Born A Crime

Born A Crime

Stories From A South African Childhood

eBook - 2016 | First edition
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"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,"
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780399588181
Characteristics: 1 online resource (x, 288 pages)

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From Library Staff

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.

From the critics

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May 29, 2019

I was feeling rushed as readers were waiting so I couldn't renew this book. I thought I'd start skimming to get through it faster, but I just couldn't. It was so interesting, enlightening, well written, funny! and surprising. I won't have trouble returning it on time as I can't put it down. Excellent story, excellent book, nice clean pages, not with ruffled edges like some books I know. This historical fiction has taught me in depth about apartheid and made me realize that growing up in Africa is very much like growing up in North America; definitely recommended reading...

Feb 16, 2019

This is BEST as an audio book. His stories and the voices he uses for each person had me cracking up the entire time.

Jan 29, 2019

The author described his emotions and experiences in a sharp and funny way. The book will keep the readers occupied an entire time. It gives you an idea of how a kid get to grow in South Africa. It talks about apartheid, racial discriminations, domestic violence, a strong mother and a witty son. I enjoyed reading it

Jan 28, 2019

An earlier comment stated that it was like a history lesson reading "Born a Crime." I agree. As we all know, Trevor Noah also has a talent communicating verbally. I did not know he can speak many languages. A reader of "Born a Crime" will find that he does just fine writing as well. He's an extremely talented man. I'd love to see him write more novels. He has the right blend of insight, clarity and humor.

Jan 25, 2019

Wow. Noah's account of his South African youth from the perspective of a half-black, half-white child struggling against the ridiculous restrictions of apartheid is eye-opening, entertaining; at times utterly infuriating and uproariously hilarious. Through it all, the love and faith of his fiercely independent mother both exasperated and sustained him. An excellent read.

Jan 17, 2019

Loved this book more that I thought I would. You could hear Trevor's voice in his writing telling the tales of his incredible yet at times tragic upbringing. Highly recommend this book to everyone.

Gina_Vee Jan 12, 2019

This book was beautifully written. It was funny, raw, and highly "woke" worthy for adult readers. Trevor Noah pulls you into a very illustrated version of his backstory, and he's not afraid to be himself and be fully honest while doing so. Great read!

ArapahoeJulieD Jan 09, 2019

Trevor Noah manages to tackle tough topics, from the mechanics of apartheid and racism in South Africa to stories of his childhood antics, with deep contemplation, eloquence, and not a small amount of humor. I recommend experiencing this book via the audiobook so that you can listen to Trevor's exceptional narration!

Jan 04, 2019

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah was a book that I could never put down! I usually step away from the autobiographies but this book was a beauty in itself. About a boy living and being raised in South Africa where Apartied (racism/segregation) was a huge deal, and he himself was a crime. Being a product from an African mother and a European father, he himself was an outlier in the apartied world. This book tells the story of him growing up in this social climate, being raised by his mother, and how his life unravels over the years even though he was born a crime in the eyes of the law. This book brought so much emotion and intensity to my senses that this book I could say is one of the best that I have ever come to read, him retelling the stories of his childhood and teenage years is one that many including I can succumb and relate too. Reading this book is like him sitting adjacent from you just catching up on old memories on his life and just listening to the stories that made him who he is today, especially when he comes to tell the tale of his friendship with his mother, now that! made me cry. This book is without a doubt an exceptional book done by Noah incorporating the history of his country, and his life stories into one captivating book! Rating: 5 out of 5
@PocketFullOfBooks22 of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Jan 01, 2019

This was intense. I'm not usually an autobiography reader but I was recommended to this book and I'm glad I got to read it. It was eye-opening, sad, hilarious and almost too crazy for me to believe at times. The amount of privilege I've grown up with without even realizing continues to be revealed by reading books like these.I would highly recommend this book.

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Add a Quote

“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, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

Mar 06, 2018

People thought my mom was crazy. Ice rinks and drive-ins and suburbs, these things were izinto zabelungu—the things of white people. So many black people had internalized the logic of apartheid and made it their own. Why teach a black child white things? Neighbors and relatives used to pester my mom. “Why do all this? Why show him the world when he’s never going to leave the ghetto?” “Because,” she would say, “even if he never leaves the ghetto, he will know that the ghetto is not the world. If that is all I accomplish, I’ve done enough.”

Mar 06, 2018

But the more we went to church and the longer I sat in those pews the more I learned about how Christianity works: If you’re Native American and you pray to the wolves, you’re a savage. If you’re African and you pray to your ancestors, you’re a primitive. But when white people pray to a guy who turns water into wine, well, that’s just common sense.

This quote could be titled 'Christianity, assimilate or else!'

Nov 18, 2017

"In the [neighbour]hood, even if you're not a hardcore criminal, crime is in your life in some way or another. There are degrees of it. ... The hood made me realized 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 summer jobs and opportunities for advancement. Crime gets involved in the community. Crime doesn't discriminate." (p. 209)

Feb 21, 2017

The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate is what it was. You separate people into groups and make them hate one another so you can run them all.


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Apr 04, 2019

jackycwyeung thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Mar 06, 2018

katboxjanitor thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Sep 21, 2017

green_turtle_2159 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Apr 04, 2017

wrtrchk thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary
Feb 21, 2017

When Trevor Noah was born in South Africa in 1984, his existence was literally illegal, proof that his black, Xhosa mother and his white, Swiss-German father had violated the Immorality Act of 1927, one of the many laws defining the system known as apartheid. The crime carried a punishment of four to five years in prison, and mixed race children were often seized and placed in state-run orphanages. But Noah’s mother was determined and clever, and she managed to hold onto her son, refusing to flee her home country in order to raise him. But it made his childhood complicated, even after apartheid officially ended in 1994. Racial hierarchies and inequities persisted, and despite receiving a good education, his upbringing was anything but easy. In a series of essays, Born a Crime chronicles Noah’s experience growing up under apartheid and its aftermath.


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