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 eighteen personal essays 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.

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Critic Reviews (12)

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  1. Positive: 12 Out of 12
  1. Mixed: 0 Out of 12
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Critical Consensus: Generally favorable.

The Free Press Journal

10 Dec 2017
"Trevor brings his world alive for the reader with wit and honesty... The saddest parts of the book are when Trevor uses his pen most deftly and ensures you still smile, be it his mother getting shot, him being thrown from a minibus..." ...

Red Dirt Report

16 Oct 2017
"What Trevor Noah provides for us is a fresh take on the lives of South Africans while offering lessons of dealing with prejudice, racism and being an outsider to the United States." ...

Huffington Post

28 Sep 2017
"...His writing has that kind of authenticity. It bubbles over with excitement and good humor, and at the same time it’s penetrating in the accuracy of its psychological and social observation." ...

Coastal Illustrated

26 Sep 2017
"It is essential reading not only because it is a personal story of survival, told with acumen and wit, but because it does more to expose apartheid — its legacy, its pettiness, its small-minded stupidity and its harm — than probably any other re ...

Gates Notes

22 May 2017
I’m a longtime fan of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. When Jon Stewart stepped down as host in 2015, I was sad to see him go. I was also worried for his replacement, Trevor Noah, a South African comedian. Stewart’s style is so unusual that I d ...

New York Times

18 Mar 2017
As host of “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah comes across as a wry, startled and sometimes outraged outsider, commenting on the absurdities of American life. During the presidential campaign, the South African-born comic remarked that Donald J. Trump ...

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Random House Publishing Group





Literary Awards:

NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Debut Author (2017)
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Biography / Auto-biography (2017)

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