Born a Crime - Trevor Noah

Born a Crime

By Trevor Noah

  • Release Date: 2016-11-15
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 707 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


  • Trevor Noah!

    By mbailley
    Trevor gives insight about growing up under apartheid in South Africa. Tells funny, heartwarming anecdotes about being raised by his grandmother and mom.
  • Great

    By Nickycapricorn12
    Loved it
  • Good Book!

    By TRao10
    Insightful and interesting. Trevor takes you through a life of happiness, tragic moments, the triumph following tragedy.
  • Superhero Mothers

    By Hadassa Perez
    Started this at the beginning of the semester and of course got distracted with school work. Ironically finished the Mother's Day weekend and I'm once again convinced that mothers are superheroes. Great book. Trevor Noah is hilarious and has a distinct voice.
  • Comedy and Faith

    By jmsvst
    A universal tale of family, poverty, and injustice, held together by comedy and faith.
  • W

    By Lil mini j
    I at least sa w way
  • Born A Crime

    By Pammie two
    Trevor Noah captures every emotion you have to offer. Intriguely written.
  • Amazing story teller!

    By Ladyohlala
    To be completely honest I didn't expect this book to be as good as it was. I mean cmon he is a comedian but Trevor Noah truly nailed it! I learned a lot about South Africa as well, I really hope he keeps the books coming!
  • Born A Crime

    By Pinkbooks
    A very moving and honest portrayal of life in South Africa after apartheid. It seems it could have been in any poor district in the world. His statements at times riveting. It is a must read. Noah's life is a triumph.
  • Fantastic read

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