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How Not to Be a Boy

Written by: Robert Webb
Narrated by: Robert Webb
Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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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

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 Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars

Solid listen from someone funny

I love Peep Show so I thought I'd give this a go...and I'm happy I did.
I do not have a boy, but i reflect on the way that we're raised now and how I was raised. Being in touch with your feelings from a young age will help build a stronger man in the future. Ditch the macho BS and just be human and interact in a manner that makes you feel good and adequate always.

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  • Sgo
  • 2018-09-19

Fun, brilliant, witty commentary

A strikingly relevant perspective on gender roles and conditioning delivered with charm and wit. Highly recommended

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Funny and endearing

Loved this book. Well narrated and written story that made me laugh out loud. Great story telling.

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Great listen

it was very interesting to get that point of growing up, the struggle of keeping emotions in can do. I did love the book. And the Story. However I found it a little confusing jumping around time frames and he spoke just a little to fast. But I highly sugest this read. its been awhile since I've laughed so loud from a book.

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  • james slater
  • 2017-09-05

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark B
  • 2017-10-29

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Bethanie Jensen
  • 2017-09-04

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!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica
  • 2018-09-25

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tobias Middlemarch
  • 2017-09-04

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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  • Brandon
  • 2017-08-30

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 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-04-09

Interesting read

A candid look at his life and his shortcomings and how he tried not to be his father, but found himself repeating the same template in his own relationships far too often. He could talk the talk, but fell so short so often and he is very honest about this.
Enjoyed the read.

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  • Adam Knarr
  • 2019-03-07

great listen

Funny, touching, relatable and delivered in that beautiful voice. Mr. Webb didn't spare himself at all. Kudos

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  • John
  • 2018-12-26

Robert Webb is wonderful.

I have enjoyed Robert Webb's work, but this is his best work yet. His book is at once very personal and still very universal. His narration that extra warmth to his writing and I would recommend this book to anyone.

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  • mary kyler
  • 2018-09-06

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