Book Summary: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah Book Cover

Born a Crime is a memoir written by Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, television host, and political commentator. The book chronicles Noah’s life, growing up in South Africa during the apartheid era. The title of the book refers to the fact that Noah’s mother was a mixed-race woman, and at the time, interracial relationships were forbidden by law in South Africa. As a result, Noah was born a crime.

Chapter 1: The Birth of Trevor

The first chapter of the book introduces readers to Trevor Noah’s birth and his mother, Patricia. Noah’s mother was a mixed-race woman who had an affair with a white man, which was against the law at the time. As a result, Noah was born a crime. Despite the risks, Noah’s mother fought for her son’s right to exist, and she raised him in a world that was constantly trying to tear them apart.

Chapter 2: The Art of the Pickpocket

In the second chapter, Noah introduces readers to his grandmother, who raised him after his mother was no longer able to care for him. Noah’s grandmother was a strong, independent woman who taught him the importance of survival. She also taught him how to pick pockets, which would come in handy later in life.

Chapter 3: The Devil and Mama

In the third chapter, Noah recounts a story from his childhood when he was left alone with his mother for the first time. While they were walking home, they were approached by a group of men who demanded that they hand over their money. Noah’s mother refused, and the men attacked them. Noah’s mother fought back, and they were able to escape. This incident left a lasting impression on Noah and taught him the importance of standing up for himself.

Chapter 4: The Day the Cops Came

In the fourth chapter, Noah recounts a story from his childhood when the police came to his house. His mother had been selling bootlegged CDs and DVDs, and the police had come to arrest her. Noah’s grandmother was able to convince the police to let them go, but the incident left Noah with a fear of the police that would last throughout his life.

Chapter 5: The Education of Trevor

In the fifth chapter, Noah discusses his education and how it was impacted by his mixed-race heritage. He attended a predominantly white school, where he was often the only black student in his class. He was bullied by his classmates and teachers, and he struggled to fit in. Despite the challenges, Noah was determined to succeed and worked hard to excel in his studies.

Chapter 6: The World According to Trevor

In the sixth chapter, Noah discusses his career as a comedian and how it has allowed him to share his experiences with the world. He talks about the challenges of being a comedian in South Africa, where race and politics are still sensitive topics. He also discusses the importance of using humor to bridge the gap between people and to bring people together.

See also  Book Summary: Love, Pamela by Pamela Anderson

Chapter 7: The Return of the Prodigal Son

In the seventh chapter, Noah recounts his reunion with his mother after many years apart. He had moved out of his grandmother’s house and was living on his own, but he still missed his mother. They reconnected and were able to rebuild their relationship. Noah learned that his mother had been struggling with drug addiction and had been in and out of rehab. Despite this, Noah was able to forgive her and they were able to reconnect.

Chapter 8: The Power of Forgiveness

In the eighth chapter, Noah discusses the importance of forgiveness and how it has impacted his life. He talks about how forgiving his mother allowed him to let go of the anger and resentment he had been holding onto for years. He also discusses how forgiveness can be a powerful tool for healing and for moving forward.


Born a Crime is a powerful memoir that tells the story of Trevor Noah’s life growing up in South Africa during the apartheid era. The book is both heartbreaking and inspiring, as Noah recounts the challenges he faced as a mixed-race child in a country that was deeply divided by race. Despite the challenges, Noah persevered and was able to use his experiences to become a successful comedian and television host. The book is a reminder of the power of resilience and the importance of using our experiences to make a difference in the world.

Interested in reading the whole book?

Buy the book “Born a Crime” on Amazon

Buy the book on Amazon

Check out my youtube channel to listen to new book summaries everyday.


Please consider donating if my site has helped you