Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Rate: 5/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (Spoilers Abound)

Many of my friends and my mother-in-law have all given rave reviews for Born a Crime since it was first published. I’ve only now finally read it, and can’t help but kick myself for not picking it up sooner. Prior to reading Born a Crime, I had only watched one brief clip of Noah on The Daily Show when he interviewed ‘That Woman from Michigan.’ Reading his book though has made me an immediate fan, whereupon I plan to now start regularly watching his show. I also might have a voice crush on Noah but don’t tell Scott Brick.

What set Noah’s book apart from other celebrity autobiographies was that he had focused completely on his childhood and time period as a young adult. He only briefly mentioned his rise to fame, and when he did it was only as a reference to place the story he was about to tell.  Noah’s stories gave us a glimpse of what life was like growing up during and immediately after the apartheid in South Africa, which ended in the early 1990s. Specifically, Noah highlighted how his own birth was a crime, due to having a white father and how his mother navigated these treacherous waters that could have resulted with her in jail and Noah in an orphanage. Patricia, his mother, sounds like an inspirational, driven woman who also has a well established stubborn streak that was the focal point of many stories highlighted by Noah.

Born a Crime was unlike any other celebrity book I’ve ever read, and due to being focused on his youth, we aren’t granted access to how these experiences have shaped his adulthood and career. That being said, had Noah chosen to go down the path of his success, I don’t think this book would have had the same feel. I couldn’t help but wonder at Noah’s various stories that didn’t make the cut for this book.

Born a Crime triggered a wide range of emotions for me, from laughing to outrage and tears to amusement. It was foretold early in the novel that Noah’s step dad eventually will shoot his mother. With this terrifying event looming over the rest of Born a Crime, the suspense builds until the last chapter where long-dreaded event actually unfold. 

Overall, Born a Crime has made me an instant fan of Noah and will be one of my go-to recommendations for nonfiction for the foreseeable future. Now please pardon me as I spend the rest of the morning looking up Noah and his family to fill in the gaps regarding where they are now and what they are doing in the world today.  


  1. As a person who also does not watch The Daily Show, I always forget that Trevor Noah is South African. I admit (white privilege coming up…) that I had never even really considered that he was a *Black* South African and therefore lived through apartheid. Sounds like a great read. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

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