Robert Webb – How Not To Be a Boy

I’ve come to the realisation that auto-biographies are perfect for audio format, especially when they’re read by the author, and this one was no exception.

I’ve been a fan of Robert Webb for many years, back to Peep Show and Mitchell and Webb, and I think it’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that someone that makes a living out of making people laugh must have had a good or easy life.

But Webb’s autobiography makes it blatantly clear that isn’t the case. I found much of the early parts of this book heart breaking. We find out that his dad was a domestic abuser, and then although his mum ended up re-married, things weren’t rosy (his step-dad was addicted to gambling) and then his mum passed away. Hearing these chapters read by the author made me cry, they were so raw and honest.

And although Webb didn’t hold back when it came to describing shortcomings and failings in other people, he was also not shy of being honest about times in his life when he’d completely messed up or done things that he wasn’t proud of.

The chapter titles were all around common myths to do with sterotypes of what it means to be a boy/man, and so the chapters do jump around a bit in the timeline of Robert’s life, but I think grouping them in this way made them more impactful.

The audiobook came with a little added extra which was kind of like a podcast episode format, and I kind of wished I hadn’t listened to that bit as I felt a bit like it was contradicting some of the points he’d made earlier in the book and it didn’t feel like it fit into the same message, but I wouldn’t let that detract too much from the book.

I am glad I read this as audio instead of a physical book though, because of the way it jumped around it felt more like a conversation that went off on tangents, which I think would have been harder to handle if I was just reading.

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