What is Nick Hornby's novel, How to Be Good about?

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clstockdale80 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What does it mean to be good? Nick Hornby explores this question in his novel How to Be Good. The book begins with a doctor named Kate, who is coming to the realization that she just cheated on her husband and doesn't particularly feel bad about it. She has tried to be good in her life, even becoming a doctor, taking care of her kids, but now her life has come to this. She wants a divorce, she wants to continue seeing her new lover, and she struggles with the feelings involved with all of it. Her husband, meanwhile, has met up with a seemingly transient character, Dr. Goodnews, who moved into their home and recruited Kate's husband to help out in all sorts of charitable endeavors. It would seem that the reader should be on the husband's side, although we can't abandon our Kate, who personifies the self-serving feelings we all have. So, what does it mean to be good? Perhaps being true to ourselves and what we want for our lives will be as close as we can get. At least that seems to be Hornby's point.

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How to Be Good

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