How to Be Good is a novel of ideas....on a subject almost nobody else has written about.
How to Be Good? How to be bloody marvelous, more like.
An excellent example of Nick Hornby at his best. Witty and comic, Hornby also manages to be moving and moral.
This novel is a good, dark, espresso-strength comedy tha nobody else could have written.
Enormously readable and ultimately powerful.
You can't help but get along with Nick Hornby's books.
Hornby is a very funny and very clever writer, and How to be Good is packed with wit and brilliance.
Kate, a doctor, wife and mother, is in the midst of a difficult decision: whether to leave or stay with her bitter, sarcastic husband David (who proudly writes a local newspaper column called "The Angriest Man in Holloway"). The long-term marriage has gone stale, but is it worth uprooting the children and the comfortable lifestyle? Then David meets a faith healer called Dr. Goodnews, and suddenly converts to an idealistic do-gooder: donating the children's computer to an orphanage, giving away the family's Sunday dinner to homeless people and inviting runaways to stay in the guest room (and convincing the neighbors to do likewise). Barber gives an outstanding performance as Kate, humorously conveying her mounting irritation at having her money and belongings donated to strangers, her guilt at not feeling more generous and her hilarious desire for revenge. Barber brilliantly portrays each eccentric character: hippie-ish Goodnews, crusading David, petulant children and, poignantly, the hesitant, halting Barmy Brian, a mentally deficient patient of Kate's who needs looking after. Barber's stellar performance turns a worthy novel into a must-listen event. Simultaneous release with Riverhead hardcover (Forecasts, June 25). (July) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Frances Barber is perfect as the voice of Katie Carr, a North London doctor and mother of two in the midst of a midlife crisis. As the novel begins, Katie's marriage to her bitter and sarcastic husband, David, the author of the syndicated "Angriest Man in Holloway" column, has deteriorated to the point where she has taken a lover and asked for a divorce. Everything changes, however, after faith-healer DJ GoodNews lays his hands on David, and the "Angriest Man in Holloway" is transformed into a "sincere Do-Gooder." David invites DJ to move in, and the two embark on an ambitious campaign to change the world. Although Katie is proud of some of David's accomplishments, she struggles with the change in dynamics in their relationship as well as with some of David's more extreme acts of charity. Entertaining and substantial, Hornby's novel is recommended for all popular fiction collections. Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Another delightful comedy from Hornby (High Fidelity, 1995, etc.), this one about a woman whose plans to divorce her crabby husband are sidetracked by his sudden, if loony, embrace of saintliness. Though the 72-hour metamorphosis is a bit of a stretch, no matter: this hilarious romp entirely justifies the wise reader's agreement to play along. Narrator Katie Carr, a 40-something doctor in England's National Health Service, finds herself disenchanted with her marriage and in the midst of an affair. Husband David, a newspaper columnist known as "the Angriest Man in Holloway," is insufferably cynical and absorbed by his public spleen-spitting. Katie feels forgotten. She confides the affair and suggests a divorce; David instructs her to tell their two children during his three-day absence; she dithers, and when David returns he apologizes for not loving her properly. It seems he has begun receiving "treatments" from DJ GoodNews, whose impeccably beneficent persona persuades David to embrace the love in the world and nourish it as he can. The divorce is called off, and DJ and David begin tackling the problem of homeless children in Holloway by persuading neighbors to take individual kids for a year or so. Soon, a homeless boy named Monkey is eating at the Carr table, and David is giving away his children's prized toys. Thus begins a series of several remarkable schemes rendered with an entertaining mix of humor and delicately suggestive questioning. Hasn't Katie, a doctor who helps the afflicted, always been the good one after all? Just what does it mean to be "good"? Hornby's quick eye and nimble observational style nail everyone's vanity, but they all come in for their moment ofinsight as well. By the close, the engaging Carr family is restored whole, even as it realizes-and as the author reminds us with his characteristic sprightly fatalism-that they still inhabit an empty universe.
"Hornby is a writer who dares to be witty, intelligent and emotionally generous all at once."—The New York Times Book Review"
A darkly funny and thought-provoking ride."—USA Today
"A bitingly clever novel of ideas...[a] profound, worrying, hilarious, sophisticated, compulsive novel."—The Sunday Times (UK)
"Daringly different."—New York Daily News
"How to be good? How to be bloody marvelous more like."—The Mail on Sunday(UK)
"Breezily hilarious and thought-provoking at the same time."—New York Magazine
"Seriousness spiked with humor...a page-turner."—The Washington Times
"A thorny parable...very funny and shrewd."—Salon.com