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Editorial 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.

Critic Reviews

"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

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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    88,623
  • 4 Stars
    8,844
  • 3 Stars
    1,190
  • 2 Stars
    183
  • 1 Stars
    149

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    86,854
  • 4 Stars
    4,141
  • 3 Stars
    506
  • 2 Stars
    93
  • 1 Stars
    86

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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    80,721
  • 4 Stars
    8,885
  • 3 Stars
    1,340
  • 2 Stars
    181
  • 1 Stars
    126
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but repetitive

I liked this book, but found myself wishing it would move along, and stop repetitive dialog.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

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

just ok

I felt he got off track on his story at times. It seemed rushed at the end and left me wondering.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Didn't finish

I was expecting more storytelling and laughs. I also thought it would be interesting to learn more about South Africa. I did learn more, and appreciated that part. I got bored because the story themes were repetitive, and gave up.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Karlee H.
  • Lexington, Ky United States
  • 08-02-18

Hard to Finish

It started out good, but lost my interest pretty fast. I ended up never finishing it.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Repetitive

Repetitive and not really iinteresting. A series of stories, barely held together . His stand up is deeper than this.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

skip it

I love Trevor Noah, but this book is boring uneventful and too simple . I tried and tried but I couldn't even finish it

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disjointed

I enjoyed Trevor’s performance but the story jumped around too much and was hard to follow. With random antidotes at the end of various chapters. Would have been more enjoyable if the story was chronological.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

790 of 900 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but not very funny

Trevor definitely lived an interesting life, typical of non white people in South Africa at the time. I expected when I read this book, that it would reflect Trevor's comedy genius, but it falls short. I would guess that it would very difficult to turn some of his life events into humour -to do so would negate the pain and suffering that living in South Africa at the time caused.

I can understand why Trevor wrote this book, it would have been wonderfully cathartic in order to deal with his abusive childhood.

Technically the book does not flow well, there are unexplained gaps in the story and unfinished tales. The book has also been poorly edited, with poor grammar and incorrect use of of words. Trevor's narration of the audio book is not great, he comes across stilted and his mistakes when reading should, have been edited more carefully. I love the fact accents though!

I nonetheless applaud Trevor for the attempt though, he has come a long way. I recommend that anyone who wants some close insight into the lives of South Africans read the book.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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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
  • 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.