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Born a Crime

Stories from a South African Childhood
Narrated by: Trevor Noah
Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
5 out of 5 stars (6,263 ratings)

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Summary

Born a Crime is the deeply personal story of what has shaped Trevor Noah, South African comedian and host of the Daily Show. An astonishing memoir that details growing up in the midst of a crumbling apartheid, it illuminates his unique vantage point and how it prepared him for a life in the public eye. This is a sharply humorous, engaging and unforgettable record of Noah's life and at its heart, a love letter to his remarkable mother.

The compelling, inspiring (often comic) coming-of-age story of Trevor Noah, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

One of the comedy world's brightest new voices, Trevor Noah is a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life. As host of the US hit show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he provides viewers around the globe with their nightly dose of biting satire, but here Noah turns his focus inward, giving listeners a deeply personal, heartfelt and humorous look at the world that shaped him.

Noah was born a crime, son of 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 first 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, take him away.

A collection of 18 personal stories, Born a Crime tells the story of a mischievous young boy growing into a restless young man as he struggles to find his place in a world where he was never supposed to exist. Born a Crime is equally the story of that young man's fearless, rebellious and fervently religious mother - a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse that ultimately threatens her own life.

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, Noah illuminates his curious world with incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a personal portrait of an unlikely childhood in a dangerous time, as moving and unforgettable as the very best memoirs and as funny as Noah's own hilarious stand-up.

Born a Crime is a must-listen.

©2016 Trevor Noah (P)2016 Audible Ltd.

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Excellently read

Having listened to 30 or so autobiographys on audible I've found only a few truly captivating, often with other titles I've found myself zoning out as the story is just pretty mundane, BUT listening to Trevor was a joy, his accents are excellent and you really feel like he takes you on the journey and the voices he does make it feel like you're in the room as it happens. Along with excellent narration is the story itself, which was fascinating, being a white westerner it really opened my eyes to some concepts of racism I hadn't pondered before and I feel less ignorant having listened...

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Definitely the best audiobook in my collection!!!

This book was quite interesting, engaging and informative. I reckon it is better to listen to it rather than reading it, as Trevor's voice takes you through the range of human emotions, I teared up at times, laughed out loud, got angry, despaired and was hopeful again... it was definitely worth the amount paid.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Amazing life story

I rarely go for autobiographies as the tedium of 'me, me, me' irritates me. However, this was an amazing story, I felt it was mainly a tribute to Trevor Noah's mother who was such a brilliant woman fighting against adversity and making her son into a loving and very worthy man. I feel tearful after reading this and I am very impressed by the character of this man - and even more by the character of his fiery mother.

I hesitated before buying, as I say I don't usually go for auto biographies - but this was different - I keep using 'amazing' in this review - but it really IS amazing! A real delight to understand a little about the South Africa of past times, and the troubled transition into the SA of today. (Though I fear it is still troubled).

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant, unique and full of memories.

This book brings back a lot of memories for me growing up in South Africa. I was one of Trevor's friends in high school, in fact I'm the person who he mentions helped start his pirated cd business but to hear about his life from the "other side", growing up as a poor black South African under such trying conditions really brings your own life in to perspective. The Trevor I knew and the front he put on was miles away from how his life really was. Although parts of it do seem to have a slight bit of creative license - at least the bits I am aware of - it is a still fantastic story about a incredibly talented and determined individual who has risen to where he is today because of his mother and her determination to make him a man. Just listen to it, you will not be disappointed.

37 of 43 people found this review helpful

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Masterpiece

The best thing, hands down, is Trevor Noah speaking in different languages and doing imitations!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Amazing

I finished it within 2 days, I really recommend the book, its funny and sad same time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • 07-01-17

Incredible story of this man's life

I always love to hear stories read by the author. This is no exception. I've always loved Trevor's comedy and I had no idea of the life he has lived. I particularly love the stories about his mother, she sounds like a wonderful, funny and strong woman, the kind of mother to aspire to be like. It was very interesting to also learn more about South Africa and apartheid, something I feel I have greater understanding of now and how it has affected families and it's lasting effects.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Powerful biography

This is not really what I expected from the Comedian Trever Noah. It's a sobering tale of being born and raised a mixed race boy in Apartheid, and newly post Apartheid, South Africa. It's very well written and he narrates it himself perfectly. The only thing I disliked, but not enough to diminish the 5* review score, is his references to "all Americans will understand this (and) although South African culture is very different, Americans will get this". This jarred for me. Did he write it with just Americans in mind? Does he think only Americans will read it? Hmm!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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As funny as it is informative

If you're a fan of Trevor Noah then you'll really enjoy this. Has some serious accounts that are hard hitting as equally as it is funny. Well worth the listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Funny, informative and REAL

Captured the stories many SA childhoods very well. When I started I couldn't stop listening.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan Stringer
  • 14-08-19

Possibly the best Audiobook I’ve listened to

Trevor another is an enigma. Listening to this book as a white South African raised during apartheid and who witnessed its collapse, this book has had a profound effect in me. Trevor’s description and explanation of the realities of the 80s and 90s in SA are astonishing. The perspective he provides is unique.
And hearing him actually reading it - wow! That’s why made it so deeply moving I think.

A book every South African should read! If they are brave enough!
Thank you Trevor!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Crystal
  • 11-04-17

Moving, hilarious, surprisingly informative

Would you consider the audio edition of Born a Crime to be better than the print version?

Definitely. This is a book that really makes sense as an audiobook because it's narrated by the author who does a brilliant job, but particularly because of the languages and accents. Having Trevor imitate the different languages as he gave history and explanations of South African culture and Apartheid added a new dimension and an immediate understanding of the "character' as soon as you heard the voice/accent he used. He also speaks the non-English languages, saving the reader from attempting to read them themselves. He's also hilarious.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Born a Crime?

One of the first scenes that Trevor describes is the one that still stays with me the clearest and the one I found most impactful. He, his mother, and baby Andrew jumping out of the van (technically, Trevor was thrown from the van), and running away from the threatening driver. The young Trevor's take on the incident is incredibly sweet and naive, yet really quite dark and upsetting. The whole thing is moving, shocking, and still funny in the way Trevor tells it.

What does Trevor Noah bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

As above - it's the accents and languages. Also, Trevor's impersonation of his younger self is very endearing.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Just because hate is taught, it doesn't have to be learned.

Any additional comments?

I have been a fan of Trevor's comedy so when he released this book I knew I wanted to read it. It was intelligently but humorously written, but what surprised me was how much I learned about South African culture during/after Apartheid. The book showed me the gaping holes in my knowledge of what I thought was simply another case of white racism to blacks. Apartheid went so much deeper than that. It was designed to create hate and fear and disunity, not only between whites and blacks but between coloureds and other races. It was incredible to read about what life was like, and how the colour of your skin or the language you spoke really did affect every part of life there.

Trevor's own personal story itself was fascinating and often tragic, but on the whole the reader isn't left pitying him. He speaks matter-of-factly and honestly about the tragedies, but the core of his story is set in a firm foundation of love from his mother. You admire Trevor and his mother, you don't pity them.

20 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Aisha
  • 15-09-17

Mind-blowing

I absolutely loved it! I love the honesty and realness of it. I will be listening again and buying the book (God Willing). It inspired me. I love his mum and the relationship they have! Very very nice.

8 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-09-19

Best book ever!

Having studied Apartheid in history class, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the construct; however, this book brought my understanding to a new level!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-09-19

Just Brilliant!

This was honestly one of the best "reads" I've had in a long, long time - Trevor Noah is just brilliant. Sad and funny, fantastically relatable.

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  • Lakshmi Vyasarajan
  • 15-09-19

Most chilling memoir I've read in a long time!

Narrator was wonderful. Why wouldn't he be, it's his story. Exemplary writing and inspiring story of a South African boy who is the symbol of staying positive and building yourself up from circumstances of adversities and misfortunes.

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  • caori
  • 12-09-19

Loved it!

This book is worth any second you spend listening to it. I absolutely loved it!

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  • Nurhamizah
  • 12-09-19

one word : amazing

narrator is amazing. author is amazing. the story telling is amazing. big fan throughout the book

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  • Arnold
  • 03-09-19

Black lives matter

Just loved every chapter !!So funny yet so moving .What a strong loving mother !

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-08-19

Do not deny yourself this book!

What an amazing book! Was concerned about going for the audiobook version. But Trevor narrates his own book so well. One of the best biographies for me