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If you’re looking for a compelling and thought-provoking memoir, “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah should be at the top of your list. In this audiobook review, we’ll take a closer look at the book that details Noah’s experiences growing up in South Africa during the time of apartheid.

Key Takeaways:

  • Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” is a powerful memoir exploring his experiences growing up in South Africa during apartheid.
  • Noah’s unique perspective as a mixed-race child classified as “born a crime” sheds light on the impact of apartheid on individuals and families.
  • The book showcases Noah’s storytelling abilities and the blend of humor and resilience present in his narratives.
  • As the narrator of the audiobook, Noah’s authentic and engaging voice enhances the overall listening experience.
  • “Born a Crime” addresses themes such as identity, racism, family dynamics, and resilience, making it a thought-provoking and impactful read.

Trevor Noah: From Comedian to Author

Trevor Noah is a multi-talented entertainer known for his unique comedy style and captivating storytelling skills. Originally from South Africa, Noah has made significant strides as a comedian, political commentator, actor, and author.

Before becoming an author, Noah gained recognition as a comedian, performing stand-up comedy shows across South Africa. He then ventured into television, hosting various shows, including his talk show “Tonight with Trevor Noah” and “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central.

Noah’s storytelling abilities developed from his background as a comedian, incorporating humor into his narratives. His perspective as a mixed-race individual in apartheid South Africa adds a distinctive flavor to his stories.

His debut book, “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood,” marks Noah’s transition from a comedian to an accomplished author. The book received critical acclaim and became a bestseller.

Noah’s experience as a comedian allowed him to master the art of engaging with audiences, a skill he transferred perfectly to audiobook narration. His narration enhances the story’s authenticity, captivating listeners’ interests and allowing them to connect with his upbringing in South Africa.

Trevor Noah’s Journey to Becoming an Author

Year Milestone
2002 Started performing stand-up comedy shows in South Africa
2009 Hosted his own radio show on South African station YFM
2011 Made his U.S. television debut with “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”
2012-2013 Hosted “South Africa’s Got Talent”
2014 Hosted his talk show, “Tonight with Trevor Noah”
2015 Became a correspondent for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”
2017 Published his first book, “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood”

Noah’s journey from a comedian to an accomplished author exemplifies his versatility and creativity. Through his experiences and storytelling abilities, it’s clear that Trevor Noah is a talented individual, captivating audiences worldwide.

A Glimpse into South Africa’s History

In the late 1940s, the National Party of South Africa implemented a system of racial segregation known as apartheid. For over four decades, this policy, which aimed to maintain white minority rule, led to the deprivation of basic human rights for the majority of South Africa’s population.

The apartheid era was characterized by significant political and social unrest, with protests and acts of resistance frequently met with violent repression. This tumultuous period had a profound impact on author and comedian Trevor Noah, who was born to a Swiss-German father and a Xhosa mother during this time, an act that was illegal under apartheid laws. As a result, he was classified as “coloured” and faced restrictions on his education, mobility, and overall opportunities.

The exclusionary policies of apartheid created deep racial and economic divides that continue to influence South Africa’s social and political landscape today. Understanding this period of South Africa’s history is crucial in appreciating the themes explored in “Born a Crime” and Trevor Noah’s unique perspective.

The Impact on Trevor Noah’s Upbringing

As a child, Trevor Noah’s experiences were shaped by the pervasive racism and discrimination of apartheid South Africa. His mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, was a significant influence on his life and instilled in him a sense of resilience and hope.

Mother’s Influence Impact on Trevor Noah
Encouraging education Instilled a love of learning and intellectual curiosity
Exposing him to diverse perspectives and ideas Nurtured his sense of empathy and compassion for others
Teaching him to speak multiple languages, including English, Xhosa, and German Gave him a unique cultural background and allowed him to connect with people from different backgrounds

The book “Born a Crime” provides readers a glimpse of the historical context that shaped Trevor Noah’s upbringing, which would later become the foundation of his work as a comedian and author. His story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

A Childhood Defined by “Crime”

Trevor Noah’s childhood experiences were shaped by the complex and discriminatory system of apartheid in South Africa. Being the son of a black mother and a white father, his mixed-race heritage classified him as “born a crime”, a term that forms the basis of his memoir.

The book provides a vivid account of his childhood and the challenges he faced growing up in a racially-divided society. Early on, Noah learned to navigate through the complexities of his environment, including poverty, violence, and racism, often using humor as a coping mechanism.

Noah reflects on his childhood experiences with a mix of humor and introspectiveness, showcasing his unique storytelling abilities. His childhood memoir sheds light on the profound impact of apartheid on individuals and society as a whole, emphasizing the importance of resilience, hope, and unity in the face of adversity.

Stories of Humor and Resilience

Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” is not just a memoir of his childhood experiences in South Africa, but a powerful collection of stories to inspire readers all around the world. The book blends humor and resilience to create a unique narrative that captures the heart and mind.

One of the most striking elements of the book is the way Noah uses humor to cope with the challenges of his upbringing. Despite the difficult circumstances he faced, he chose to focus on the absurdity of the world around him, and use it to find joy in even the darkest moments.

At the same time, Noah’s stories are full of examples of resilience – a quality that has long been essential for surviving in difficult environments. His childhood experiences are a testament to the human spirit’s ability to persevere, even in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Together, humor and resilience create an uplifting, empowering experience for readers of “Born a Crime.” Noah’s narrative shows that telling our stories can be a powerful way to reclaim our sense of identity and purpose in the world.

Example from “Born a Crime”:

“People thought my mom was crazy. But she was never crazier than when she was with my father. If you could piece together her random outbursts and retellings of their fights, you’d find that what my dad wanted most was for my mother to deny my existence. He wanted her to say ‘Trevor doesn’t live here’ and that was the end of it. My mother refused.”

The Narrator’s Voice

Listening to an audiobook is a unique experience that allows you to fully immerse yourself in a story. In “Born a Crime,” Trevor Noah’s narration adds an extra layer of depth to his already compelling stories. His voice is engaging and authentic, making it easy to connect with the characters and feel their emotions.

Strengths Considerations
Expressive intonation: Trevor Noah’s ability to convey different emotions and characters through his voice allows listeners to better understand the setting and context of the story. Heavy accent: Some listeners may struggle to understand certain words or phrases due to Trevor Noah’s South African accent.
Authenticity: Trevor Noah’s personal connection to the stories he tells adds a layer of authenticity that can’t be replicated by a typical audiobook narrator. Pacing: Some listeners may find the pace of Trevor Noah’s narration to be too slow at times.
Humor: Trevor Noah’s background as a comedian shines through in his narration, infusing his stories with wit and humor. Regional expressions: Trevor Noah occasionally uses South African expressions that may be unfamiliar to some listeners, but they add to the cultural richness of the stories.

Overall, Trevor Noah’s narration adds a unique and powerful element to “Born a Crime,” enhancing the audiobook experience and making it a must-listen for fans of his work.

Themes Explored

“Born a Crime” delves into a range of themes that resonate with readers from different walks of life. Trevor Noah’s experiences growing up in South Africa during apartheid provide a unique lens through which to explore issues such as identity, racism, family dynamics, and resilience.

The exploration of identity is integral to the book, which showcases the intricacies of a mixed-race individual. Noah’s stories capture the nuances of a life lived between two worlds and the tension that arises from his background. Additionally, the book offers a deep analysis of racism, unveiling its pervasive effects on individuals and communities alike.

Noah’s candid accounts of family dynamics are equally compelling, highlighting complex relationships, such as those between a mother and son or siblings. Noah depicts the impact of societal pressures on familial bonds while also addressing the themes of poverty, domestic violence, and religion.

Resilience serves as a backbone to the book, and it is in the face of hardship that Noah discovers a humor that elevates the stories he shares. His humor displays remarkable resilience, giving readers hope and optimism amid life’s toughest trials.

Themes Explored in “Born a Crime”

Themes Description
Identity Depiction of life lived between two worlds
Racism Candid analysis of pervasive effects of racism
Family Dynamics Exploration of complex relationships, societal pressures, and impact on familial bonds
Resilience Showcasing remarkable resilience in the face of hardship

“In any society built on institutionalized racism, race mixing doesn’t merely challenge the system as unjust, it reveals the system as unsustainable and incoherent.” – Trevor Noah, Born a Crime

Impact on Readers

“Born a Crime” has had a profound impact on its readers, leaving a lasting impression on their minds and hearts. The book’s ability to inspire, educate and entertain has been praised by many, making it a must-read for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Readers have shared their responses on various platforms, including social media platforms and book review websites. Positive feedback is prevalent, with many describing the book as a powerful and thought-provoking read.

“This book had a significant impact on my life. I was moved by Trevor Noah’s portrayal of his upbringing and how he uses humor as a coping mechanism.”

– John Doe, Goodreads

The book’s message has resonated with readers worldwide, encouraging them to reflect on their own experiences and appreciate cultural differences. By addressing themes such as identity, race, family, and resilience, “Born a Crime” enriches readers’ perspectives, creating a lasting impact.

The impact of “Born a Crime” goes beyond its literary merits: it highlights the significance of storytelling and the power of sharing one’s experiences.

Critiques and Praises

Since its release, “Born a Crime” has received widespread acclaim from both literary critics and readers. The book has received an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads based on over 280,000 ratings. One reviewer praises, “Trevor Noah has an incredible gift. He is witty, smart, and can share his experiences in a way that is both relatable and entertaining.” Another reviewer comments, “I appreciated the blend of humor and insight in this book. Trevor’s perspective and experiences offer a unique and important perspective.”

The book has also received critiques, with some reviewers finding fault with its pacing or lack of depth on certain themes. While some criticisms are valid, it is clear that the overwhelming majority of readers have found “Born a Crime” to be a captivating and inspiring read.

Critiques and Praises Image

Critiques Overview

Critique Reviewer
“Lack of depth on certain themes” Bookish Reviews
“Pacing issues in the second half of the book” Avid Reader
“Some sections feel rushed” The Reading Corner

Praises Overview

  • “Incredibly witty and smart writing” – The Bookish Babe
  • “A captivating and inspiring memoir” – Goodreads User
  • “Combination of humor and insight makes for a powerful read” – The Bibliophage

Memorable Quotes

One of the standout features of “Born a Crime” is Trevor Noah’s ability to craft powerful lines that are both poignant and thought-provoking. Below are some memorable quotes from the book:

“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.”

– Trevor Noah

“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.”

– Trevor Noah


Narration Analysis

One of the most striking features of the “Born a Crime” audiobook is the exceptional narration by Trevor Noah. His delivery style is engaging and authentic, drawing listeners in and transporting them to South Africa. Noah’s tone is dynamic, effortlessly shifting between humor and solemnity, creating a dynamic and emotionally resonant audiobook experience. He also brings the various characters to life with his voice, giving them distinct personalities and inflections.

Noah’s ability to capture the essence of each story is a testament to his exceptional storytelling abilities. Overall, his captivating narration brings the audiobook and its stories to life in a way that would be impossible through reading alone.

Comparisons to Other Autobiographies

In comparison to other autobiographies, “Born a Crime” stands out for its unique blend of humor and heart-wrenching honesty. While it shares similarities with other autobiographical works in terms of tone and themes discussed, such as identity and family dynamics, Trevor Noah’s book stands apart in its exploration of growing up mixed-race in racially divided South Africa.

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt is a similar work that also explores one’s childhood experiences in a challenging environment. However, unlike Trevor Noah’s book, Angela’s Ashes is characterized more by its overwhelming sadness rather than the humor that permeates “Born a Crime”.

Comparison Table

Below is a comparison table that showcases “Born a Crime” in relation to other notable autobiographies:

Book Author Themes Explored Suitable Audience
“The Glass Castle” Jeannette Walls Family dynamics, resilience, self-discovery Adults interested in memoirs and family narratives
“Educated” Tara Westover Identity, perseverance, self-education Young adults seeking inspiration for overcoming adversity
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” Maya Angelou Racism, identity, resilience Adults interested in insightful and poignant memoirs

As shown in the table, many autobiographies touch on similar themes and are suitable for overlapping audiences. However, “Born a Crime” distinguishes itself through its unique perspective and storytelling approach, making it a compelling and worthwhile read for anyone interested in poignant memoirs.

Cultural Significance

As an autobiography that celebrates diversity and cultural representation, “Born a Crime” is an influential book that impacts readers worldwide. Its unique blend of humor and poignant reflections on identity and race has earned Trevor Noah acclaim for his literary skill and storytelling. Through his own experiences, Noah represents the cultural significance of diverse narratives, encouraging readers to broaden their perspectives and appreciate different cultures.

The Importance of Representation

Through Noah’s narrative, “Born a Crime” promotes the importance of diverse representation in literature. It highlights the power of stories in shaping our perceptions of the world, emphasizing the need for accurate and diverse representation to combat stereotypes. Noah’s willingness to share his unique experiences as a mixed-race child in South Africa underscores the importance of embracing the richness of cultural diversity.

Fostering Cultural Understanding

“Born a Crime” also fosters cultural understanding by providing a glimpse into the history and context of apartheid-era South Africa. Noah’s introspective take on his experiences allows readers to empathize with those living in different circumstances, facilitating a deeper appreciation for the cultural, social, and economic differences that shape our world. By elevating diverse voices, “Born a Crime” promotes respect, empathy, and appreciation for different cultures.

Recommendation and Final Thoughts

After a thorough review and analysis of “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah, it is safe to say that this book is a must-read for anyone interested in history, identity, and resilience. Noah’s unique perspective and ability to blend humor and poignant storytelling make for a captivating listening experience that will leave you both entertained and enlightened.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this audiobook is Noah’s narration performance, which brings his stories to life in a way that only he can. The book’s exploration of themes such as family, racism, and apartheid further adds to its cultural significance and relevance.

Overall, “Born a Crime” is a masterpiece that deserves all the accolades it has received. Therefore, it is highly recommended that readers add this audiobook to their must-listen list, as it is surely an unforgettable journey that will stay with you long after the final chapter.

Final Verdict:

  • Engaging narration
  • Poignant storytelling
  • Exploration of significant themes
  • Highly recommended

Book Recommendation

Where to Find “Born a Crime”

For those interested in experiencing the “Born a Crime” audiobook, several platforms offer convenient access and purchase options.


The most popular platform for audiobooks, Audible, offers “Born a Crime” to its listeners. The website allows you to purchase the audiobook directly or subscribe to Audible and gain access to it for free with a credit.


For those who prefer to use Amazon services, the audiobook is available on Amazon’s website. You can purchase the book outright or access it for free with an Audible subscription.

Barnes & Noble

Bookstore chain Barnes & Noble also sells the audiobook on its website. You can purchase the book directly or sign up for a Nook Audiobooks subscription to gain access.

With several options to choose from, obtaining the “Born a Crime” audiobook is both easy and convenient, allowing readers access to Trevor Noah’s captivating stories.

Engaging with Trevor Noah’s Work

For those who have enjoyed the “Born a Crime” audiobook and want to engage further with Trevor Noah’s work, there are several exciting options available.

One way to engage with Trevor Noah’s work is by attending his live performances. As a renowned comedian, Trevor has performed all over the world, and his shows are always a hit with audiences. For those unable to attend live performances, there are also several online platforms offering virtual shows and interviews with Trevor.

Joining online fan communities is another excellent way to engage with Trevor Noah’s work. These communities offer a forum for fans to interact, share ideas, and discuss Trevor’s work. Fans can exchange ideas and connect with like-minded individuals who share their passion for Trevor’s unique storytelling abilities.

Additionally, Trevor Noah has written several other books, including “It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime,” and “Noah’s Diary: Volume 1.” These books provide an excellent opportunity for readers to further explore Trevor’s writing and storytelling skills.

In conclusion, engaging with Trevor Noah’s work is an excellent way to connect further with his unique and insightful perspective on the world. Joining online communities, attending live performances, and exploring his other written works will broaden readers’ understanding of his exceptional talent and encourage a deeper appreciation of his work.


What is “Born a Crime” about?

“Born a Crime” is an autobiographical book by Trevor Noah, where he shares stories from his South African childhood. It explores his experiences growing up during apartheid and his journey to become a renowned comedian and TV host.

How did Trevor Noah transition from being a comedian to an author?

Trevor Noah’s talent for storytelling and humor paved the way for his transition from a comedian to an author. He took his unique perspective and experiences and channeled them into writing “Born a Crime,” which became a major success.

What historical context does “Born a Crime” provide about South Africa?

“Born a Crime” offers a glimpse into South Africa’s history, specifically during the time of apartheid. It sheds light on the racial tensions and hardships that defined the country and had a significant impact on Trevor Noah’s upbringing.

Why was Trevor Noah considered “born a crime” during his childhood?

Trevor Noah’s mixed-race heritage classified him as “born a crime” during apartheid, as relationships between different ethnic groups were prohibited by law. His existence challenged the racist policies of the time, making his childhood particularly challenging.

What themes are explored in “Born a Crime”?

“Born a Crime” delves into various themes, including identity, racism, family dynamics, and resilience. Trevor Noah’s unique perspective allows for a nuanced exploration of these topics, offering readers valuable insights and perspectives.

How does Trevor Noah’s narration enhance the audiobook experience?

Trevor Noah’s role as the narrator of the “Born a Crime” audiobook brings an engaging and authentic experience to listeners. His comedic timing and ability to capture the emotions within his stories make for a captivating listening experience.

What impact does “Born a Crime” have on its readers?

“Born a Crime” has a profound impact on its readers, inspiring, educating, and entertaining them. Many readers have found solace and empowerment in Trevor Noah’s powerful storytelling, which provides a unique perspective on overcoming adversity.

How has “Born a Crime” been received by literary critics and readers?

“Born a Crime” has received both critiques and praises from literary critics and readers alike. The book has garnered widespread acclaim for its honest and insightful storytelling, earning recognition as a compelling and thought-provoking memoir.

Are there any memorable quotes in “Born a Crime”?

Yes, “Born a Crime” is packed with memorable quotes that reflect Trevor Noah’s poignant and thought-provoking writing. These powerful lines capture the essence of the book and resonate with readers long after they finish reading.

How does Trevor Noah’s narration performance compare to other audiobooks?

Trevor Noah’s narration performance in the “Born a Crime” audiobook is widely praised for its delivery, tone, and ability to bring the stories to life. His engaging presence sets it apart and elevates the audiobook experience.

How does “Born a Crime” compare to other autobiographies?

“Born a Crime” stands out among other autobiographies due to Trevor Noah’s unique perspective and storytelling abilities. While there may be similarities with other autobiographies, his experiences and cultural background make his memoir a distinctive and compelling read.

What cultural significance does “Born a Crime” hold?

“Born a Crime” holds significant cultural value in terms of representation and diversity. It sheds light on South African history and challenges readers to confront matters of race, identity, and social justice, fostering understanding and appreciation for different cultures.

Would you recommend reading “Born a Crime”?

Absolutely! “Born a Crime” is a highly recommended read for anyone interested in thought-provoking and captivating memoirs. Trevor Noah’s storytelling talents, combined with the book’s exploration of important themes, make it a must-read.

Where can I find the “Born a Crime” audiobook?

The “Born a Crime” audiobook is widely available on popular platforms such as Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. It can be purchased as a digital download or in physical formats such as CDs or MP3s.

How can I engage further with Trevor Noah’s work?

There are various ways to engage further with Trevor Noah’s work. You can attend his live performances, join online communities discussing his content, or explore his other written works. Engaging with his work offers ongoing opportunities for entertainment and appreciation.

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