About A Boy

About A Boy

Book - 1998
Average Rating:
5
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'A stunner of a novel. Utterly read-in-one-day, forget-where-you-are-on-the-tube gripping'
MARIE CLAIRE

'How cool was Will Freeman?'

'How cool! At thirty-six, he's as hip as a teenager. He's single, child-free, goes to the right clubs and knows which trainers to wear. He's also found a great way to score with women- attend single parents' groups full of available (and grateful) mothers, all hoping to meet a Nice Guy.

Which is how Will meets Marcus, the oldest twelve-year-old on the planet. Marcus is a bit strange- he listens to Joni Mitchell and Mozart, looks after his mum and has never owned a pair of trainers. But Marcus latches on to Will - and won't let go. Can Will teach Marcus how to grow up cool? And can Marcus help Will just grow up?

'About the awful, hilarious, embarrassing places where children and adults meet, and Hornby has captured it with delightful precision'
IRISH TIMES

'It takes a writer with real talent to make this work, and Hornby has it - in buckets'
LITERARY REVIEW

'A very entertaining and endearing read'
THE TIMES

Publisher: London : Penguin, 1998.
ISBN: 9780241950227
0241950228
Branch Call Number: FIC HOR

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KimmyRose
Dec 12, 2016

This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it; it was so easy to care about Marcus and Will, as well as secondaries such as Fiona, Rachel, and Ellie. The story was about creating (imperfect) family and community, shown from the evolution of a 12-year-old's perspective, and it was about being distinct, crazy-different individuals who all need to first find self-love and self-contentment, and then second, find connection with the right (and imperfect!) people for us.

I was disappointed by the romance element; Rachel seemed less real than all the other players because of her vast importance to Will and yet her short page time.

What really stood out as special in this novel? The friendship between a young-minded middle-aged guy and a old-minded preteen boy and how this relationship impacted each of them. The short chapters, clippy pace, constant (often humourous) happenings, and snappy but real dialogue, as well as the brief, succinct, naturally-occurring insights, all added up to a rewarding read.

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Feb 03, 2016

About a Boy alternates between the perspective of 12 year old Marcus, and thirty-something Will as they begin an unorthodox friendship. Will doesn’t do anything, and just lives off the royalties from a Christmas song his father wrote decades earlier. Marcus doesn’t have any friends, and he doesn’t know how to help his depressed mother after her suicide attempt. The friendship between Will and Marcus seems odd at first, but becomes endearing, but not sappy, as the book goes on. Like other Nick Hornby works, music is a big part of the novel, with the music and life of Kurt Cobain being a driving force in the novel.

s
susanchyn
Aug 30, 2015

I read High Fidelity when it first came out and it forever changed the way I look at London and Londoners.

About a Boy is a chip off the old block, which is good and bad.

Good, in that there are lots quirky, funny-sad-weird characters. Good, in that the great Hornbyesque humor is there. [The Kurt Cobain finale!] Good, because it is packed with music and musicians.

The bad is that it felt derivative. To be sure, there are some dark forces operating in this novel, which is new. And some insights on men and boys. But the plot never really crackles, and the (lite) characters, though funny and very human, lack the gravitas the plot deserves.

KRockstar10 Apr 24, 2013

This book was delightful. Upbeat, funny, and lighthearted--exactly what I needed after slogging my way through two melodramatic Wally Lamb novels. Will is so endearingly clueless and although there were some heavy bits with Marcus's mom, the fact that Marcus always thought of that horrible day as Dead Duck Day made it impossible for things to get too serious. Loved, loved, loved this book and will be adding everything else by Nick Hornby to my to-read list.

m
mommiecat
Jun 19, 2012

funny and sad and vintage hornby. i love him.

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