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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner...
I was told that I would not be able to put down "How To Be Good," and it delivered -- I set aside most of my weekend chores to find out what became of the characters. The premise, although fanciful, was intriguing, because it seeks to answer a question many of us struggle with: how do you know for sure you're a good person? Katie Carr, the novel's protagonist,...
Published on March 17 2003 by Alex Nichols, author of Shadow...

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not very good
This third fictional book by neo-pop author Nick Hornby seems, at first sight, like his previous one. But this time the protagonist is a woman, not a man. But the differences stop there. Katie Carr is entering her forties, and midlife crisis has arrived early for her. She wants to divorce her suddenly-crazy husband, but lacks courage to do so. Her family is falling apart,...
Published on Feb. 9 2004 by J R Zullo


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not very good, Feb. 9 2004
By 
J R Zullo (São Paulo, Brazil) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Be Good (Paperback)
This third fictional book by neo-pop author Nick Hornby seems, at first sight, like his previous one. But this time the protagonist is a woman, not a man. But the differences stop there. Katie Carr is entering her forties, and midlife crisis has arrived early for her. She wants to divorce her suddenly-crazy husband, but lacks courage to do so. Her family is falling apart, strangers come to live in her house, and her medical practice is full of lunatic people. With that many problems, she spends the whole book trying how to be cool.
The problem is, Hornby is repeating himself. In this third book, there's nothing new, unless you count the fact that a woman is the central character - but that woman looks incredibly like the previous male characters. In fact, most of the story is simply boring and, at times, pointless. Katie keeps telling the readers she's a good person, while her actions contradict her every time. OK, "How to be good" could be an ironic work. But if it's so, the irony escaped me.
There's no ending to this book. I think Hornby wanted to pass the notion that life goes on, and that most people don't have immediate answers to their problems, but it didn't work for me. After finishing it, I realised "How to be good" didn't make any difference to me. It's not a bad book, it's not a good book, it's a book to be forgotten.
Grade 5.0/10
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Meandering, unfocused stream of drivel., Dec 3 2003
This review is from: How to Be Good (Paperback)
How Not To Write. Full of plot holes, weak characters, idiotic set-pieces, unresolved themes, unexplained events, cod-philosophy and contradictions. Hornby begins by drawing a picture of North London life, as he has in the past, and as usual, the set-up is perfectly pleasant and even a bit interesting. Then he tries to get to the point, and the story gets in the way. Why he writes from a woman's p.o.v. is inexplicable. Why he writes at all is hard enough to explain. This book does not remotely approach any sort of examination of any moral theme. Nor is it funny to this reader. His techniques are repetitive, inaccurate and stale. His stereotypes merely serve to alienate and patronise. The lack of direction is not arrested by constant plot-reprieve contemplation. The absence of a central idea is not disguised by simply providing another vacuous vignette of a higher degree of stupidity on the same unexamined theme. Bringing back a minor character who subsequently disappears because they are in fact, pointless anyway, only reveals the despair of a worn-out author. Setting up "jokes" with a trowel from 50 feet and signposting them in dayglo somehow makes them less "side-splitting". Manipulating witless and irrelevant sequences to culminate in a one-liner you wrote in your notebook when you were 18 in front of a Woody Allen movie PROBABLY doesn't work every time, I'm guessing. And all this cannot be reprieved by some white-bread nihilistic, and frankly inane, final passage. This is a bad book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read on several levels..., Nov. 28 2003
By 
Sibelius (Palo Alto, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Be Good (Paperback)
...For starters if you were a fan of previous Hornby gems like 'High Fidelity,' and 'About A Boy,' my bet is that you will ultimately find this to be a crap read. The book spends the bulk of its pages locked up in the mind of the protagonist as she internally tussles back and forth on the merits and negatives of ethics, morals, familial strife and approaching mid-life crisis. Some readers may find such internal dialogue to be somewhat captivating, however, less then 50 pages into the book I found myself highly annoyed by the whininess and lack of pro-active action of our protagonist and practically forced myself to read through the remainder of this novel.
With that being said, the book does improve the further you go with the occassional vintage Hornby moments of subtle humour and crafty dialogue but even these few redeeming moments surely do not justify the time required to slog through this book. While Hornby's prowess as a writer is certainly not in question, his experiment in capturing middle-aged fem angst certainly is. Nice, bold experiment on his part though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It inspired me to do something for charity..., Dec 31 2003
This review is from: How to Be Good (Paperback)
... by giving the book away to the nearest charity store. I received this novel as a Christmas present. It was a short read, at least, but a cringingly bad one. At least it is only a few hours from New Year now, so I can say that the extreme displeasure of wading through this pointless novel will soon be relegated to 'last year'. This book was so badly done I wouldn't know where to begin describing it. Let's just summarize by saying novels usually benefit from having a plot, and slightly credible characters (not women protagonists speaking like 40-year-old men... or little boys speaking like 40-year-old men either). I hope someone at the thrift store can find a use for it. Toilet paper, perhaps?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Get the pulping mills ready..., Nov. 14 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: How to Be Good (Paperback)
... because, honestly, this is all that this book deserves. Nick Hornby is one of England's best novelists by far, but it seems that fame has its price. Every other book he has written is engaging, absorbing and masterfully written. This one must have been something he wrote decades ago and left in a drawer somewhere, or he wrote it as a dare to see if anything with his name on would sell. The question of "how to be good," a very interesting premise, is totally wasted by using the most hackneyed and implausible stereotypes, the characters are paper-thin cartoons, and the result both irritates and insults the reader. What a shame - a once great author just threw it all away.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, July 21 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: How to Be Good (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed Hornby's previous books; however, this book was a huge disappointment. As one reviewer mentioned, he has changed his tone in this novel, that wasn't the problem. The book was simply uninteresting, the main character was unappealing, the plot/dilemma is revealed within a few chapters and from there the book doesn't move, the same problem is reviewed over and over, the same character traits are displayed repeatedly with no forward plot movement. I am an avid reader and cannot remember the last time I did not finish a story regardless of how bad it was. This book did me in, I ended up skimming through the last two chapters and wishing I hadn't bothered.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Drivel..., May 28 2004
By 
Ragadot (Mississippi) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Be Good (Paperback)
This book could have been a refreshing move away from the pedestal that Hornby was beginning to find himself upon - the voice of men who don't really want to grow up. He was brave to tackle a new subject area. But he didn't pull it off.
To be short, he can't write a believable female protagonist.
Not only that, he surrounds her with characters, sets up an interesting idea, and then does nothing with it - for page after interminable page. A failing marriage is great material... but Hornby fails to deliver a plot, and after endless meanders the book waddles over a limp finish line. You'll get more entertainment reading all of these reviews.. and it costs less, too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Indulgent, July 4 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: How to Be Good (Paperback)
This was an interesting premise, and in some cases very funny. But it raved on too much. I understand that Hornby was trying to get across some deep ideas, but a good storyteller will do that though the story. There was too much inner monologue here. However, the description of a long marriage was good, if a bit depressing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars By one of world's best authors..., July 13 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: How to Be Good (Paperback)
... yet sadly one of the worst novels I have ever read. Unbelievable (in all the wrong ways), shallow and, untimately, pointless. Read anything else by him instead.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missing that Hornby flair, July 12 2003
By 
stephanie-ann (Huntsville, AL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How To Be Good (Hardcover)
Having been a Hornby fan for quite sometime, I snapped this up when it first came out and was eager to tear into it! The story is, conceptually, very intriguing, and starts off in true Hornby fashion, a delightful read. However, as the plot winds on, the story and the concept fall flat. I had to force myself through to the end, and was left very disappointed.
Of course, I will most certainly read whatever he puts out next. Besides, everyone deserves a good flop now and then. Kudos for the effort, and high hopes that what is to follow far surpasses this one!
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How to Be Good
How to Be Good by Nick Hornby (Paperback - May 2 2002)
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