“How To Be Good…” Not Taking the Next Flight to Aleppo…

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By Tabitha Makumi,
 Ever read a book with a weird and questionable title? I don’t know, maybe something like “Knitting with Dog Hair”, “Eating people is wrong”, or some crazy ish like that… (Wouldn’t you want to know what “Eating people is wrong” is all about though?) Suddenly you feel like the whole world is watching you and thinking “Mmmmh, we are all for reading but c’mon woman!”

“How to be good” is the name of this conflicting book I finished a couple of days ago. I know the title is nothing to write home about because hey, I don’t know about you but “How to be good” is not a dream of mine. Being happy, yes. Being Kind, maybe. But being good? Good in what? The thing is, good is just a broad term that needs to be broken down to avoid misinterpretations.

I mean, I could have done without the dubious looks I got from my dad and siblings after I showed up with this book. “What is she up to now?” I could hear them think. “Relax dad, I am not taking the
next flight to Aleppo to join ISIS or something.”  By the way, have you watched the news lately? Aljazeera, Sky News, CNN, Reuters…wherever you get your daily dose of depressing news. What in the world is happening to Syria, Turkey, South Sudan, Thailand etc… How did we get here and when does it all end?

Moving on..... Past the title which had some people rolling their eyes to the back of their head, there is this fantastic read by Nick Hornby (author of About a Boy). And no, it’s not a self-help book with some “12 Easy Ways to Be a Good Person” (Hahaha)

Alright, enough blabbing. Pure fiction. Easy read. Well written and Damning funny. If you are looking for a book to fill your time when KPLC decides to pull one on you (Because it so happens to be ‘that season’ again), “How to be Good” won’t disappoint.

Pick any “good career”. A doctor, a Human Rights Activist, a dog groomer, a whatever you believe or were told is a good career. You do a lot of good in the society. You pay it forward every now and then. But let’s not try to kid ourselves here, past all this goodness, you are a flawed human. You cheat, lie and everything in between.

But you are a good person...You help out people….why then the nagging guilt reminding you that underneath it all you are just like everyone else?

“How to be Good” delves into that and explores the meaning of being ‘good’. Does being good mean housing street kids in your house and convincing your neighbours to do the same? Is preparing a delish meal for the less fortunate the epitome of being good? The logic is, how can we have it all if there are people who have literally nothing to their name? Why can’t we just share?

Funny characters, funny religions, a little bit of cursing here are there, sanctimonious attitudes and a disappointing ending. I’ll let you have the verdict on this one.