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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 (126,184 ratings)

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Go Behind the Scenes of Born a Crime

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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.

Dying to hear more about Born a Crime?
For an episode of our Audicted podcast, a few editors sat down to talk about their favorite Audible Essentials—our list of 100 must-listen audiobooks. Check out the episode to hear Abby explain why Trevor Noah's Born a Crime simply can't be missed, and explore some other picks below.

Editorial Review

This book has been on the best seller list since it released, and it deserves to be on the best seller list FOREVER. At this rate, it will be. Everything about this is perfect. Trevor's story is incredible, and his delivery is just as remarkable. Lucky for us, he has another memoir releasing this fall.Laura M., Audible Editor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I didn’t hate it

In fact, I didn’t feel passionately about it at all. Some of the stories were repetitive and it was difficult to discern what period of his life he was talking about at any particular moment because he jumps back and forth quite a lot. I also expected it to be a funnier. The only bit that I really found funny was the story about him doing number two in the kitchen.

Overall this book doesn’t live up to the hype. I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone unless they were a fan of Trevor’s to begin with. I did enjoy hearing about his individual experience growing up in South Africa during apartheid, but the disjointedness kept this from being a really good listen for me.

53 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Doesnt live up to the hype

Streched out and Disorganized
The plot was all over the place. As the title suggests, the book is a series of stories that's somehow related and at the same time doesnt. One minute he's a child, then adult, then teen, then back to being a child. He'd spend several chapters talking about his stepdad, then suddenly somewhere at the near end starts introducing him again(back to being a child and 1st time seeing him). There's no organization whatsoever, thus that made it a little hard to follow because he's abruptly skipping timelines left and right then going back and forth. Some parts of the story was so redundant he can talk about the same thing in over 5 minutes when you can actually summarize it in just 2 to 3 sentences.

Inconsistent and Exaggerated
I cant remember which chapter I didn't want to relisten the book just so I can get which chapter it happened, but at the first part of the book he said he called his dad daddy in a public place, his dad would then run away from him because his father is white and he's black and its illegal to have a mixed kid. He'd chase his dad thinking it's a game while calling him "daddy" out loud. And then at the second half of the story at exactly Part 1, #8 “Robert”. That's exactly at 03:03:35 in the book. He said he call his dad by his name ONLY. Not dad, daddy or father. Just his name because someone might call the police on them. Then there's also this town full of walled up houses which he described as like being in a town of maximum security prisons where everyone stays behind 6ft tall walls with electric fences on top. He on the other hand -being a curious kid as he is heard children lauging behind them- he “climbed up to peek” inside and he'd see kids splashing in the pool. These are just SOME of the inconsistencies I found. Some parts of his childhood were so questionably exaggerated to the point that its ridiculous and you'd think it's absurd that it even happened. These points made me wonder whether or not these things actually happened or he fabricated it just to make himself look good. (It didn't. For me atleast.)

This book could've been so much better with more proper editing and proofreading. With him being a comedian, I can't help but compare this book to Kevin Hart's I Can't Make This Up. The difference is night and day. I learned not just about his life CHRONOLOGICALLY, but I've also picked up several real life lessons, something I didn't expect from a comedian's book. I did laugh a lot though, that's something I expected. But this book is none of that. Its just a series of random stories put together. I expected a lot since I finished Kevin Hart's book I thought this book would be alot better due to the ratings. I was just utterly disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Trevor's standup stages very much. But this book is just a letdown. He's a good comedian, but as an author? Well....listen to the book and you be the judge.

45 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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..

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Sheff
  • Inkster, Michigan United States
  • 04-28-19

A mishmash of stories that go on and on

I had high hopes for this book but alas it fell short in all ways. There is some humor but the flat monotone delivery blunts it's effect. In later chapters Noah comes across as a total jerk and some of the images he conjures up turned my stomach. The insight into Apartheid kept me engaged for awhile but by mid book the narrative breaks down and it's just a mishmash of stories about a hell raising kid who wrecks havoc and has no problem with it nor does his mother who has high standards for her son's actions except when they effect white peoples property or animals

47 of 53 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Struggled to finish

The author read this audiobook himself, and he did a fantastic job. The story was interesting, but a bit disjointed. The overuse of swear words as adjectives took away from the flow of the story.
He did however do a great job of making his mom the hero of the story, and in doing so he brought her honor. I listen to most audiobooks at least two if not three times, but once was enough for me with this one.

47 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

boring

I could not seem to follow it. Kept falling asleep.
Seemed like one bad thing after another.

46 of 52 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disjointed stories without an overall narrative

Although is really enjoyed some of the individual stories, they were more stories that would be told to friends while drinking or sitting around the campfire. There was little coherence between the stories and the overall theme of the book was lost. there is a book here -- probably more than one, but the editor did not do a great job of teasing it out of Trevor Noah. I thought I was going to be reading about how Apartheid effects individuals, but that completely went away after part one.

45 of 51 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Just another celebrity boasting about being poor

It's not completely boring and you will learn a bit about South Africa. I expected something more, not instant wisdoms and stories about idiots.

This guy has a Swiss father and can afford fireworks, but has nothing to eat. He goes to school by car but has no money for gas. Whaaat? Why don't you bike like everyone else?

51 of 58 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profanity Too Big of Hurdle

Interesting story but I couldn’t get passed the offensive language. Finally had to turn it off.

50 of 57 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Krykie
  • Miami, NM, United States
  • 05-06-19

boring as hell

If the author weren't already famous, this would be a very dull and zzzz book. There is no self reflection, no moment of discovery, no journey. It's Trevor talking about his life growing up in a dysfunctional family. He complains about unfairness, but he exploits and steals from others without regret. Not at the time, not in writing the book. Again, if it weren't Trevor Noah, I doubt the story would have been published.

50 of 57 people found this review 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.