How to Be Good

Hornby, Nick

Paperback - 2001
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
How to Be Good
Baker & Taylor
Katie, a liberal, urban mother and doctor from North London, finds her life turned upside down when her husband, David, undergoes an outrageous spiritual transformation, in a hilarious novel about marriage, parenthood, religion, and morality. By the author of High Fidelity and About a Boy. 75,000 first printing.

Blackwell North Amer
'Listen: I'm not a bad person. I'm a doctor. One of the reasons I wanted to become a doctor was because I thought it would be a good - as in Good, rather than exciting or well-paid or glamorous - thing to do...Anyway. I'm a good person, a doctor, and I'm lying in a hotel bed with a man I don't really know very well called Stephen, and I've just asked my husband for a divorce.'
According to her own complex moral calculations, Katie Carr has earned her affair. She's a doctor, after all, and doctors are decent people, and on top of that her husband David is the self-styled Angriest Man in Holloway. When David suddenly becomes good, however - properly, maddeningly, give-away-all-his-money good - Katie's sums no longer add up, and she is forced to ask herself some very hard questions.

& Taylor

Katie, a liberal, urban mother and doctor from North London, finds her life turned upside-down when her husband, David, undergoes an outrageous spiritual transformation.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c2001
ISBN: 1573221937
Branch Call Number: FIC H
Characteristics: 305 p. ; 21 cm.


From Library Staff

A witty, profound novel about marriage, parenthood and middle-age angst.

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Mar 02, 2014
  • CPL_Laura rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

How does one go about being a good person? Nick Hornby hilariously addresses that question when David, a formerly cynical newspaper columnist morphs into an excessively altruistic do-gooder, whose new lifestyle alienates his wife and daughter. Narrated by the wife, who likes to think that since she's a doctor, she's a good person, How to Be Good starts off a bit slow, but really takes off when DJ GoodNews enters the picture. A self-professed healer, GoodNews appears to remove David's back pain, and then convinces him to transform his life. David's children are angry when he tells them to give away some of their toys, and his wife is appalled when he wants to open their home to the homeless. Can a marriage survive such goodness? Or will David totally alienate everyone his life, as DJ Goodnews has already done in his own? How to Be Good is amusing and also addresses serious questions. (Just be patient with the first 50 pages or so, as it doesn’t really hit its stride until DJ GoodNews shows up.) A great book discussion title. Read-Alike: Hornby's American counterpart is Tom Perrotta.

Jan 15, 2014
  • Terre9 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

For me it this book can best be summed up with this quote:
"I just seemed to run out of steam somewhere along the line. I ended up disappointed with my work, and my marriage, and myself, and I turned into someone who didn't know what to hope for." If that speaks to you go ahead and pick up this book.

Dec 17, 2012
  • jdb1983 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Considering the content, a family drama, this book is a surprising page turner. I wound up finishing the final 100 pages, at the expense of other responsibilities, on my day off, just to see how it would end.

Oct 01, 2012

from Oprah magazine suggestion

Jul 16, 2012
  • vwruleschick rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A story about what happens to a 40-something lady in England when she perhaps is having a mid-life crisis, she is wrecking her marriage with an affair, not raising your kids properly, finding religion and all the while trying to be good. Follow her journey through mid-life and see where her decisions take her and how it affects her and her family members and what she learns about them and herself.

Nov 14, 2010
  • cjr2010 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

One of my faves...
Love Nick Hornby. :)

Nov 15, 2009
  • BobLeDrew rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Great novel by one of my favorite writers. A little unrealistic at times, but that engaging Hornby voice is there and there's some thinking in here about deep questions.

Sep 09, 2008

Book club.


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Jan 12, 2014
  • Terre9 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

So there we have it. I get up in the morning determined to do something approximating to the right thing, and with in two hours find something to feel guilty about.


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