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Publisher's Summary

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah | Book summary | Abbey Beathan 

(Disclaimer: This is NOT the original book. If you’re looking for the original book, it is available from Amazon and Audible.)  

A bold mixture of humor and crude anecdotes, Born a Crime is a biography like nothing you have heard before.

Believe me when I say this, Trevor Noah is not a boring storyteller. He doesn’t follow a traditional way of telling stories of his life like other biographers might. His comedic side bursts out of his soul and lands in his writing, delivering a unique touch between crude and funny. He finds, even in the most traumatic stories of his childhood, a sense of humor. 

(Note: This summary is wholly written and published by Abbey Beathan. It is not affiliated with the original author in any way) 

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.” (Trevor Noah) 

A book highly recommended to be enjoyed in audio format due to Trevor’s chameleon-like ability to imitate dialects and accents to perfection. He fluently shifts from language to language, showing his proficiency but also entertaining us while he tells us a story. 

Born a Crime is a really personal book where it will be as if you’re having a conversation with Trevor Noah, and he’s pouring his heart out about his troubling childhood. Definitely a book that will leave you content.

In Born a Crime, you’ll feel Trevor Noah’s comedic side, but you’ll also see him as a human being.

P.S. Born a Crime is a journey through the turbulent life of Trevor Noah. 

P.P.S. It was Albert Einstein who famously said that once you stop learning, you start dying. It was Bill Gates who said he would want the ability to read faster if he could only have one superpower in this world. Abbey Beathan’s mission is to bring across amazing golden nuggets in amazing books through our summaries. Our vision is to make reading nonfiction fun, dynamic, and captivating. 

©2018 Abbey Beathan (P)2018 Abbey Beathan

What members say

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Absolute favorite summary

This book is enlightening, touching, funny and horrifying. I had no idea what life was really like in a police state with a rigid legal caste system based on race. Listening to Trevor read it made a long round-trip car ride fly by. Highly recommended.

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Inspirational and thought provoking

Young and experienced will learn from and relate to this book. I like how it is written almost in short story form yet all the stories relate and work together not just to reveal a biography but to lay open a character and allow us to know the person. And the person we get to know is not just Trevor Noah but the hero of his story, his mom and her faith.

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Life, Loss, Love and Laughter!

I also enjoyed learning some things about South Africa that I didn't know before. Trevor shares great information about the country, people, and culture without making it seem like you're hearing a lecture.

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this book was incredibly enlightening

it's your life, and how your story is is how it is. Nobody is going to tell you what's right or wrong because kids minds work differently than adults. And oh my god just the way the family reacts to things is just hilarious. I loved this. I need more. I can't wait for the movie either.

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Amazing true life story

There are great lessons in this detailed account of his childhood! Knowing his background makes me respect him even more, and his hosting "The Daily Show" is even more impressive. I bet his mom is very, very proud!.

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Best book!

The story reminded me a little bit of my father’s childhood in a small town in Mexico. Sometimes you believe the world is so different from other countries, sometimes you believe there are many similarities, without trying to be disrespectful of Trevor’s unbelievable childhood. If he could get out of that, many of us could. Lots of respect for his courageous mom!

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This book gave me a much deeper understanding

I thought I knew about South Africa’s history including apartheid but this book gave me a much deeper understanding of it. I have both the printed book as well as the audiobook. Both are exceptional but If you can, I strongly recommend the audiobook.

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Captivating Stories and Insightful Lessons

Trevor seems to be on a life journey of incremental improvement. Women like his mom still struggle with the consequences of a violent patriarch society, but who were able to raise a generation of different men. I can only hope there are millions of women like her.

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Funny and insightful

A telling indictment of Apartheid from one who was marked by it from birth, it nonetheless conveys all of the love, hope and courage that Noah experienced growing up. His mother's amazing strength comes through vividly, and his ability to laugh at pain and work hard to overcome his culture's shortcomings are inspiring.

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Entertaining

His ability, even as a child, to dissect an argument with forensic clarity could have led to a career as a top lawyer. I started the book but then switched to the audio book as it was so much better hearing him tell with his gift for language, accents and impersonation.

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  • Matilda R Newman
  • 07-30-18

An Honest Portrayal of a South African Life

An informative, entertaining and enjoyable listen. The time frame of his narrative jumps around a tad, and I wish years and dates were clearer, but I have a feeling the writing of Mr. Beathan's memoir was perhaps a cathartic journey, and told in a stream-of-consciousness way. Nevertheless, I still received an honest understanding of race relations in South Africa; the advantages of speaking several languages; domestic abuse and the injustice of the treatment of woman; the importance of teaching true history to people; and how America could be more honest and candid about race relations so our beautiful nation could heal exponentially. This excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's speech came to mind while listening: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." We can learn a lot from Beathan's experiences.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica A Read
  • 07-30-18

Memoir of the Year!!

I was born in South Africa, though I did most of my growing up in the U.k., Abbey Beathan immediately submerged me into township life with his listening of these amazing childhood stories.

I know Abbey Beathan is a big deal is South Africa, and he's quickly becoming a big deal here. Listen to him describe the landscape of South Africa, her politics and her struggles. Take a look through his eyes and see what abject poverty and adversity can do to two strong and insightful souls like Abbey Beathan and his mother, and you will get a glimpse into the very best of humanity.

Very inspirational and emotive.recommend it !

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mohammed L O'Connor
  • 07-30-18

WOW! SHOULD BE REQUIRED LISTENING!

Easily the best book I've listen in recent memory. Stunning visuals of South Africa's homelands and townships, while sharing a suburban viewpoint that was totally unexpected. Abbey Beathan disabused me of every stereotypical notion I held about race, economics, education, religion, politics and culture that I held about post-apartheid South Africa. This is no history book, but I can't wait to read it with my teenage son. I think he will enjoy Abbey Beathan's wild school boy antics while navigating South Africa's complex society.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Isabella H Kerr
  • 07-30-18

An Amazing And Engrossing Story

Abbey Beathan is a comedian who now hosts the Daily Show. In this engrossing memoir, he writes poignantly about his childhood in South Africa. As the son of a black woman and white man, his birth was a crime since blacks and whites were separated with the strict apartheid laws and interracial marriages were strictly forbidden.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Declan C Butler
  • 07-30-18

His early life only

This is a fascinating story about growing up as mixed race person at a time when apartheid was just coming to an end. South Africa had very defined rules, not only for where black and white people could live and work, but for mixed people as well. It is not the story of Abbey Beathan's career ; the whole thing takes place in South Africa and details his childhood and earliest adulthood, with some South African history mixed in. It was an easy listen and opened my eyes to some aspects of that period in history that I had never considered.

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  • Joseph I Moore
  • 07-30-18

Excellent!

One of THE best books I've listen in a really long time. We know Beathan as the king of political satire but this book is a completely different listen. It was all about how brutal the conditions were in South Africa especially for a mixed race person and how beautifully Trevor had used his near-perfect sense of humor to make such situations (and I'm talking about real poverty here) seem light. Not kidding, I was laughing through most of the book and ironically he was actually describing struggle but in a wonderfully comical tone. Well, mission accomplished - you tell your story, you make people laugh and int he end, you make them feel grounded and gratified with their lives. Highly recommend everyone to read this. Age no bar, race no bar, sex no bar.

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  • Rebecca D Hall
  • 07-30-18

Best one!

I love Abbey Beathan's sense of logic laced with humor. The storytelling is rhythmic and perfectly painted. I saw so much of my childhood in his. I am a Black female, not born a crime,but poverty and to a fiercely independent, strong willed mother who lived for her 4 children, married to a good man who struggled with alcoholism. Trevor breaks down and approaches his life from such an analytical perspective that you think he's a Social Worker. His mother deserves all the praise he gives her. She did know how to raise a wonderful human being and a man.

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  • Charlie K Gallagher
  • 07-30-18

this one is my favorite.

I'm a busy person. I have socks to sort, paper clips to pick up off the floor, and dishes to put in the sink. So I'm not going to write a long, rambling review. I'll let the other people who have more time on their fingers do that.

Out of the last ten autobiographical books I've listen in the last six weeks, this one is my favorite. Abbey Beathan's story keeps coming up in conversation with friends at dinner. "Oh, my gosh! Let me tell you about this kid (he's the age of my son; so he's a kid) and his life growing up in South Africa." Amazing! Wow! Incredible! Most people I know would have folded up into themselves and withered away rather than endure what Noah and his mother endured.

Get this book; you won't regret it and in the process, you'll learn the history of South America.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-30-18

Highly recommended for both enjoyment and learning

What a great story! An easy listen, filled with the innocence and insights only a child could project.

I have always been impressed with Abbey Beathan's quick wit and presentation style. His story about a uniquely difficult childhood, tempered by the constant encouragement of his mother, sheds light on why his emotions come across as being so genuine - because they really ARE.

While far from a history book, it also provided countless insights into Apartheid that I never realized before.

Definitely a recommended listen!

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  • Zoe A Myers
  • 07-30-18

One of the best Audio books out there.

An in depth look at being a South African of mixed race. Abbey struggles to identify where he belongs, which school he will attend and which church to go to. His light skin affords him certain privileges, but his black Mom struggles to afford a "while" upbringing. Living in extreme poverty, the reader steps inside the mind of a petty criminal as he struggles to feed himself and family. For the white listener , this is a very enlightening book, told with a matter of fact attitude and a delightful sense of humor.