Wednesday, 4 October 2017

How Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb

Review by JJ Marsh

What we thought:

Perhaps because so much of Webb’s upbringing reflected my own references, obsessions and interests – but as a girl – I found this wholly absorbing.

His angle is why masculinity is all messed up and he uses himself as an example. It’s hard to disagree. He does not shirk from all the teenage toss and mature arseholery, giving his younger self both a cringe and a pass.

Going from early childhood to maturity, we experience the world in present tense through the eyes of young Robert. He progresses from princeling, to adolescent, to adult with sharp self-assessment framed by the background he grew up against.

What does it mean to be a man? Who are your role models? What if you fancy boys as well as girls? What if you’re afraid of your father figure?

This makes the book sound soul-searching and miserable when it is precisely the former and not at all the latter. I laughed aloud so many times and noted great lines, while occasionally dabbing my eyes at the more poignant moments.

This is a grown-up analysis of why we should all be feminists under a personally searching light.

It’s an excellent, thought-provoking read from a very funny writer, who punctures his own ego and addresses how he rejects traditional masculine roles while frequently fulfilling them.

Highly recommended.



You’ll enjoy this if you liked: Believe Me by Eddie Izzard, How to be a Girl by Caitlin Moran

Avoid if you don’t like: Memoir, analysis of gender conditioning, good jokes

Ideal accompaniments
: A pint of Carlsberg, a fish finger sandwich and the theme to Star Wars.



Available on Amazon




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