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Born a Crime

Stories from a South African Childhood
Narrated by: Trevor Noah
Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
5 out of 5 stars (144,787 ratings)

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

- The Washington Post
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Our favorite moments from Born a Crime

"No, Mom! This was not thanks to God!"
"Once Mandela was elected, we could finally live freely."
"If my mother had one goal, it was to free my mind."

  • Born a Crime
  • "No, Mom! This was not thanks to God!"
  • Born a Crime
  • "Once Mandela was elected, we could finally live freely."
  • Born a Crime
  • "If my mother had one goal, it was to free my mind."

About the Author and Performer

Trevor Noah found fame as a comedian and TV personality in his native South Africa before becoming a household name in America as the host of The Daily Show. But before he found his gift for satire, he came of age as a storyteller during the waning days of apartheid and the tumultuous freedom that followed. In writing and performing Born a Crime—his first book—Trevor Noah can add “best-selling memoirist” and “audiobook narrator” to his list of hilarious-yet-heartfelt triumphs.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

849 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An interesting take on life yet a bit disturbing

As someone who is blind, I love audible because the books are narrated to me. I made this selection because I enjoy listening to the rider on his comedy show. He is very entertaining and can tell a good story. For the most part, I find his commentary is generally on point. This book gives you a glimpse into his mind and gives you a little background about the life that he has had while growing up in South Africa. I found the issues regarding domestic violence and his family situation to be quite disturbing, but I understand where his viewpoint is coming from because it was a very terrible situation. There were many things in the book that were quite funny and I enjoyed much of his narrative. I had a little bit of a problem with the story regarding the time where he was a DJ and had a lead dancer Who was given the name of Hitler. His explanation of the situation and the reason why this person was named after one of the most notorious people in history is uncomfortable. Other than these two things, I would recommend this book to others with the caveat that it might be a little much for some.

74 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Reviews were a bit misleading

Based on the reviews I read, I expected more. It wasn't a tragic life story, or super funny story.
It's an ok story.
Guess the hype, from the reviews, led me to hope for something more.

103 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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the book is okay

it took me a while to go through this book. a lot of it is the early childhood of the author, around 6 to 8 years old stories, hanging out with his mother and talking about the dog.
the end is more interesting, it deals with his teenagerhood and how he was getting.

90 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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all about a naughty boy

I was interested in the cultural aspect of Noah's early life but when he went on and on about how naughty he was I lost interest. Naughty boys are naughty boys all over the world. I may go back and try to listen again as I would like to know how he became the person he is today.

98 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Started out very interesting, but declined quickly

Liked the first couple of chapters, but could not finish the book. Dragged on with childhood stories that weren't very captivating.

98 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Too much profanity

Too much profanity when it wasn't necessary for the story. Overall very interesting life story.

65 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Love Trevor Noah....story a bit redundant

TN is a good story teller, I learned much about SAfrica and the era of apartheid
It got a little redundant as the story went on

106 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

could easily have been so much better ..

although intensely anecdotal the story gave no vision of the getaway from crime and I was most curious about how he changed his life. in the end you were left with Petty crime oriented stories that leave you with an unsatisfying feeling..

36 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good but... watch out

This is an incredible story of growing up in apartheid and we can only imagine what people endured. Trevor's mother was a remarkable individual. My caveat is that this must have 100+ F bombs; 100+ S*** bombs; and I did NOT appreciate his endearing reference to pornography. In today's day and age of abuse, we should teach out children NOT to succumb to viewing women as a commodity. That totally ruined this otherwise remarkable tale.

36 people found this helpful

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  • KM
  • 10-16-17

EXCELLENT!!!!!!!

I'm so glad that Trevor Noah reads this book himself. He does voices for his family members and is SO funny!! A very entertaining look at what has been a pretty heavy and eventful life.