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How Not to Be a Boy Audiobook

How Not to Be a Boy

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Publisher's Summary

Rules for Being a Man:

  • Don't cry
  • Love sport
  • Play rough
  • Drink beer
  • Don't talk about feelings

But Robert Webb has been wondering for some time now: are those rules actually any use? To anyone?

Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life. Hilarious and heartbreaking, How Not to Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren't the Luke Skywalker of your life - you're actually Darth Vader.

©2017 Robert Webb (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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What the Critics Say

"Quite simply brilliant. I (genuinely) cried. I (genuinely) laughed out loud. It's profound, touching, personal yet universal. I loved it." (JK Rowling)
"Takes us deftly from hilarity to heart-stopping hurt.... A truly great read." (Dawn French)
"A witty and honest coming-of-age story." (Ian Rankin)
"If you have ever loved, liked or known a man, please read this book." (Katy Brand)
"A brilliant, brave book." (Matt Lucas)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (2037 )
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Performance
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  •  
    sarah 02/09/2017
    sarah 02/09/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Captivating charming sad redemptive"

    Great performance - really special having the book read by the author as it feels like a book just written for me.

    As a child of 70/80's really lived and loved all the cultural references.
    I had no idea of the books subject but do captivated listened in 2 marathon sessions while gardening....satisfying listen and very tidy garden thanks for enjoyable day.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miss 30/08/2017
    Miss 30/08/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Completely brilliant. Very funny and very poignant"
    Would you consider the audio edition of How Not to Be a Boy to be better than the print version?

    This is brilliantly narrated by Webb himself, and you get SO much from autobiographies narrated by the author. When the author happens to be Robert Webb, you get a gold-standard, addictive audiobook that you'll immediately try to make everyone else on the planet listen to as well. He delivers the funnies to perfection, but his economy on the more emotional and poignant passages is almost unbearably moving. I feel like cheering and clapping.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's completely satisfying if you're a fan of Robert Webb as a comedian, or just like amusing books in general. It's VERY funny throughout and the humour is smart and stylish. But there are passages and observations that are described so movingly by the author, the emotion will pin you to the spot.


    Which character – as performed by Robert Webb – was your favourite?

    The way the author commits all the members of his family to the page is just lovely, flawed and human though they are. But it's the author/narrator himself who you really root for. I have so much respect for the way he's laid himself bare in writing this book, and am hugely impressed by his wit. I was a fan before, but now I'm die-hard.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    YES and then I'd go back to the beginning and start again, in the same sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    It's achingly brilliant, I can't recommend it highly enough!

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr Andrew M Winder Cheshire East 02/09/2017
    Mr Andrew M Winder Cheshire East 02/09/2017 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More, more and more please..."

    What a great listen, very entertaining and funny. Thank you for making me laugh and enlightening me on many of your experiences; great stuff Mr Webb.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kay Hampshire, England 31/08/2017
    Kay Hampshire, England 31/08/2017 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent Autobiography with a twist"

    Robert Webb is hilarious and honest in this book, both in his writing of it, and his reading.

    It's an autobiographical book, with the added twist of being blatant and upfront about the (not so) hidden political agendas. This book is not about trying to say men shouldn't be proud to be men, but it does try to address the stereotypes put on boys as they grow up, which then go on to hinder everyone in general.

    This book is full of both funny insights and incredibly honest pain. It uses Webb's personal accounts and experiences to try and reassure boys and men that it's okay to cry, it's okay to have emotions and to like pink.

    We hear all too often about how stereotypes on women hold them and wider society back and, as a female, I have seen that and know it all too well. It's less talked about how the same happens to men. This books was refreshing in that it came at the subject from a different point of view.

    I will be recommending this book to both men and women. It was a great listen, and it made me think about my life and the world around me. Thank you Robert Webb for writing such a raw, honest and thought-provoking book.

    And I loved the Audible Extras.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pussinbigboots London, UK 02/09/2017
    Pussinbigboots London, UK 02/09/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Emotional roller-coaster and fully relatable."

    I adored Robs story, from his heartbreak to his pure embarrassment.

    Will recommend to everyone who is a true Robert Web fan, actually to anyone who will listen.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elliot Pulver 03/09/2017
    Elliot Pulver 03/09/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thoughtful. Touching. Funny. Beautifully written and performed."

    Before listening to this, Robert Webb was, to me, little more than the man-boy Jeremy Usborne. This book will change your view of the author, society, and yourself.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tamzin 04/09/2017
    Tamzin 04/09/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terribly cyclical and terribly funny"

    A very thoughtful, hilarious and slightly wallowing (in a honest/vulnerable rather than bad way) account of Roberts Webb's mostly teenage/university life. Having recently listened to Trevor Noah's 'born a crime', the bar was set pretty damn high, but this book is also awesome. Webb's account of his upbringing makes you think a lot about sexism, and particularly the negative effects of gender stereotyping on boys (which is often overlooked) it will also probably make you call your parents

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scoll 01/11/2017
    Scoll 01/11/2017 Member Since 2015
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    "Wonderful"

    Really sad to reach the end of this book. Robert Webb writes beautifully. This will make you laugh, cry and think about gender issues in a whole new light. Don't hesitate -- my favourite autobiography on Audible by far.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    beckybee 26/09/2017
    beckybee 26/09/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Should be required reading!"

    Society would be so much healthier if every 16 year old was given a copy of this book to read. I loved it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10/09/2017 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    5
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    "Listen to this book now"

    Deconstructs gender norms in a funny, eloquent and personal yet universal way. Read it now.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • james slater
    05/09/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant read. Well worth the credit."

    Alternating between furiously funny and fascinatingly introspective, this book had me laughing out loud and blinking back tears.
    Bought and finished in one day and left me wanting more.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Bethanie Jensen
    Atlanta, GA
    04/09/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Oh god. SOOOOO good!"

    It's been a long time since I read a book that was entertaining, enlightening, poignant, and a million other complementary adjectives. I am laughing and welling up in equal measure. I have to say, it is very brave of him to include so much personal info from his teenage years. You have to get this book. You will NOT regret it!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Mark Bliss
    Denver, Colorado
    29/10/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Smart. Funny. Brilliant. Honest. Groundbreaking."

    I didn’t know who Robert Webb was. I’m from across the pond, so have not had the pleasure of watching his brand of comedy. The title and description intrigued me, so I pre-ordered the audio book impulsively.

    Best decision I could have made. The book is part memoir, part slice of British culture, part research paper.

    I loved this audiobook. I’m still thinking about it. This man is someone I want to learn more about. I’m a fan.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tobias Middlemarch
    St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
    04/09/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thank You Robert."

    I love your story very much, and it helps to hear from someone who's undergone trauma similar to mine. Thanks for sharing it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Brandon
    30/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Some Girls Wander By Mistake"

    Agree or disagree with his positions as laid out in the book, what is provided is an interesting look inside Robert Webb's head. One's experiences and life help provide an excellent insight into their views and, if you ever wondered what drove the man, Robert gives you a road map to his. That is a core strength to the book if you want to understand him better.

    The weakness of this book is that it gets lost somewhere along the way. You will be moving along this memoir and then the soapbox comes out of nowhere. It's his book and it is his right to wedge it in out of nowhere, but it comes off as forced and ruins the flow. The last few chapters are a perfect example of this. Great memoir segment and then BAMMM "Hello, I am Robert Webb and let me explain again to you that I am a feminist ally." No problem with him saying it, just a matter of flow.

    The again, you have to take all of this with a grain of salt. It comes from the point of view of a person who can play the bass line to "A Forest" by The Cure.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Cathryn B.
    06/12/17
    Overall
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    "Absolutely Brilliant"

    Laugh, cry, laugh, re-examine your understanding of gender, then laugh again. It is truly refreshing and an honor to be given such an honest look into the heart and mind of someone. Absolutely brilliant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Karen Marie
    02/12/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "interesting discussion throughout"

    left me thinking that Robert Webb understands that we're people first, that we all have equal responsibility for ourselves, our relationships, and our communities, but at the last minute he lets it slip when he asks Abigail whether she hadn't said at some point that when she was very young she felt like she wasn't a girl, and trans jokes followed. Our sexual identities are irrelevant to whether we all, regardless of gender, have equal responsibility to each other as people. As he acknowledges throughout, given the structure of our culture presently, it's a journey for each of us to challenge and change our thinking and the way we behave and the way we raise our children so that they can become fuller human beings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sam
    Atlanta, GA
    01/12/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazingly deep, nuanced, reflective."
    What made the experience of listening to How Not to Be a Boy the most enjoyable?

    Peep Show is my favorite show of all-time yet I'm completely blown away by how insightful Robert Webb is in this book. His reading is hilarious and touching, and he shares details and feelings in ways that similar audiobooks don't touch. I've listened to it twice, moved to tears at parts both times. I cannot recommend this highly enough, especially if you've listened to David Mitchell's.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • carneyofsteel
    Studio City, CA
    29/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the Best Books I’ve Ever Read"

    This is one of the best books I’ve ever read/listened to. It’s moving, funny, painful and enlightening book (though those words really don’t seem to do the book justice) from which I’ve scribbled down many, many, many passages to keep on hand. While it supported and crystallized beautiful many of the thoughts and perspectives I share, I was taken aback and moved to tears by how Mr. Webb, by sharing his own experiences, guided me towards areas I didn’t know I’d been avoiding. This book, more than any other I’ve read, truly feels like LIFE.

    Bravo.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Melissa
    Waxhaw, North Carolina, United States
    19/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant"

    Absolutely brilliant book about Robert Webb's life, toddler to 'Peep Show,' and his journey through having an abusive childhood with an alcoholic father, not fitting in with other boys and feeling different, struggling with his mother's death when he was just a teen, and how this continued to affect him. All with the theme of the impact the patriarchy was having on him personally as a boy/man in addition to his views on and treatment of girls/women.
    Webb seems like a seasoned and talented non-fiction writer. The book is extremely insightful, interesting, intelligent and beautifully written.
    I'm glad I got the audiobook over the print - Webb's narration adds a personal touch and emotion to the stories and reflections that are really worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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