How to be Good

  • by Nick Hornby
  • Narrated by Frances Barber
  • 3 hrs and 55 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Katie Carr is a good person. She recycles. She's against racism. She's a good doctor, a good mom, a good wife...well, maybe not that last one, considering she's having an affair and has just requested a divorce via cell phone. But who could blame her? For years her husband's been selfish, sarcastic, and underemployed, writing the "Angriest Man in Holloway" column for their local paper. But now David's changed. He's become a good person, too, really good. He's found a spiritual leader. He has become kind, soft-spoken, and earnest. He's even got a homeless kid set up in the spare room. Katie isn't sure if this is a deeply-felt conversion, a brain tumor, or David's most brilliantly vicious manipulation yet. Because she's finding it more and more difficult to live with David, and with herself.

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What the Critics Say

"Breezy without being shallow, truth seeking (and, egad, spiritual) without being sentimental, Hornby's novel explores the theme of goodness with tremendous fun." (Booklist)
"Barber's stellar performance turns a worthy novel into a must-listen event." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Sad and Serious

Would you be willing to try another book from Nick Hornby? Why or why not?

Yes I've read many of his books and I really love his stories. They are always entertaining - and many have been adapted into movies which goes to show you that he can write a story for the masses where the characters are likeable, the story is interesting balancing some serious trauma with self deprecating humor. The male character is always so terribly lovable and so seriously flawed. This book however is different. It didn't fall in this camp. It centers around a woman who is mother, wife, doctor and totally miserable. Katie has always done the right thing and she is married to the angriest man in Halloway (her husband's true weekly column self) and did i mention that she is miserable. The story is funny at times, but mostly I think it is serious and the end was just sad. It felt hopeless and serious.


What about Frances Barber’s performance did you like?

I liked her impressions of goodnews and Katie. You can hear in her voice how f'in fed up Katie is with her husband, with her life, with her lover, and with goodnews - ahh just with it all. She becomes unglued as her husband lets go of his anger and works at becoming more centered and that feeling of her losing her bearings felt very real. Much of this book felt like witnessing an uncomfortable conversation between friends - you know the kind. You get invited to someone's house and they are actually so fed up with each other that they can't even maintain the illusion of marital civility. Some of the dialogue felt like that.


Any additional comments?

If you want a really good laugh, read Juliet Naked. That by far is one of my all time favorite Nick Hornby books.

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- Mon "12 step program please. I am addicted to Audible! I love trashy sexy books, award winning novels and everything between. Bring it!"

Good, but not Hornby's best

What did you like best about How to be Good? What did you like least?

If you're looking for more Nick Hornby, you'll be right at home here. Clever banter between characters and situations that are just a bit outside of believable while still being charming.


What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

"Really?....Really?" as I mentioned above, just a little too charming and cute to be believable, but not unexpected.


Which scene was your favorite?

Any with the father and goodnews


If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Absolutely.


Any additional comments?

If you've only read About a Boy or High Fidelity, go check out "A Long Way Down" next.

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- Jeff

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-15-2004
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio