How Not To Be a Boy

Robert Webb / Memoir / Non-Fiction

Book cover

UK Publisher

Canongate Books

Date Published

August 29th, 2017


Host (Czech)

Dramatic Rights



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.


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, full of heart.

- Dawn French

A witty, honest coming-of-age story with a subtext that tackles masculinity and manhood. Webb has a storytelling skill many would kill for.

- Ian Rankin

A much-needed contribution to the vital conversation about the damage gender can do.

- Juno Dawson

Frank and compelling . . . Laugh-out-loud funny . . . also, in parts, blink-back-tears sad. Why would I blink back tears rather than give full rein to the emotion? Well, Webb can explain.

- Mail on Sunday

Written with wit and clarity, How Not To Be a Boy is a funny, rueful, truthful book. I enjoyed every page.

- Stephen Fry

A brilliant telling of a sad story, it is also a manifesto for a change in attitudes . . . I laughed innumerable times and cried twice . . . You should give a copy to any young male you care about.

- S Magazine, Sunday Express

Funny, poignant, revealing.

- Daily Telegraph

Simply brilliant.

- Joanna Lumley

A brilliant, brave book.

- Matt Lucas

If you have ever loved, liked or known a man, please read this book.

- Katy Brand

Very funny and wise on the perils of masculinity.

- Matt Haig

An amazing book: How Not To Be a Boy is brave, assured, immensely clever, funny and unsparing.

- Marina Hyde

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