How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb (Book Review)

How Not To Be A Boy

THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLERRULES FOR BEING A MAN

Don’t Cry; Love Sport; Play Rough; Drink Beer; Don’t Talk About Feelings But Robert Webb has been wondering for some time now: are those rules actually any use? To anyone? Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life. Hilarious and heartbreaking, How Not To Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren’t the Luke Skywalker of your life – you’re actually Darth Vader.

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Purchase Here

My Review

A brutally honest autobiography from Robert Webb, one half of the comedy duo Mitchell and Webb.

Robert writes about his early life in the 1970s and his difficulties ‘fitting in’ to a masculine world with all the preconceptions that go with it. Should a young boy yield to the pressure and try to become the stereotypical male or stand up for his right to be different?

I found the use of irony profound and extremely touching as Robert describes his struggle with a father, who believed that it was bad to show emotion. His relationship with his mother, on the other hand, was tender and extremely emotional.

I’m a similar age and found the many references to growing up in the Seventies extremely relatable. The writing style was a little chaotic but I think that was intentional to portray the author’s personality and I found the chapters a little too long. There is no doubt that the words are written from the heart and the dry humour continues throughout the book.

This is not just a celebrity memoir but a raw, emotional yet funny read from a sensitive, deep thinking man.

Thank you to the Publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.

“Quite simply brilliant. I (genuinely) cried. I (genuinely) laughed out loud. It’s profound, touching, personal yet universal … I loved it.”—J.K. Rowling

“A witty, honest coming of age story with a subtext that tackles masculinity and manhood. Webb has a storytelling skill many would kill for” – Ian Rankin


“With enormous poignancy and insight … Webb’s early portrait of himself as a hapless underdog navigating the boulder-strewn path of masculinity is vividly drawn and very funny … Echoes of Adrian Mole”—Guardian

“Frank and compelling…Laugh-out-loud funny…also, in parts, blink-back-tears sad. Why would I blink back tears rather than give full rein the the emotion? Well, Webb can explain.” —Mail on Sunday

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