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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

Critic reviews

"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 ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

19 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Honest

So I just finished “how not to be a boy” by Robert Webb which was a goodish book. Funny touching and left you thinking the main character (Robert Webb) was not a great person which is very honest in a novel.

However the pod cast attached to the end of the audible version made me burst out laughing in public place a few times in a row so would recommend the audible version/extended version.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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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

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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 12 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ok...

Not a bad listen. Some genuinely funny and heartfelt anecdotes but it was a little on the boring side.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not Bad

No too bad. I quite like him as an actor on TV.
But I found his biography to be a bit too much centred on his youth
and not enough on his progress to fame.
Also the use of the "F" word got very boring.
I'm not a prude but sometimes its unecessary.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Perfect

Would you consider the audio edition of How Not to Be a Boy to be better than the print version?

Yes, the narration is capturing and the extra are great

What was one of the most memorable moments of How Not to Be a Boy?

What Robert said at his fathers funeral, and how he handled many of the break ups in his life

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

Robert Webb / when he does an impression of Johnson

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes it made me cry whilst at work!

Any additional comments?

Loved it! I want more by the same author

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Tedious

Struggled through too much of this. Boring and pointless. Author comes across as very unlikeable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • james slater
  • 05-09-17

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

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  • Bethanie Jensen
  • 04-09-17

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

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  • Mark B
  • 29-10-17

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

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  • Tobias Middlemarch
  • 04-09-17

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

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Brandon
  • 30-08-17

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.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica
  • 25-09-18

An autobiography through the lens of gender

It isn’t often that men write about gender without sounding pompous, but Robert Webb manages it skillfully. It’s a frank discussion of toxic masculinity, grief and the growing pains of life. I’m impressed by how much Rob reveals of himself, the good, the bad, and the cringe worthy teenage journal entries. I’m so glad I picked this one out for a listen.

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  • mary kyler
  • 06-09-18

Very good listen

Listened the whole way through without stopping. Will suggest to me sons that they read or listen to this book for it’s thoughts on gender definition

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  • SierraLover
  • 13-08-18

Wonderful book

I expected it to be funny, and it was, but it's equally insightful and honest, and as a 40 year old dad myself, it really made me reflect on how I grew up and my role as a man.

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  • S. Baker
  • 09-08-18

Laughed and Cried

There were times when I laughed uncontrollably and times when I remembered the loss of.my own mom and she'd a tear. Brilliantly narrated, a peek into a complex life.

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  • Nick
  • 26-07-18

Brilliant!

I loved this book! I’m a big fan of Peep Show so I was excited to listen to this (Even more so when I found it was narrated by Robert Webb himself) It did not disappoint! Funny, Sad candid and thoughtful. It has it all. I grew up in the in the mentioned, Cleethorpes a small Lincolnshire town and I found his description of Lincolnshire townsfolk hilarious!! Enjoy.