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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 (3,223 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 33.01
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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

"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

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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.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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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!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Interesting but I was expecting more humour

Trevor Noah give the story of his life as a child and young adult in South Africa which covered the period just prior to and just after the end of apartheid. It is fairly interesting. I did listen to the whole thing. His narration is engaging but given what I had seen of him on the daily show and some of his stand up, I expected it to have more humour.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wow

Loved it. Such beauty in an unbelievably awful situation. His humor and honestly is as refreshing as his love for his mother is timeless.

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Wonderful

It was truly an experience listening to this story. Trevor is an excellent narrator and I cannot believe his life.
Really recommend this book!!

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Unbelievable

This is an absolutely incredible story. Trevor Noah is truly an astounding human. Seriously. Wow.

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Trevor Noah isn’t just funny.

I have only heard great things about this book and now that I’ve finally finished it all I can say everything’s true about the reviews. It’s shocking, touching, tear jerking and funny all at the same time. I guarantee you will enjoy it if you like bios.

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a real rollercoaster

Not to spoile anything but enjoyed the joy, think i understood some of the pain and i almost cried at the end. it is more an adventure than a story. pick it up you won't regret it

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  • Marilyn Armstrong
  • Massachusetts
  • 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.

813 of 978 people found this review helpful

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  • Bluebird
  • 2018-01-29

just ok

I felt he got off track on his story at times. It seemed rushed at the end and left me wondering.

69 of 83 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-06-03

Repetitive

Repetitive and not really iinteresting. A series of stories, barely held together . His stand up is deeper than this.

83 of 100 people found this review helpful

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  • Nursing Professor
  • 2017-01-23

I got tired of the smart alec kid telling his tale

Would you try another book from Trevor Noah and/or Trevor Noah?

no

Would you recommend Born a Crime to your friends? Why or why not?

no

Which scene was your favorite?

When the boy defecated in the kitchen and his family was terrified because they thought it was from evil spirits.

What else would you have wanted to know about Trevor Noah’s life?

not much

Any additional comments?

Very tiresome after awhile, and rarely very funny

55 of 66 people found this review helpful

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  • Heather Harej
  • 2017-01-24

A little repetitive and scattered, but well delivered.

Story was hard to follow at times. A little scattered and repetitive. Some inconsistencies as well as part of the story telling. But very enjoyable to hear.

64 of 77 people found this review helpful

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  • GlassJohnJean
  • LA
  • 2017-12-06

NOT FUNNY

Trevor I love your comedy. But this book is very hard to stomach. I do feel awful for your life as a CRIME.

50 of 60 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • 2018-06-24

Repetitive and drawn out. All over the place.<br />

Noah is great but the story could have been about 3 total chapters. One minutes hes a baby, then and adult ,and then a toddler,

73 of 88 people found this review helpful

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  • christine
  • 2017-02-23

Just not as interesting as he thinks it is

The apartheid history was interesting. Some of the personal stories. But then I just got sick of them.

59 of 71 people found this review helpful

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  • Emma Romey
  • New York
  • 2018-09-28

Noah is proud of his bad behavior

This book will appeal to teenage boys. It is the boasting of a selfish man. Lost respect for the man who takes pride in his misdeeds.

82 of 99 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas L. Piper
  • 2018-02-25

Fine but...

Noah is engaging. And his self-depreciating assessment of childhood is familiar to all who have experienced it, regardless of race or country. His observations on race in South Africa and the world over are insightful, but during one anecdote he essentially blames his two pet cats' natural temperament for their own sadistic murder, beheading and skinning at the hands of a superstitious neighbor. In that sense, it seems he may have learned a lot about people's nature, but not much about animals in general.

68 of 82 people found this review helpful

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nadia
  • 2018-11-20

Brilliant

it's one thing to have great elements for a story it's another to be able to tell it in a way that captivates an audience for a duration of eight hours. Trevor Noah really succeeded in doing this. I highly recommend it.

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 2018-08-08

A must read book

It's an educational book as well as entertaining. To me, Africa has been a dark continent for a long time with their political instabilities and violence. The author eloquently shows us both ,their every day life which is not so different from ours' and their particular problems oriented from their socio-political background. These rich episodes add significant subtlety to ever growing discourse over social division. Must read /listen!

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  • Mariama
  • 2018-07-24

Un magnifique récit

Un magnifique récit, beaucoup d émotions ! L amour d un fils pour sa mère et d une mère pour son fils !

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  • burkes
  • 2018-06-22

Eye-opening

couldn't stop listening, except to think about all the things this book helped me understand

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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.