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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

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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5/5

Listened in one swoop, tbh I had never heard of this "bloke" and now I have a new personal hero (?)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very much recommended

Articulate, genuine, honest and flowing, this representation of a life was moving and I am very glad indeed that I listened.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding listen, devoured it with haste

Where does How Not to Be a Boy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

A great listen- I liked the fact this memoir had more of an angle to it, like comedy bio meets Caitlin Moran esk commentary on the patriarchy.

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

When he explains his family came up with a code word for the oncoming tide of gender nonsense that his daughter will get taught at school. His daughter asks if going to non-uniform day as spiderman and not a princess if she'll get laughed at and says "Shall I tell just them they’re laughing because of the trick that makes men sad and women get rubbish jobs?’ Out of the mouth of babes aye.

Any additional comments?

Listening to his charming voice for eight hours was no challenge!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely adored this book

I loved Robert Webb before and I love him even more now. This book fills me with hope and optimism for men of the present and future. I would recommend this to everyone.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant work - fantastic narrator

Really easy read - great mix of humour, sadness and analysis of the ducked up world we find ourselves in as men. Highly recommended

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Unexpectedly deep

I love Mitchell and Webb. I've enjoyed seeing Rob on social media talking about feminism. I really didn't expect this book to be as engaging as I found it. He speaks honestly (brutally honestly) about his early life and the things that made him what he is today. It was sometimes hard to listen to, watching the train of his life powering towards the brick wall of his stupid decisions.

But he speaks with good humour and a solid understanding of his failures and how they shaped him. I think this should be standard reading for a lot of men. A great read.

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Fantastic!

I could not rate this book highly enough. Informative, funny, insightful and very entertaining. Also (as you would expect) beautifully narrated.

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He's complicated

Get ready, one-minute tears of laughter, the next just tears. Crafted not written, an extraordinary journey that isn't over yet.

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Bloody excellent

So so glad this book exists. It’s an important addition to the conversation, particularly for women trying to find ways to broach difficult conversations about emotional labour with their partners, friends and families.

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Brilliant, honest and illuminating!

I finally understand the men in my life. It all makes sense now! Thanks Rob!

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  • james slater
  • 05-09-2017

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
  • 04-09-2017

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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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • R. Joseph Estrada
  • 19-04-2018

British to the Max

Not the most likeable guy in the story itself, it’s still an interesting audiobook. The author is filled with his own culture and so his book is equally filled with references to it. I just had to ignore those and try to absorb the overall meaning if passages. He jumps around in time an awful lot but I think I kept up enough to enjoy the journey. It ended very well indeed and I am glad I listened. I might listen again soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark B
  • 29-10-2017

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
  • 04-09-2017

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
  • 30-08-2017

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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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • W. Brian Hall
  • 19-06-2018

Interesting, but not exactly what I expected

As an American, I only really know of Webb from the shows Peep Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look. If you haven't ever seen any of him and his comedy partner David Mitchell, do yourself a favor and run out and do so. But you are probably only interested in this book if you already know who he is.

Apparently in the UK he is known to be a prominent online political activist, and this book is pretty full of his ideological beliefs (atheism, left Labour and ardent feminism) and how that has helped him deal with the problems that he faced growing up. Which is fine for me, I actually enjoy hearing about how and why people think the way they do, especially those who have different opinions than me. But there is no warning at all in the description that you are going to get all that dumped on you, so some might find that off-putting. And, if for example, he was an MRA or a Christian, I think that you would have gotten a bit more a sense that that was coming in the description.

The parts about feminism are not really interesting, especially not if you have done any reading in this area already. If you really want to read about feminist theory, there are better places than this. Webb's philosophy boils down to "If it is bad, that is the patriarchy" (or 'The Trick', as he calls it). Logically it would seem to me that something that is responsible for everything is meaningless, but your mileage may vary. He quotes approvingly from scholars like Cordelia Fine, but doesn't really seem to have done much research or seriously anyone who disagrees with him.

The parts about his life, the struggles to deal with his parents' stormy marriage and divorce, his father's abuse, his mother's death and his learning to be a man and not a boy are by far the best part of the book. Webb reads the material himself and does a very good job.

Overall I enjoyed the book and felt like I learned about Webb's life, which would be the point of an autobiography. So three stars overall

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  • Karalyssa
  • 09-06-2018

Stunningly honest and insightful, also entertaining

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Robert Webb is incredibly open about his life and shares his experiences with humour and eloquence. The two extra bits at the end had me laughing out loud at the delivery of the poetry & the exchanges between the three in the discussion; both are a treat to listen to!
This book will stay on my device & recommendation list for a long time.

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  • Andrew Murray
  • 24-05-2018

Brilliant

Robert Webb has a profound understanding of the individual psychological ramifications of "the patriarchy", and does a brilliant job of utilizing his personal narrative to help his readers gain perspective of this important social issue, interweaved with well-paced humor. Much more than I expected from Jez!

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  • Graham Field
  • 10-05-2018

This is how to tell your story.

If you were considering listening to James Cordens book, do it before you listen to this. James should have done that too. This audiobook is superior on every level.

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  • sarah
  • 02-09-2017

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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  • Miss
  • 30-08-2017

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 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Pussinbigboots
  • 02-09-2017

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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  • Mr Andrew M Winder
  • 02-09-2017

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elliot Pulver
  • 03-09-2017

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

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  • Kay
  • 31-08-2017

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.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Rosie
  • 05-12-2017

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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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • P. J. Bell
  • 24-11-2017

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tamzin
  • 04-09-2017

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 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nicola Gilbert
  • 10-09-2017

Fantastic

A really beautifully written book that had me sobbing at times, but also really funny. I had to turn it off at some parts whilst listening on public transport because I genuinely couldn't stop laughing. It has a strong messages throughout about gender such as how society has forever wrongly told men to "man up" and the adverse impact this can have on both men and women. I cannot recommend this book enough and it is told brilliantly.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful