Born a Crime - Trevor Noah

Born a Crime

By Trevor Noah

  • Release Date: 2016-11-15
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 534 Ratings


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

Michiko Kakutani, New York TimesNewsdayEsquire • NPR • Booklist

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Praise for Born a Crime

 “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“[An] unforgettable memoir.”Parade

 “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today

“[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People

“[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”Booklist (starred review)

“A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”Kirkus Reviews


  • Fantastic read

    By Helex17
    Trevor Noah you are my role model. Thank you for being such an inspiration.
  • LOVED IT!!!

    By Lovely Bi
    I laughed, I cried, I learned...Noah's life is fascinating and I would love him as a dinner guest...hmm make it a weekend! His stories and comedy style are very entertaining. I hope he writes more.
  • 👎🏿

    By tnt1000
    👎🏿bad book
  • Trevor Noah Born a Crime

    By Susie two
    This was a wonderful book. It was a good read but more importantly it made me think about things, both personally and historically. Wishing success and personal happiness to Trevor.
  • Whoa!

    By EqualOpp
    Trevor, this book is an awesome look behind the veil of a life that many have no clue to its complexity because you have such a strong sense of self. THANK YOU...I related to a lot of this because I too was a kid that was different but just wanted to be around and accepted. The stories of your mother are inspiring, amazing, hilarious, and filled with love...she is truly a PHENOMENAL woman.
  • Born a Crime

    By Truffles 1
    As soon as I heard about this book, I had to buy it and was not disappointed. After being in South Africa, the places described, the people encountered, I was with Noah all the way. It was a charming and educational story. My only wish was that I could've read it before I went to those historic places. Good job Trevor and thank you for sharing with us.
  • best book i've ever read

    By Ja_elle3
    it has a lot of heartwarming stories
  • Great Read!!

    By MzzNette
    This book was by far one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's definitely a page turner. I enjoyed the laughs & the history lessons.
  • Fantastic Book

    By Big Fan STS
    I loved this book! It was smart, funny and heart-warming. I loved the way Trevor Noah wound the narrative of his life into the history of South Africa; conveying his experiences and truth with humor. The underlining theme of his close bond with his mother is the best!!! Great job.
  • Trevor Noah Trevenbend

    By Lack firing
    Excellent read! Paints a vivid picture of South Africa and apartheid era.