Born a Crime - Trevor Noah

Born a Crime

By Trevor Noah

  • Release Date: 2016-11-15
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 2,874 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

 “[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


  • Heartbreakingly funny

    By lcospito
    Seldom does a book keep me enraptured from page to page, but Trevor’s brilliant stories and endless capers were salve for the soul.
  • The world as we know it

    By marapequeque
    Knowing that this happened as I grew up left me speechless. I told my mom about the book, she remember how she used to cry over the news of the civil war in SA as we grew up. The way Noah, brought everything to life in a truthful yet light tone... It is a most read!
  • Well done

    By kbelton1961
    Well written and engaging. Trevor is a good man who has overcome incredible odds. A bit long at times but worth the read. Bravo.
  • A great read! Definitely recommend.

    By 🎁🎁😉
    A true and honest story about growing up and the relationship between a mother and Son .
  • Born a crime

    By Plez1986
  • Fantastic

    By Reticent
  • An amazing read from cover to cover.

    By its.ironmanda
    This book is fantastic. I didn’t think it was possible to love Trevor more, but I was mistaken. The perspective he has on life and family is a breath of fresh air.
  • Loved this! Constantly laughing out loud

    By NatGib
    I read this book while commuting to and from work, and I was constantly laughing out loud while on the subway. I was constantly wondering what the next part of the story would be about and loved everyone more than the last. It's heartfelt and hysterical and a great read.
  • Born a Crime

    By Y.K.G.Y.Y
    This book is hilarious, intesting and imposibble to set down. Trevor Noah’s overall unique point of veiw and technique of writing is admirable. So, if you are planning on buying this book, dont hesitate, get right to it!
  • Born a crime

    By tinguaro1221
    An amazing story. Very well written. Funny at times and very emotional at others.