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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, November 2016 - Just as fans of The Daily Show weren't quite sure what to expect when he was announced as the show's new host, I started Born a Crime not really knowing what I'd find in Noah's book. Comedy? Political and social commentary? Sure, but not in the way I expected. Instead, I was given so much more. Noah's story is intertwined with the final years and aftermath of apartheid-era South Africa. It's a story that begins with Noah's mother throwing him from a moving car to avoid a potentially fatal dispute with gangsters and follows the comedian's path to self-discovery amid episodes both bittersweet and comical. It's eloquent and touching and funny and made all the better with his reading, especially as he recounts anecdotes involving his mother - the true show stealer - and delivers clever turns of phrase as only a top-notch comic and storyteller can.

Publisher's Summary

Highest-rated new book of 2016 by Audible customers

Winner: Audible's Best of 2016 - Celebrity Memoirs

Trevor Noah, one of the comedy world's fastest-rising stars and host of The Daily Show, tells his wild coming-of-age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. In this Audible Studios production, Noah provides something deeper than traditional memoirists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives.

"Nelson Mandela once said, 'If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.' He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else's language, even if it's just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, 'I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.'" (Trevor Noah)

Attuned to the power of language at a young age - as a means of acceptance and influence in a country divided, then subdivided, into groups at odds with one another - Noah's raw, personal journey becomes something extraordinary in audio: a true testament to the power of storytelling. With brutal honesty and piercing wit, he forgoes an ordinary reading and, instead, delivers something more intimate, sharing his story with the openness and candor of a close friend. His chameleon-like ability to mimic accents and dialects, to shift effortlessly between languages including English, Xhosa, and Zulu, and to embody characters throughout his childhood - his mother, his gran, his schoolmates, first crushes and infatuations - brings each memory to life in vivid detail. Hearing him directly, you're reminded of the gift inherent in telling one's story and having it heard; of connecting with another, and seeing them as a human being.

The stories Noah tells are by turns hilarious, bizarre, tender, dark, and poignant - subsisting on caterpillars during months of extreme poverty, making comically pitiful attempts at teenage romance in a color-obsessed world, thrown into jail as the hapless fall guy for a crime he didn't commit, thrown by his mother from a speeding car driven by murderous gangsters, and more.

©2016 Spiegel & Grau (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

"Comedian Trevor Noah's stories of growing up in South Africa are vivid, sometimes harrowing, and often laugh-out-loud funny. The bonus of audio is that listeners get to HEAR Noah tell these stories in his South African-accented English, as well as hear him speak snippets of various other South African languages. Noah (who succeeded Jon Stewart as the host of 'The Daily Show') is a natural storyteller - skilled, engaging, and relatable.... Noah's narration offers insights and intimacy." ( AudioFile)
"The author’s gift for vocal impersonation elevates the audio version into something even more splendid than an already terrific memoir.” - The Washington Post

What members say

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-03-05

Extremely beautiful!

This is an incredible read. It is so vivid and tells lots of funny and heartbreaking experiences of Trevor Noah’s life. I absolutely loved it! There are many profound philosophical ideas in the book and I love his mother to bits after reading this. She is a true hero! Also, it’s performed by him so it makes it even better.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-11-10

Superb

I listened to it twice; back to back. That's a testament. I laughed (aloud, in public), was shocked, saddened at times, and I feel I learned not only about another person, but their culture too. I loved it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ana Rad
  • 2018-03-25

Best book I have listened to so far on audible.

Hilarious, heartfelt and raw stories brought to life with wit and accents. It was really a pleasure to listen to. His story is very dynamic and unique yet often very relatable. I would recommend listening to it rather than reading print because of the ways he recreates the dialogues in different accents and languages, this adds so much to the action! A must read (audio) book!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Arash Maghsoudloo
  • 2018-04-17

New found respect for Trevor Noah

do not write this book off for being a simple book by a comedian. Trevor Noah's autobiography paints a first person view of life in poverty within an oppressive system. he gives just enough description to allow the reader to compare their life and it's parallels to his. whether to invoke one's reflection on their fortune or to incite vigilance in troubling times is up to the reader. highly recommended!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-04-16

Best Book I Read in 2017

Thanks audible for this hilarious and entertaining, but also serious and thought evoking book from Trevor Noah. In my mind, Noah perfectly blended the challenges of living in, and the difficult history of South Africa with his childhood experiences to make an irresistible story. Truly a one of a kind story too!

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  • Marc Gennaoui
  • 2018-04-15

Profound, touching and funny

This book tells the tale of Trevor Noah's childhood and life as a young boy living in South Africa. His relationship with his mother takes a predominant role as well as his situation of being a person of mixed origins in a world before and after Apartheid. It is at times hilarious, at times touching, at times insightful. Trevor Noah's performance comes from the heart as it is his story. He is charming and honest in his narration. This is definitely a must hear. I fully recommend it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-04-13

Wow

I didn’t know what to expect from this one but I was so pleasantly surprised!

I love this book!

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  • Esi Agbenyiga
  • 2018-04-12

Fucking incredible

Trevor Noah's story will grab you by the face, kick you spit on you and abandon you while simultaneously kissing you 1000 times. This story was deliciously heartbreaking all while being incredibly funny. What are you waiting for - read it!

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  • Darren
  • 2018-04-09

Most entertaining audiobook I've listened to.

Most entertaining audiobook I've listened to. word word word word word word word word word

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-04-08

Great story

I loved the story. I cannot believe the life tremor Noah lived! his mom is so strong!

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  • Marilyn Armstrong
  • 2016-12-15

Great book and perfect narration

I don't review a lot of books anymore, but this one got to me. There are lots of books written by people -- including me -- who had a hard time growing up. Abusive parents, poverty, oppression. War. There is a lot of awful stuff children endure.

Trevor Noah endured all of it. Name something bad that a kid can experience and it probably happened to him. Born under apartheid, his existence was illegal. His birth was, as the title of his book suggests, a crime.

As the child of a white father and a black mother under South Africa during apartheid, if he had been noticed by the authorities, they would have taken him from his family and put him ... somewhere. So merely surviving until the end of apartheid was no mean feat. Add to that extreme poverty, violence and life under the most oppressive, racist regime you can imagine. Actually, you may not be able to imagine it. I knew it was bad, but South Africa refined oppression into an art form.

One of the other noteworthy things about this book was that I learned great deal about things I thought I already knew. I don't know if Noah intended it as a cautionary tale, but it is. Chilling.

I didn't read the book. I listened to the audiobook because Noah reads it himself. He has a beautiful, melodic voice and a lovely cadence. It was a treat for my ears and my brain.

You might think with all of this terrible stuff -- and some of it is really horrific -- that this would be an angry, possibly embittered man. But he isn't.

He's funny when humor is possible. Even when he's serious, there is grace and wit -- plus a sweetness and generosity of spirit that's rather uplifting. I don't think I've ever said that about a book. It's not a word I use lightly. Trevor Noah is a rare person, able to appreciate the good stuff in his life and not obsess over the considerable amount of injustice he has experienced.

I'm not usually a big fan of celebrity memoirs or autobiographies, but this is exceptional. If you have the patience, listen to it as an audiobook. Otherwise, consider reading it. He's a smart guy, a good writer, and an astute observer of humanity, government, politics, and relationships. Insightful, witty, and entertaining, I highly recommend it.

544 of 602 people found this review helpful

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  • Soul Fjord
  • 2016-11-19

Wow

The narration is exemplary. He is a chameleon and his command of language gives the narrative so much texture.

The breadth and variety of sound is staggering. The are so many characters each with there own voice and language. It is a tour de force of story telling.

The story, in and of itself, is history, humor, and horror and at the end you will be uplifted.

Wow. Just Wow.

238 of 286 people found this review helpful

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  • ckaase
  • 2016-11-19

And now I wait...

Wonderful and engaging story, an eloquent and fluent reading by the author (I've loved hearing Trevor Noah speak since the first time I saw him on television), and very educational at the same time. However, I really want to know the story of how he ended up in America as the host of The Daily Show. He touches on the beginnings of his entertainment career in this book, but the main story is, as the title suggests, focused in his early life - from birth until early adulthood.... so I'm waiting Mr. Noah!!! I'm waiting for more of your seamlessly enchanting story telling!!! 😬

155 of 190 people found this review helpful

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  • qpj100
  • 2017-09-25

Great! Great! Great Book!

At first I was weary because I don't favor books where the author narrates their own work (autobiographies included), but I shouldn't of hesitated. This book is not only engaging, hilarious and relatable but it also has an introspective quality to it. You get a deeper look into apartheid where you see the cause and effect of such a system and the parallels within America.

I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Trevor does an excellent job narrating and he really captures your attention. There are gaps in this book, so I am looking forward to another one in the future. Thanks for sharing your story.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • CHET YARBROUGH
  • 2017-09-24

NO JOKE

Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” is no joke.

Remembering when Trevor Noah took over the “Daily Show”, thoughts of a South African replacing an American, places one in two minds. One mind thinks how could a person not born in America understand the politics and culture of a country satirized by a TV show? Another mind thinks the “Daily Show” will become more culturally relevant with a commentator that satirizes more than just American culture.

The answer to the first mind’s question is the second mind’s conclusion. Personally, it is sad to have witnessed the loss of John Stewart’s insightful American commentary. However, Noah offers a perspective that is equally insightful; admittedly cringe worthy at times, but more universal. “Born a Crime” is testament to Noah’s cultural diversity and universal insight.

Noah is a challenging son. He shows himself to be a hyperactive, non-violent, trouble-maker in his youth. He is born into poverty but raised by a mother who believes in a moral code of unshakable faith. In his youth, Noah defies most of his mother’s inner direction and strict, sometimes physically punishing, discipline. Retrospectively, Noah acknowledges how much his mother loved him, and how her fortitude presumably made him mentally tough, independent, and irreverently objective.

Noah knows what it is to be poor. Undoubtedly, Noah now knows what is like to be rich. More importantly, it seems Noah has adopted his mother’s independence and, by virtue of his life experience (some might say), has acquired a superior perception of reality. “Born a Crime” is no joke.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela J
  • 2016-11-17

Best book this's year

Yes, I said it. The best book this year. Funny, poignant, historical, happy, and perfect. Yes, it is the story of Trevor, but it is so much more. It is the story of a place and a time that while I thought I understood, I didn't. It's just amazing that this is the story of a YOUNG man. How can this all have happened such a short time ago? Told with such wit and interest this is really the story of a woman who made her own way and taught her child to do the same. So enjoyable. The perfect book.

120 of 152 people found this review helpful

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  • Joanna Loveluck
  • 2016-11-19

Fascinating, tragic, and charming

As a Trevor Noah fan I had high expectations of this book. I expected it to be intelligently funny and charming. I didn't expect it to captivate me in the way it did. His true understanding of human nature shines through as he tells his tragic story.

90 of 117 people found this review helpful

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  • ShawnSational
  • 2017-08-07

A Great Listen

First of all this dude is hilarious. His comedic mindset in the midst of racism, poverty & abuse is uncanny. Great story!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Seattle reader
  • 2017-02-03

Absolutely great

My kids (12 and 15), my husband and I listened on both legs of a 6 hour round trip and there was not a single request to turn it off or switch to pop music or hard rock! That's pretty extraordinary for my family of diverse tastes. We were entertained and given an amazing glimpse into a world we know nothing about. Lots to think about. Highly recommended.

29 of 39 people found this review helpful

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  • lynn barwick
  • 2017-10-21

Excellent on every level!

The time I spent listening to this book was probably the best most worthwhile time I have ever spent with an audiobook. I learned more about South African culture than most continuing education classes I have taken for my license as a social worker. Trevor is not only amazingly talented he is one of the best story tellers I have ever heard. I will not ever delete this book from my library as I know I will listen to it many times. Thank you Noah for sharing yourself and your family and your culture with us. P. S. This is the first review I have ever written for an audible book 😍

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Lulu
  • 2017-11-27

awesome narration

great stories about the love and faith of a mother. inspiring individuals and jaw dropping events in S. Africa

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  • Daria Julkowska
  • 2017-08-29

Une merveille

J'ai adoré ce livre qui m'a accompagné chaque matin pendant ma marche quotidienne. J'ai pleuré, j'ai rit, j'étais très émue. La voix de Trevor Noah, ses accents, son imitation des personnages sont superbes. On a impression d'être à côté de lui et de vivre son histoire avec lui. Je recommande vivement.

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  • Nathalie
  • 2017-05-11

A "must read"!

Probably so much better in audio by Trevor Noah getting the accents right than reading.

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  • Moeen B.
  • 2017-04-04

Just perfect

I just loved it! Trevor Noah rocks! his accent, his imitations, his tones...I felt like I was inside a movie, or living with him. I cried once, I laughed many times and I enjoyed it thoroughly!

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  • Clem
  • 2017-01-10

Well written, interesting, and uplifting

Qu'est-ce qui a rendu l'écoute de Born a Crime agréable ?

Well read and quite a dynamic story that makes it a good book to listen to.

Quel était le moment le plus mémorable de Born a Crime ?

I was nine years old when my mother threw me out of a moving car. It happened on a Sunday. I know it was on a Sunday because we were coming home from church, and every Sunday in my childhood meant church. We never missed church. My mother was—­and still is—­ a deeply religious woman. Very Christian. Like indigenous peoples around the world, black South Africans adopted the religion of our colonizers. By “adopt” I mean it was forced on us. The white man was quite stern with the native. “You need to pray to Jesus,” he said. “Jesus will save you.” To which the native replied, “Well, we do need to be saved—­saved from you, but that’s beside the point. So let’s give this Jesus thing a shot.”

Qu'avez-vous aimé de la performance de Trevor Noah ?

Knowing very little about apartheid in South Africa, I found Noah's reporting of his life and times growing up to be illuminating and thoughtful.

Auriez-vous pu écouter ce livre audio en une seule fois ?

I Listen to this book in ONE day.