Born a Crime - Trevor Noah

Born a Crime

By Trevor Noah

  • Release Date: 2016-11-15
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 3,952 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

NAMED ONE OF PASTE’S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Michiko Kakutani, New York TimesUSA Today • San Francisco Chronicle • NPR • Esquire • Newsday • 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

“Compelling . . . 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


  • Wow

    By cam1854
    Words cannot express the depth and personality in this book. Trevor’s voice and writing style are so personal, he guides his readers to not just know his story, but to view it and feel it as he does.
  • I went to high school in South Africa

    By owakhela
    I went to high school in South africa and can tell you not many pieces of storytelling capture the ins and outs of South Africa quite like Trevor’s book. Its nothing short of a faithful love letter to his home, his family and his initial world. Absolutely incredible
  • Amazing Book!! Worth Reading

    By Excruzify
    It’s a really good book but can be very intense at some points
  • Oh Mighty Patricia

    By Ro_V79
    I laughed, I cried and even found myself becoming angry. The education I received from reading this book is absolutely unmatched. You hear about racism and segregation but you never read or learn of what is was like being on the inside. The mind is a powerful tool and for humans to abuse the sensitivity of thought for’s so shameful. Thank you for sharing this with the world and thank you for sharing your incredible Mother with us all. She is the assurance I needed to stand proud of my independence
  • Just read it

    By Tessymo
    Starts off witty, moves to thoughtful and ends significantly.
  • Great storytelling

    By hansarjoh
    “Learn from your past and be better because of your past,” she would say, “but don’t cry about your past. Life is full of pain. Let the pain sharpen you, but don’t hold on to it. Don’t be bitter.” Born a Crime is about Trevor’s life growing up in South Africa, up to his adult years. He focuses on his mother, his friends, and some intriguing youthful experiences. I had been meaning to read this book since I heard Trevor speaking about it in 2016 and have recently been pestered by my mom to read it. For good reason as it turns out, as the writing of this book is amazing. I am not normally a fan of nonfiction, but Trevor is engaging and tells his past through stories so that I was never bored. I loved learning about parts of his life that I’d never known before and felt I developed more of an understanding of how he came to be the person he is. I only wish that he’d talked about how he came to the US and his life here. I would recommend this book for any fan of Trevor Noah
  • Unbelievable!!

    By SFO2020
    Highly recommend!! Such an incredibly life journey.
  • Engrossing & honest

    By smayflower
    Just read it!
  • It’s one of those books..

    By Ms_TeePea
    ...I picked up and couldn’t put down until I finished. Engaging from the start to end!
  • Amazing!

    By Chex$
    This is one book that I had to savor. I loved every minute of it.