• Born a Crime

  • Stories from a South African Childhood
  • By: Trevor Noah
  • Narrated by: Trevor Noah
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (203,467 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Highest-rated new book of 2016 by Audible customers

Winner: Audible's Best of 2016 - Celebrity Memoirs 

In this award-winning Audible Studios production, Trevor Noah tells his wild coming-of-age tale during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa. It’s a story that begins with his mother throwing him from a moving van to save him from a potentially fatal dispute with gangsters, then follows the budding comedian’s path to self-discovery through episodes both poignant and comical. Noah’s virtuoso embodiment of all the characters from his childhood, and his ability to perform accents and dialects effortlessly in English, Xhosa, and Zulu, garnered the Audie Award for Best Male Narrator in 2018. Nevertheless, Noah’s devoted and uncompromising mother—as voiced by her son—steals the show. 

An Audible for Dogs Pick: Make your dog's day. Cesar Millan shares how audiobooks can make dogs happier and calmer. Learn more.
©2016 Spiegel & Grau (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

Go Behind the Scenes of Born a Crime

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The author’s gift for vocal impersonation elevates the audio version into something even more splendid than an already terrific memoir.

- The Washington Post

Our favorite moments from Born a Crime

"No, Mom! This was not thanks to God!"
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"Once Mandela was elected, we could finally live freely."
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"If my mother had one goal, it was to free my mind."
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  • Born a Crime
  • "No, Mom! This was not thanks to God!"
  • Born a Crime
  • "Once Mandela was elected, we could finally live freely."
  • Born a Crime
  • "If my mother had one goal, it was to free my mind."

About the Author and Performer

Trevor Noah found fame as a comedian and TV personality in his native South Africa before becoming a household name in America as the host of The Daily Show. But before he found his gift for satire, he came of age as a storyteller during the waning days of apartheid and the tumultuous freedom that followed. In writing and performing Born a Crime—his first book—Trevor Noah can add “best-selling memoirist” and “audiobook narrator” to his list of hilarious-yet-heartfelt triumphs.

What listeners say about Born a Crime

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

959 people found this helpful

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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.

336 people found this helpful

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Reviews were a bit misleading

Based on the reviews I read, I expected more. It wasn't a tragic life story, or super funny story.
It's an ok story.
Guess the hype, from the reviews, led me to hope for something more.

184 people found this helpful

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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!!! 😬

184 people found this helpful

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Best book this 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.

148 people found this helpful

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An interesting take on life yet a bit disturbing

As someone who is blind, I love audible because the books are narrated to me. I made this selection because I enjoy listening to the rider on his comedy show. He is very entertaining and can tell a good story. For the most part, I find his commentary is generally on point. This book gives you a glimpse into his mind and gives you a little background about the life that he has had while growing up in South Africa. I found the issues regarding domestic violence and his family situation to be quite disturbing, but I understand where his viewpoint is coming from because it was a very terrible situation. There were many things in the book that were quite funny and I enjoyed much of his narrative. I had a little bit of a problem with the story regarding the time where he was a DJ and had a lead dancer Who was given the name of Hitler. His explanation of the situation and the reason why this person was named after one of the most notorious people in history is uncomfortable. Other than these two things, I would recommend this book to others with the caveat that it might be a little much for some.

136 people found this helpful

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skip it

I love Trevor Noah, but this book is boring uneventful and too simple . I tried and tried but I couldn't even finish it

132 people found this helpful

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Started out very interesting, but declined quickly

Liked the first couple of chapters, but could not finish the book. Dragged on with childhood stories that weren't very captivating.

130 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Crime contiues

Boring with no comedic moments. Too much emphasis on skin color gradients over and over

129 people found this helpful

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life is hard, then you host the Daily Show.

I am glad Trevor Noah has achieved success, I just don't think this book is why.

126 people found this helpful

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  • KM
  • 10-16-17

EXCELLENT!!!!!!!

I'm so glad that Trevor Noah reads this book himself. He does voices for his family members and is SO funny!! A very entertaining look at what has been a pretty heavy and eventful life.