Twenty years ago Tim Dowling and his wife embarked on a project so foolhardy, the prospect made them shudder. They agreed to get married – with the resigned determination of two people plotting to bury a body in the woods.
Two decades on they are still together, still married and still, well, he hesitates to say happy, if only because it’s one of those absolute terms, like ‘nit-free’, that life has taught him to deploy with caution. But at the time of writing, Tim could confidently admit to being 100 per cent nit-free.
This is the story of how Tim ended up here, along with an examination of what it means to be a husband in the 21st century. Is he a good husband? In a word: no. But Tim is prepared to outline his husbandly failures with jaw-dropping and, perhaps ill-advised, honesty, so the curious reader can pick up some handy hints on how to make a marriage as nit-free as Tim’s.
Reviews of How to Be a Husband
‘You’ll whoosh through this book with cheery hoots of laughter… Dowling’s a very fresh and smart writer… There’s a proper laugh every couple of pages… But as well as being funny, which he has to be, Dowling is sometimes plangent… and he is more often than not wise… there’s pleasure and treasure here’ Sam Leith, Guardian
‘There’s no denying [HOW TO BE A HUSBAND’ss] enormous readability … Dowling’s frequently hilarious Bildungsroman, detailing his evolution from feckless layabout to equally feckless husband and father, offers wisdom, insight and laugh-out-loud one-liners in equal measure … Gloriously entertaining’ Alexander Larman, Observer
‘This isn’t a self-help book … What [Dowling] has done, effectively, is invent an entirely new genre in literature: that of the self-hinder book … A rare delight.’ Spectator
‘Less a self-help than a self-hinder book, the Guardian columnist’s account of how he has coped with the challenges of matrimony (answer: badly) should really be called How Not To Be a Husband.’ Thomas Hodgkinson, Spectator, Books of the Year
’A charming book that claims erroneously, not to be a self-help guide. I’ve read it. My wife has read it. Divorce has been postponed, at least to Boxing Day.’ Sunday Times, Books of the Year
‘A charming book’ Sunday Times