How to be Good (Penguin Celebrations)

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9780141034959: How to be Good (Penguin Celebrations)

According to her own complex moral calculations, Katie Carr has earned her affair. She's a doctor, after all, and doctors are decent people, and on top of that, her husband David is the self-styled Angriest Man in Holloway. But when David suddenly becomes good - properly, maddeningly, give-away-all-his-money good - Katie's sums no longer add up, and she is forced to ask herself some very hard questions. Nick Hornby's brilliant new novel, a No. 1 bestseller in the UK and Ireland, offers a painfully funny account of modern marriage and parenthood, and asks that most difficult of questions: what does it mean to be good?

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Review:

In Nick Hornby's How To Be Good, Katie Carr is certainly trying to be. That's why she became a GP. That's why she cares about Third World debt and homelessness, and struggles to raise her children with a conscience. It's also why she puts up with her husband David, self-styled "Angriest Man in Holloway". But one fateful day, she finds herself in a Leeds car-park, having just slept with another man. What she doesn't yet realise is that her Fall from Grace is just the first step on a spiritual journey more torturous than the M25 at rush-hour. Because, prompted by his wife's actions, David is about to stop being Angry. He's about to become Good--not Guardian-reading, organic-food-eating good, but Good in the fashion of the Gospels. And that's no easier in modern-day Holloway than it was in ancient Israel.

Mr Hornby fires his central theme at us from the title page: how can we be good, and what does that mean? But, quite apart from demanding that his readers scrub their souls with the nearest available Brillo pad, he also mesmerises us with that cocktail of wit and compassion which has become his trademark. The result is a multi-faceted jewel of a book: a hilarious romp, a painstaking dissection of middle-class mores, and a powerfully sympathetic portrait of a marriage in its death throes. It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry as we watch David forcing his kids to give away their computers, drawing up schemes for the mass redistribution of wealth and inviting his wife's most desolate patients round for a Sunday roast. But that's because How To Be Good manages to be both brutally truthful and full of hope. It won't outsell the Bible, but it's a lot funnier. --Matthew Baylis

Book Description:

'A profound, worrying, hilarious, sophisticated, compulsive novel' John Carey, Sunday Times

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Published by Penguin Books Ltd (2007)
ISBN 10: 0141034955 ISBN 13: 9780141034959
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ISBN 10: 0141034955 ISBN 13: 9780141034959
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