Phil: I’ll be honest that when you see, “I loved this book” Julie Burchill, Mail on Sunday, in the front of a book, it’s probably not for me. On the other hand, it pretty much sums this book up.
“How to be Good” is a million copy (presumably copies sold, although the odd phrasing makes me wonder) book by Nick Hornby. The plot revolves around London GP Katie Carr who starts the story by telling he husband she wants a divorce. After this, he has an epiphany and transforms from a pain in the backside to over-good. Which annoys Katie.
Well, that’s what the back of the book says. I’ll be honest that I got bored and gave up two chapters in.
This is unusual for me. I can normally stick it out but this time, no.
For a start, I didn’t like or care about any of the characters. Kate is annoyingly smug. Her husband is a wa****r. If they’d died in a head on collision with a rotary snow plough it would have been both a great relief and an excellent opening for an episode of Casualty.
Worse, they exist in that special part of London where media types live in a bubble. Everyone earns loads, lives in nice houses, find as much time as they need to hold down a job yet lunch with a wide variety of cliché friends. The job doesn’t have to be the sort of thing that in the real world pays enough to exist in this special world either. Thus, hubby can knock out a weekly opinion column for the local paper and none of the children are sent out to clean chimneys to keep the family afloat.
The beauty of setting your story in the London bubble is it will garner plenty of good reviews from critics like Birchill (OK, she live in Brighton but that’s London-on-Sea) who exist in the same world. I bet the café bars of Hoxton were full of people reading this on their iKindles. I just hope the pubs of Solihull are as kind when our book appears.
In case you are thinking I should have given the book a bit more of a chance by the way, I did. I read the last 6 pages before abandoning it. With some books you do this and think, I want to know how we got here.”. Not this time.