Get a free audiobook

Born a Crime

Stories from a South African Childhood
Written by: Trevor Noah
Narrated by: Trevor Noah
Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
5 out of 5 stars (3,988 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

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

"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's narration offers insights and intimacy, and as he gives voice to his mother, his friends, and his younger self, listeners are invited in to glimpse his world. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (AudioFile magazine)

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

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,597
  • 4 Stars
    343
  • 3 Stars
    39
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    4

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,468
  • 4 Stars
    175
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,263
  • 4 Stars
    344
  • 3 Stars
    42
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An amazing story!

This book took me only a week to read. it was so thoughtfully written, put in such a perspective that really helps the reader understand how circumstances and situations are so impactful to the outcome of people's lives. the complexity of growing up in apartheid are so much more apparent in reading this. the author was serious, yet funny which keeps the tone light but maintains the impact of the story.

#Audible1

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What an incredible and inspiring story!

I don't know if I would have enjoyed this book as much if I'd read it rather than listened. Trevor Noah's spirited reading, his mastery of all the African languages and accents, and of course his personal connection to the stories made it entertaining from start to finish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Honestly...

Trevor Noah's life story is too amazing for words. A truly brilliant piece of work!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This guy could read me the phone book! *swoon*

I really dig Trevor's accent and his ability to mimic other people's voices and accents. It really made his story come alive for me. I was so intrigued and drawn in, it inspired me to learn more about a part of the world I am quite ignorant about. I listened to this book every chance I got and I'm looking forward to listening to his podcasts. Truly a brilliant storyteller.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I will never, ever visit South Africa

It's pretty much a miracle that he survived and is here. I think that's the second greatest miracle that his mom pulled off. If she gets a third, I suggest quite strongly that she should get a sainthood.

Honestly, I have no idea how *anyone* survives in that country. I feel like I know everything I might ever need to know about South Africa now. Trevor Noah describes everything so beautifully and lucidly, and he shines a ginormous spotlight into all the dark corners. And those corners are very, very dark... but it sort of creeps up on you. He writes his story like an oil painting, layer upon layer, until the full picture finally appears.

It's dark, and funny, and you get to know all the people who were in his life from the inside out. It's human. With all that that implies. And the mom in me just wants to wrap him in fluffy blankets and feed him soup. Because nobody should have had to go through what he did.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I laughed cried ,then laughed again!wonderful!

absolutely great! the ending will be the most memorable part of this story...this was not so much a story about Trevor and his upbringing, but a story about a mother's faith in an unseen God to keep and protect all that is most precious to her!...I will never see Trevor the same way again...thank you Trevor for telling me and showing your mom's heart!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

this is what they call a must-read... must-listen?

I'm so happy that i picked this book as my first audible experience. To hear his accent and vocal impersonations felt like the age old storytelling tradition...which I enjoyed. I also learned so much about South Africa and its people. We all know about Nelson Mandela, but Trevor gave us another perspective told from a younger generation's voice. I've always thought trevor noah was a classy, good looking dude maybe from a wealthy, educated family. Wow! to learn how tough his life was. Yet he always found the humor in it all. loooooved this from beginning to end

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Liesel Wallace
  • 2019-06-11

Nonchalant comments about animal abuse

I’m from South Africa and Trevor’s account of South Africa was spot on but frankly I stopped listening after his unemotional account of animal abuse towards his own cats. Made me feel sick to my stomach... Trevor just lost a fan for life.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • tlcarver
  • 2019-06-05

Profanity Too Big of Hurdle

Interesting story but I couldn’t get passed the offensive language. Finally had to turn it off.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Václav Novák
  • 2019-05-07

Just another celebrity boasting about being poor

It's not completely boring and you will learn a bit about South Africa. I expected something more, not instant wisdoms and stories about idiots.

This guy has a Swiss father and can afford fireworks, but has nothing to eat. He goes to school by car but has no money for gas. Whaaat? Why don't you bike like everyone else?

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • D. Sheff
  • Inkster, Michigan United States
  • 2019-04-28

A mishmash of stories that go on and on

I had high hopes for this book but alas it fell short in all ways. There is some humor but the flat monotone delivery blunts it's effect. In later chapters Noah comes across as a total jerk and some of the images he conjures up turned my stomach. The insight into Apartheid kept me engaged for awhile but by mid book the narrative breaks down and it's just a mishmash of stories about a hell raising kid who wrecks havoc and has no problem with it nor does his mother who has high standards for her son's actions except when they effect white peoples property or animals

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Krykie
  • Miami, NM, United States
  • 2019-05-06

boring as hell

If the author weren't already famous, this would be a very dull and zzzz book. There is no self reflection, no moment of discovery, no journey. It's Trevor talking about his life growing up in a dysfunctional family. He complains about unfairness, but he exploits and steals from others without regret. Not at the time, not in writing the book. Again, if it weren't Trevor Noah, I doubt the story would have been published.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • MerBear1981
  • 2019-04-18

I didn’t hate it

In fact, I didn’t feel passionately about it at all. Some of the stories were repetitive and it was difficult to discern what period of his life he was talking about at any particular moment because he jumps back and forth quite a lot. I also expected it to be a funnier. The only bit that I really found funny was the story about him doing number two in the kitchen.

Overall this book doesn’t live up to the hype. I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone unless they were a fan of Trevor’s to begin with. I did enjoy hearing about his individual experience growing up in South Africa during apartheid, but the disjointedness kept this from being a really good listen for me.

28 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • lguinily
  • 2019-05-26

Doesnt live up to the hype

Streched out and Disorganized
The plot was all over the place. As the title suggests, the book is a series of stories that's somehow related and at the same time doesnt. One minute he's a child, then adult, then teen, then back to being a child. He'd spend several chapters talking about his stepdad, then suddenly somewhere at the near end starts introducing him again(back to being a child and 1st time seeing him). There's no organization whatsoever, thus that made it a little hard to follow because he's abruptly skipping timelines left and right then going back and forth. Some parts of the story was so redundant he can talk about the same thing in over 5 minutes when you can actually summarize it in just 2 to 3 sentences.

Inconsistent and Exaggerated
I cant remember which chapter I didn't want to relisten the book just so I can get which chapter it happened, but at the first part of the book he said he called his dad daddy in a public place, his dad would then run away from him because his father is white and he's black and its illegal to have a mixed kid. He'd chase his dad thinking it's a game while calling him "daddy" out loud. And then at the second half of the story at exactly Part 1, #8 “Robert”. That's exactly at 03:03:35 in the book. He said he call his dad by his name ONLY. Not dad, daddy or father. Just his name because someone might call the police on them. Then there's also this town full of walled up houses which he described as like being in a town of maximum security prisons where everyone stays behind 6ft tall walls with electric fences on top. He on the other hand -being a curious kid as he is heard children lauging behind them- he “climbed up to peek” inside and he'd see kids splashing in the pool. These are just SOME of the inconsistencies I found. Some parts of his childhood were so questionably exaggerated to the point that its ridiculous and you'd think it's absurd that it even happened. These points made me wonder whether or not these things actually happened or he fabricated it just to make himself look good. (It didn't. For me atleast.)

This book could've been so much better with more proper editing and proofreading. With him being a comedian, I can't help but compare this book to Kevin Hart's I Can't Make This Up. The difference is night and day. I learned not just about his life CHRONOLOGICALLY, but I've also picked up several real life lessons, something I didn't expect from a comedian's book. I did laugh a lot though, that's something I expected. But this book is none of that. Its just a series of random stories put together. I expected a lot since I finished Kevin Hart's book I thought this book would be alot better due to the ratings. I was just utterly disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Trevor's standup stages very much. But this book is just a letdown. He's a good comedian, but as an author? Well....listen to the book and you be the judge.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 2019-05-21

boring

I could not seem to follow it. Kept falling asleep.
Seemed like one bad thing after another.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Werner Williams
  • 2019-04-30

Cover your ears

This autobiography started off interesting, but later seemed like just a bunch of random memories not in any particular order. I got tired of the cursing which increased as the book went on. I Just couldn’t finish it.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • ADKer
  • 2019-05-14

Good but... watch out

This is an incredible story of growing up in apartheid and we can only imagine what people endured. Trevor's mother was a remarkable individual. My caveat is that this must have 100+ F bombs; 100+ S*** bombs; and I did NOT appreciate his endearing reference to pornography. In today's day and age of abuse, we should teach out children NOT to succumb to viewing women as a commodity. That totally ruined this otherwise remarkable tale.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cheerioh
  • 2019-01-21

Histoire super intéressante, super bien lu

Un des meilleurs livres audio que j'ai pu écouter jusque-là. My, my, c'était tellement bien. C'est un livre qui avait fait le buzz mais ô objectif mérité. J'ai tellement appris de choses sur la vie de cet homme en Afrique du Sud. La personnalité incroyable de sa mère, ses bêtises, l'univers tellement particulier de ce pays pour un petit gars ni blanc ni noir. Ça vaut vraiment le détour. Je recommande à 200%. En plus c'est l'auteur qui lit son livre, il imite certains personnages, lit les parties en langue étrangère, vraiment très vivant.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • mikus
  • 2018-09-21

Exceptional story, exceptional reading!

Not only the story of the book is highly enjoyable, but also very valuable and provides a lot of insight in the reality of living in the South Africa and in the racist communities in general.
On top of that the author himself adds a lot by reading the book in very lively and entertaining way and with a lot of distance to himself, past events and political situation. Reading the original quotes in the local languages is unbeatable.

My only regret is due to the topics mixed chronologically and because of that in some moments it is hard to figure out at first in which period is the current action happening and therefore what was the authors' age/location and the political situation. On the other hand it is not hard to take longer breaks from the book, as its rather a set of smaller stories than a full chain of events with direct consequences.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Annelise
  • 2018-07-09

lost for words

very good book. Trevor Noah give a comprehensive explination on how apartaid worked in south africa.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2018-05-01

Incroyable !

A écouter absolument, si vous voulez rire, être surpris, émus, choqué, apprendre mais surtout rire. Le meilleur livre audio que j’ai écouté grâce à l’histoire et la performance de Mr Noah qui est très très talentueux. Il sait imiter tout type de personnages. Il est brillant. J’ai passé un très bon moment. Je le recommande sans aucune hésitation

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • bengebara k.
  • 2019-06-10

Amazing

Amazing book, so overwhelming and real! Massive respect for you and your mom! Love you

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nicolas
  • 2019-06-06

Amazing story from a great performer

Enjoyed every part of it. The reading by Trevor himself makes it intense and real. Highly recommended

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CJ
  • 2019-05-26

amazing

amazing and saddest life story ever I enjoyed every bit of it thank you Trevor for sharing such an amazing story even if it was sad at the end🥺you're my model

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2019-05-20

A wonderful story, a wonderful reader

A very well written book, entertaining, interesting, informative, witty, and guaranteed to provoke both laughter and tears.

Provides fascinating insights into the roots of racism and how apartheid worked in South Africa.

Having the author read their book is almost always advantageous, as they bring scenes to life even more through their intonation and interpretation.

Having an excellent performer like Trevor Noah read his autobiographical stories in his wide array of languages and accents means that the Audible version is far more enjoyable.

A must read, which is a much better hear!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • tototata
  • 2019-04-22

Jesus, un grand merci

Thank you Trevor Noah for giving me, an English teacher, a new way to introduce and talk about South African culture, I was getting tired and out of date with « Invictus » and Mandela.
Your mum is right, I’ll thank « Jesus » for this beautiful story.
Amen !

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tamani GHARSA
  • 2019-03-20

Great Book

Trevor's childhood is epic, Patricia's resiliance is an example. The Story make you laugh sometimes and cry other times . A book to discover !