Tag: Biases

Robert Webb – How Not to be a Boy | Review

Title: How Not to be a Boy

Author: Robert Webb

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 330

Rating: 3.75/5

I was surprised by this one because I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was expecting. I’d heard a lot of really good stuff going into this, but I had a few issues with it. Perhaps that’s not surprising because I’ve always had a strange relationship with him. When I first saw him in Peep Show, I didn’t like him much, but I’ve since come around to have a healthy respect for him, although I prefer David Mitchell.

I think the main thing that hampered my enjoyment here was Webb’s writing style, which is pretty idiosyncratic. Because of that, I think that you’ll either love the way that he writes or it’ll kind of grate on you, which is what happened with me. Still, that was just a minor thing and a matter of personal preference, and not enough for me to recommend against it.

That’s because it is actually a decent little memoir, particularly because of the way that it asks a lot of questions and goes out of its way to confront some of the ways in which our society has inherent biases about the two sexes. I guess you could say it’s pretty woke, and it knows it’s pretty woke, and in many ways that’s the point of it.

So while I didn’t quite enjoy this one as much as I expected to when I was going into it, I still can’t really complain. It was pretty good at doing what it set out to do, and there was also plenty of food for thought too. It’s also pretty dark, at times surprisingly so. Robert Webb has been through a lot and so it’s kind of awesome to see that he came out the other side and was able to turn it into something positive. So there’s that, I guess.

Learn more about How Not to be a Boy.


Barack Obama – Dreams from my Father | Review

Title: Dreams from my Father

Author: Barack Obama

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 446

Rating: 8/10


Barack Obama - Dreams from my Father

Barack Obama – Dreams from my Father


You might have heard of Mr. Obama before – you know, he’s the president of that country that everyone keeps banging on about. This is his first book, written and released before he even got in to politics, and created at the behest of a publishing company after he became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.

In many ways, that seems to make the book somehow pure, as though it’s a preserved distilling of the president’s personality when he was a younger man, and it’s pretty easy to see how his early life is still shaping him, even today. In fact, after reading this, I’ve found that it feels as though I know him, as though I could predict how he’ll react in different situations.

But really, that’s not what this book is about – he may be the president now, but that wasn’t always the case, and his book looks back at his early life and examines his feelings towards the father that was never there, his African roots and what being a black American actually means. It’s a fascinating study of race relations in America in the 1970s and 1980s, and what’s more poignant is the fact that while Obama does indeed look at the differences between black people and white people, he eventually concludes that the colour of our skin doesn’t define us.


Barack Obama

Barack Obama


That’s not to say that he doesn’t face struggles along the way, though – Obama also examines his own biases, and the unintentional way in which we come to judgements all of the time. He himself is guilty of stereotyping, but he tries to correct himself and that in itself is honourable.

Of course, it’s also fascinating to read about his exploits as a kid, and his trips to Kenya and Indonesia, or his work in Chicago trying to make the city a better place before he eventually applied for and was accepted in to Harvard. Turns out that Barack is a pretty good writer, and it shows – it was of a professional quality, with no typos or unnatural sounding sentences. Even the dialogue that he recreates sounds natural and fits perfectly with the character, who are of course real people.

Overall, I’d say that this is well worth a read whether you’re an American or not, and whether or not Obama is still president by the time that you read this. The identity of the author doesn’t really matter – the book speaks for itself, and it has a lot of stuff to say to you, too.


Barack Obama Quote

Barack Obama Quote


Click here to buy Dreams from my Father.


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