Eye-Opening Stories in Born a Crime | Spoiler-Free Review

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

5 Star Rating System 5 stars

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Author: Trevor Noah
Published: November 2016
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 288 {hardback}

Review on Goodreads

Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

This was incredible and harrowing all at once. I’m completely taken aback by the things that Trevor Noah experienced in his childhood and amazed at how bloody incredible his mother is. So much respect! The audiobook performance was fantastic, as expected from such a great performer. Not to be missed!

Born a Crime

This book is all about Noah’s childhood and his experience growing and how that shaped him. It isn’t a book about how he became a comedian or focussing on that part of his life at all. And I think this is such an incredible story which I wasn’t expecting (I was expecting it to be incredible, just not the story it was).

Noah does a wonderful job throughout painting a fierce and powerful image of his mother who is an inspiring woman. The book looks about the circumstances of his birth, his father, what it meant being a “coloured” child in apartheid South Africa and what he had to do to fit in.

Why I Loved This

I listened to the audiobook version of this and am so glad I did. Noah does a wonderful job of narrating his own story expressively and using voices to distinguish characters. It both adds to the authenticity of the story and the hilarity of several moments.

On the whole, I found this to be an incredibly open story of Noah’s childhood and all the difficulties he faced. It was shocking to hear about the abuse his mother suffered at the hands of man who fathered Noah’s siblings. But there were also great moments such as Noah and his friends shouting GO HITLER in a Jewish community. That story in particular had me in stitches.

Why You Should Read This

At face value, this is simply an enjoyable read. Even if you have no idea who Noah is I do think this story has a lot to say about what it was like in South Africa during this time. And if you have watched Noah’s comedy then this is a must-read. It’s people like Trevor who I am in awe of—who despite having such a tough childhood and facing many challenges, have never backed down and admitted defeat, instead, he has made something of himself and quite impressively so.


If you’re looking for a good laugh, an informative read on race and a story that will really touch you, this incredible memoir will tick all of those boxes for you. I’d love to see Noah write more about his life focussing more on his life as a comedian but I think the story in this book is such an important context in which to view him. Loved this and I hope many more people pick this up and love it too.

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Happy reading!

~~ Kirstie ~~


One thought on “Eye-Opening Stories in Born a Crime | Spoiler-Free Review

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