turns hilarious, bizarre, tender, dark, and poignant - subsisting on caterpillars during months of extreme poverty, making comically pitiful attempts at teenage romance in a color-obsessed world, thrown into jail as the hapless fall guy for a crime he didn't commit, thrown by his mother from a speeding car driven by murderous gangsters, and more.

An Audible for Dogs Pick: Make your dog's day. Cesar Millan shares how audiobooks can make dogs happier and calmer. Learn more.

©2016 Spiegel & Grau (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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What the Critics Say

"Comedian Trevor Noah's stories of growing up in South Africa are vivid, sometimes harrowing, and often laugh-out-loud funny. The bonus of audio is that listeners get to HEAR Noah tell these stories in his South African-accented English, as well as hear him speak snippets of various other South African languages. Noah (who succeeded Jon Stewart as the host of 'The Daily Show') is a natural storyteller - skilled, engaging, and relatable.... Noah's narration offers insights and intimacy." (AudioFile)

"The author’s gift for vocal impersonation elevates the audio version into something even more splendid than an already terrific memoir.” - The Washington Post

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Marilyn Armstrong Massachusetts 12-15-16
    Marilyn Armstrong Massachusetts 12-15-16 Member Since 2002
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    "Great book and perfect narration"

    I don't review a lot of books anymore, but this one got to me. There are lots of books written by people -- including me -- who had a hard time growing up. Abusive parents, poverty, oppression. War. There is a lot of awful stuff children endure.

    Trevor Noah endured all of it. Name something bad that a kid can experience and it probably happened to him. Born under apartheid, his existence was illegal. His birth was, as the title of his book suggests, a crime.

    As the child of a white father and a black mother under South Africa during apartheid, if he had been noticed by the authorities, they would have taken him from his family and put him ... somewhere. So merely surviving until the end of apartheid was no mean feat. Add to that extreme poverty, violence and life under the most oppressive, racist regime you can imagine. Actually, you may not be able to imagine it. I knew it was bad, but South Africa refined oppression into an art form.

    One of the other noteworthy things about this book was that I learned great deal about things I thought I already knew. I don't know if Noah intended it as a cautionary tale, but it is. Chilling.

    I didn't read the book. I listened to the audiobook because Noah reads it himself. He has a beautiful, melodic voice and a lovely cadence. It was a treat for my ears and my brain.

    You might think with all of this terrible stuff -- and some of it is really horrific -- that this would be an angry, possibly embittered man. But he isn't.

    He's funny when humor is possible. Even when he's serious, there is grace and wit -- plus a sweetness and generosity of spirit that's rather uplifting. I don't think I've ever said that about a book. It's not a word I use lightly. Trevor Noah is a rare person, able to appreciate the good stuff in his life and not obsess over the considerable amount of injustice he has experienced.

    I'm not usually a big fan of celebrity memoirs or autobiographies, but this is exceptional. If you have the patience, listen to it as an audiobook. Otherwise, consider reading it. He's a smart guy, a good writer, and an astute observer of humanity, government, politics, and relationships. Insightful, witty, and entertaining, I highly recommend it.

    392 of 435 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Soul Fjord Atlanta 11-19-16
    Soul Fjord Atlanta 11-19-16 Member Since 2016

    destin_ford

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    "Wow"

    The narration is exemplary. He is a chameleon and his command of language gives the narrative so much texture.

    The breadth and variety of sound is staggering. The are so many characters each with there own voice and language. It is a tour de force of story telling.

    The story, in and of itself, is history, humor, and horror and at the end you will be uplifted.

    Wow. Just Wow.

    180 of 219 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaas 11-19-16
    Kaas 11-19-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "And now I wait..."

    Wonderful and engaging story, an eloquent and fluent reading by the author (I've loved hearing Trevor Noah speak since the first time I saw him on television), and very educational at the same time. However, I really want to know the story of how he ended up in America as the host of The Daily Show. He touches on the beginnings of his entertainment career in this book, but the main story is, as the title suggests, focused in his early life - from birth until early adulthood.... so I'm waiting Mr. Noah!!! I'm waiting for more of your seamlessly enchanting story telling!!! 😬

    136 of 168 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela J United States 11-17-16
    Pamela J United States 11-17-16 Member Since 2016

    Sure, I'd love to hear your story....

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best book this's year"

    Yes, I said it. The best book this year. Funny, poignant, historical, happy, and perfect. Yes, it is the story of Trevor, but it is so much more. It is the story of a place and a time that while I thought I understood, I didn't. It's just amazing that this is the story of a YOUNG man. How can this all have happened such a short time ago? Told with such wit and interest this is really the story of a woman who made her own way and taught her child to do the same. So enjoyable. The perfect book.

    111 of 141 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele 07-06-17
    Michele 07-06-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Laugh Out Loud"
    Would you listen to Born a Crime again? Why?

    So just imagine, you are sitting in Starbucks and you hear someone laughing out loud. Not loudly as to disturb anyone but visibly laughing where you can tell that whatever they are listening to they are really enjoying to the point where you almost want to join in with them. That was me... I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. The storytelling is impeccable. Trevor Noah's narration of the book was necessary. I can't imagine anyone else doing it. If I could have given the story a higher rating than 5, I would have. This is one of my favorites. I am not one to re-read a book but this one might possibly make me break my own rule.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    YES!!!


    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanna Conroy Belmont, MA USA 11-19-16
    Joanna Conroy Belmont, MA USA 11-19-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Fascinating, tragic, and charming"

    As a Trevor Noah fan I had high expectations of this book. I expected it to be intelligently funny and charming. I didn't expect it to captivate me in the way it did. His true understanding of human nature shines through as he tells his tragic story.

    85 of 111 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa WF 11-19-16
    Lisa WF 11-19-16

    Lisa

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    "So much more than an autobiography!"

    I've been listening to this every minute I could since it came out. This is an incredible autobiography, and you will get your Trevor Noah laughs. But moreover, it's a brilliant lesson on the realities of apartheid, poverty, misogyny, domestic abuse, and more. I guarantee you will have numerous moments of pausing to digest some truly incredible insights, especially if you're privileged in your culture (::ahem:: if you're white). Apartheid, especially, I didn't know nearly enough about. I truly appreciate the stories told even just for that.

    The author manages to take into account that much of his audience will not understand the cultures he grew up around, and it feels now that I not only know the author's roots, but that I have a mental landscape of South Africa that never existed for me before.

    If you know Trevor Noah's work from The Daily Show, you'll know he doesn't miss a moment to reflect on the nuances, the ironies, and himself.

    Very well done!!

    114 of 160 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michalis Petrou 11-15-16 Member Since 2015

    Educated in New York, living in Cyprus, father of one...

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    "Trevor Noah's life in the Apartheid"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would highly recommend this book. Touching, funny, educative. I could not stop listening...


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Born a Crime?

    The moment where the family had to expel the bad demon from the house because of little Trevor's "misbehavior"! (I do not want to spoil anything but I was cracking up!)
    Also, the part where he rolled off the bus was very memorable for me as well!


    Have you listened to any of Trevor Noah’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I do not think this book would have the impact it did if Trevor Noah did not narrate it. I have watched him on the Daily Show and this is a remarkable performance. No doubt in my mind that nobody could have done a better job than him


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, absolutely and I did!


    Any additional comments?

    This biography has been educative, touching, extremely funny. I always liked Trevor Noah because of the Daily Show but I would not consider myself to be too much of a fan. Well, after this book, I think I know about his life enough to respect him as a person for what he went through and as a performer of how he delivered this book. Long story short, Trevor Noah just gained a faithful fan!

    65 of 91 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Seattle reader 02-03-17
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    "Absolutely great"

    My kids (12 and 15), my husband and I listened on both legs of a 6 hour round trip and there was not a single request to turn it off or switch to pop music or hard rock! That's pretty extraordinary for my family of diverse tastes. We were entertained and given an amazing glimpse into a world we know nothing about. Lots to think about. Highly recommended.

    24 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Didi Sofia, Bulgaria 12-28-16
    Didi Sofia, Bulgaria 12-28-16 Member Since 2016
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    "This book was life changing"

    I was expecting a light and breezy content but it was emotional, wise and fulfilling. I couldn't leave it until I finished it.

    34 of 49 people found this review helpful

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