Sunday, 7 March 2010

How To Be Good - Nick Hornby

How To Be Good. It sounds like a recipe for life. Quite straight-forward, specific - just follow these basic instructions. No problem? Well, we all know it's not that simple. Nick Hornby's 2001 novel is equal parts satire, humour, observation, insight, and downright hilarity as it depicts philanthropy at its misguided best.

The novel centres around Katie, a doctor (ie already good), married to an angry man named David, and mother to two not-particularly likable kids. David's life is all about being angry. He eked a moderate living from writing a regularly newspaper column complaining about the world, the elderly, children, the unemployed, the employed ... everything. David's anger drives Katie to despair and, eventually, an affair (ie not good); all she wants is for her husband to stop being angry. Then, one day David meets DJ GoodNews, and suddenly he is angry no more. Just like that. And now Katie is not so sure she wants this new, anger-free David who is now going to save the world he used to despise so much.

At times painfully funny, peppered with an eccentric cast of characters, and saying the words we sometimes are dying to utter but know we just can't get away with ourselves.

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