Audio Review: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Posted April 26, 2017 by @Angelized_1st in Audio, Books, Entertainment / 0 Comments

Audio Review: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor NoahBorn a Crime by Trevor Noah
Published by Random House Publishing Group on November 15th 2016
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Performing Arts, Comedy, Humor, Form, Essays
Pages: 304
Format: Audio Book
Source: Audible
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

#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

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.

“Language, even more than color, defines who you are to people.”

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah is a heartfelt, funny, and poignant look at what life was like growing under apartheid. The comedian and host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show narrates his memoir with loads of energy and humor. The author even makes the bad times less so with his optimistic outlook on life, and snarky sense of humor. Readers are given insight into what it was like for Noah to be a walking reminder that his parents were “traitors” to their country by associating with one another and that his presence was proof of their crime. We also get a glimpse of how he struggled under apartheid as a young man trying to fit in, and never finding a place to fit thanks to the strange division apartheid caused.

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to. “What if…” “If only…” “I wonder what would have…” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.”

I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since its release, and when I heard that Noah narrated the memoir, there was no way I wasn’t going to listen to the audiobook. Being a fan of Noah’s brand of comedy, I loved the personality he brought to the narration. When he spoke about his country, you could feel the love he feels for the place and its people. You also can hear the hurt South Africa has caused him, and how it’s shaped him as a man. What made the story even more authentic was Noah’s use of the various South African languages throughout the narration. His fluency with these languages added to the story and shows how much a melting pot South Africa is despite its tragic history.

If you are looking for a great memoir to read, Born a Crime is at the top of my list of recommendations. It’s so full of life, and interesting stories that you won’t want to put it down. Though I’m sure it reads very well, after listening to the audio I’d definitely have to recommend listening to Trevor Noah read it. You won’t regret it.

Favorite Quotes

Born a Crime is chock full of great quotes and stories, but below are some of my favorites.

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

“We live in a world where we don’t see the ramifications of what we do to others because we don’t live with them. It would be a whole lot harder for an investment banker to rip off people with subprime mortgages if he actually had to live with the people he was ripping off. If we could see one another’s pain and empathize with one another, it would never be worth it to us to commit the crimes in the first place.”

“The first thing I learned about having money was that it gives you choices. People don’t want to be rich. They want to be able to choose. The richer you are, the more choices you have. That is the freedom of money.”

“The hood made me realize that crime succeeds because crime does the one thing the government doesn’t do: crime cares. Crime is grassroots. Crime looks for the young kids who need support and a lifting hand. Crime offers internship programs and part-time jobs and opportunities for advancement. Crime gets involved in the community. Crime doesn’t discriminate.”

“Comfort can be dangerous. Comfort provides a floor but also a ceiling.”


Source: Audible

About Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah is the most successful comedian in Africa and is the host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show on Comedy Central. This year The Daily Show has been nominated for a Writers Guild Award (Comedy/Variety Series). Noah joined The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2014 as a contributor.

It was recently announced that Noah will debut his 9th new comedy special Afraid of the Dark on Tuesday, February 21 on Netflix. The special was shot before a packed house in New York City at the Beacon Theatre on November 5, 2016. Last year, Noah debuted his one-hour stand-up special, Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation, on Comedy Central. Noah was the subject of David Paul Meyer’s award-winning documentary film You Laugh But It’s True which tells the story of his remarkable career in post-apartheid South Africa. His Showtime comedy special, Trevor Noah: African American premiered in 2013. He was nominated for “Personality of the Year” at the 2014 and 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards and won the award in 2015. Trevor’s success has also spanned to sold out shows over 5 continents.

Born in South Africa to a black South African mother and a white European father, Noah has hosted numerous television shows including South Africa’s music, television and film awards, and two seasons of his own late night talk show, Tonight with Trevor Noah.

In November 2016, Trevor released his first book Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, which was an instant New York Times bestseller. Additionally, his performance on the Born a Crime audiobook was Audible’s highest rated audiobook of 2016 and has remained one of the top-selling titles on Audible since its release. It was also nominated for two NAACP Image Awards, one for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author and another for Outstanding Literary Work in the Biography/Auto-Biography category.


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