How to Be Good for December

December’s TBR challenge requires participants to read a book published prior to 2006.  I had originally planned to read either Mary Stewart’s Madam, Will You Talk? or Mary Higgins Clark’s Moonlight Becomes You, but then a friend at work passed me Nick Hornby’s How to be Good, and I enjoyed it so much I decided to post a review of it for this month’s challenge.

Title: How to Be Good

Author: Nick Hornby

Year published: 2001

How to Be Good for December

Why did you get this book?
A couple of friends at work and I got together to form a book club of sorts, and one of them passed me this book. I lent her Austen’s Emma.

Do you like the cover?
It was unconventional and intriguing. Other than that, I was more interested in the synopsis on the back cover.

Did you enjoy the book?
I had great fun reading this story about a general practitioner, Katie Carr, who thinks she’s a pretty decent ‘good person’ married to a perpetually angry, cynical and negative newspaper columnist trying to put her marriage back together after her brief affair which rocked the family. David had an epiphany when he met faith healer DJ GoodNews, who’s surprisingly successful at healing the pains and sorrows of his ‘patients’.

Next thing she knew, David invited the do-gooder to move in and started devoted devoting himself to healing the world by doing good – giving away the kids’ toys, championing for the neighbours to give a room up for the homeless kids on their street, becoming annoyingly patient, understanding and forgiving.  In the process, the unbearably smug Samaritans disturbed Katie’s peace of mind and made her question not just her sanity, but if it may be time for her to move.

This is a cleverly crafted satire of how a good Samaritan gets on in the modern cynical world, written in the first person using Katie’s perspective. The author, a guy, is astonishingly attuned to the female psyche represented by Katie, and the entire book is just full of his razor sharp wit. Dialogues are biting yet funny.

Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again?
Hornby is new to me although I’m no stranger to one of book-turned-movie, High Fidelity. If I happen upon his other books, I may pick them up.

Are you keeping it or passing it on?
Neither.  I’ve to return this as it’s on loan.

Anything else?
For romance fans who needs a HEA ending, this one may not be the book for you.  The book ends on an ambiguous note.  There is a sense of hope of reconciliation, but it seemed a little tenuous to me. There is a hint of resignation on Katie’s part as well.

His other book, About a Boy, was adapted for a movie starring Hugh Grant.


4 thoughts on “How to Be Good for December

  1. OH, this sounds good. I’m going to add it to my wishlist.

    I enjoy books of this nature occasionally. Though I do prefer an HEA, there are times when I’d rather not have everything wrapped up neat and tidy.

    Great review.

  2. ag says:

    Hey, Jennie,

    I’ve got two of Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Saga on my shelf waiting for the third and 4th one so I can read them in one sitting. I’ve had no luck in tracking The Crystal Caves and The Wicked Day down yet.

    I liked The Moonspinners, and am looking forward to Madam… soon as I finish Eragon. Glad to find another Stewart lover. :0

  3. Oh, I forgot, I wanted to ask if you’d read any Mary Stewart books? She’s my absolute favorite author so I get a little excited when I see people reading her. 🙂 Madam, Will You Talk is a good one. You should still try to get around to it!

  4. I read About a Boy a couple years ago and liked it very much (though it was a good bit different than the movie). He’s big news in New York right now because a broadway musical just opened based on High Fidelity, which I haven’t seen but is getting good reviews.

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