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'How cool was Will Freeman?' Too 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 'How cool was Will Freeman?' Too 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 to grow up?


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'How cool was Will Freeman?' Too 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 'How cool was Will Freeman?' Too 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 to grow up?

30 review for About a Boy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    3.5 stars Not sure who I'd recommend this to, but I enjoyed it well enough. It's basically a story about a fucked up guy with zero substance, a fucked up 12 year old dork, and his fucked up crazy hippie mother. To me, none of these three were very sympathetic characters. I mean, Marcus was the only one who even slightly deserved any pity. But even for a kid he was gratingly dense. I just wanted to shake the shit out of him for being such a pussy! And, YES! I know how horrible that sentence sounds. U 3.5 stars Not sure who I'd recommend this to, but I enjoyed it well enough. It's basically a story about a fucked up guy with zero substance, a fucked up 12 year old dork, and his fucked up crazy hippie mother. To me, none of these three were very sympathetic characters. I mean, Marcus was the only one who even slightly deserved any pity. But even for a kid he was gratingly dense. I just wanted to shake the shit out of him for being such a pussy! And, YES! I know how horrible that sentence sounds. Ugh. I almost hate myself for even typing it, but that's the way I felt. If there was an award for writing the most annoying pre-pubescent goober ever, then Hornby should get it. Congratulations, Nick! You made me want to slap a 12 year old! And now I'm going to burn in Hell. Thanks. Most of Marcus' problems came from his idiot mother, Fiona. She was so irritatingly harebrained, that she managed to make Will (a morally ambiguous liar) look like an excellent choice for Marcus to run to for advice. You could totally see where Marcus got his pathetic personality from, so I couldn't help but root for him to grow the fuck up and give her the finger. And I guess that's partially what this book was about. Growing up, realizing that your parents don't always know what's best for you, and telling them to stuff it. Although, the Mom in me thinks this is a terrible idea. Kids, if you don't listen to your mother, you'll turn out just like Marcus... Look at him! He's a zombie now! *holds up hands* Alright, alright! Maybe, just maybe, it's a really good idea to take a hard look at the values your parents raised you with, and decide if those are values that you want to live by. You probably won't turn into a zombie if you deviate off of their path and find our own way. But. You should definitely stay away from lunatic girls. Seriously. Nobody needs that kind of self-inflicted drama in their lives. As far as Will goes, he's such a non-person that I can't work up any righteous indignation for the antics he gets up to. He figures out that he can probably get a better quality woman than he's used to if he can hook up with single moms. Because, you know, they're a bit more willing to compromise about certain things. Now, having been a single mom, I should be irate with his character. But, hell, he's probably right. I'm not saying single moms are desperate, but on the whole, your priorities change when it comes to dating. Or, at least, they did for me. I was no longer looking for someone who was the life of the party, I was looking for... Come to think of it, I wasn't actually looking at all. But my husband managed to reel me in anyway. And he did it by pretending he loved children and was wanting to get involved in organizing some sort of Halloween thing for the kids in his neighborhood. ManyManyMany years later I found out that was soooo not the case. He had, in general, avoided children like the plague. I would love to be angry about that little white lie, but he's been a pretty darn good dad, so I can't really hold that shit against him. *eyeballs Hubs* Much. Will, however, did a bit more than pretend he enjoyed the company of children. He invented an imaginary kid of his own and then infiltrated a single parent's group in the hopes of getting a date with a vulnerable attractive mother. Now, over the course of the book, everyone grows and changes a bit. Will matures enough to face up to his insecurities, Marcus grows enough to stop letting his mother's weird beatnik stink permeate his life, and Fiona grows enough to... Well, Fiona is still a fucktard, but at least she isn't crying every five minutes by the end of the book. Thing is, that's sort of how life goes. Not everyone is special, cool, or awesome, and we all have issues that make us unlovable and odd. *shrugs* I guess one of the things we have in common is that we all hope to make a few friends along the way, and maybe even grow a bit before it's all over. Or not.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    I have weird habit of reading books that were made into movies AFTER I've seen the movies. Dopey, right? I don't know why I love to do this. I guess just to see how it all turns out on the other end. Anyway, this review is pretty straight forward: "About a Boy" is awesome. Like the rest of Hornby's work that I've read, it's hilarious in such a BRITISH way (so dry, the laughs usually coming from some poor uptight Brit's bumbling embarrassment). I also admire Hornby for writing consistently about m I have weird habit of reading books that were made into movies AFTER I've seen the movies. Dopey, right? I don't know why I love to do this. I guess just to see how it all turns out on the other end. Anyway, this review is pretty straight forward: "About a Boy" is awesome. Like the rest of Hornby's work that I've read, it's hilarious in such a BRITISH way (so dry, the laughs usually coming from some poor uptight Brit's bumbling embarrassment). I also admire Hornby for writing consistently about men in a very honest and entertaining way. In this case, he also gets into the mind of the eccentric, troubled Marcus, who's twelve and being raised by a depressed hippy mom who sings earnest folk songs "with her eyes closed" (this most spot-on description of Marcus' mother and uncool people generally comes up often in the book and always cracked me up) beautifully. Marcus is that tragically unhip kid who is completely deprived of television and pop culture. We all know him. He gets beaten up and teased, and his accounts of his life at school and at home (the narration tag-teams between Marcus and Will, the immature, lazy hipster that Marcus adopts as his own) are achingly painful. This book is readable and touching. Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Luffy

    About a Boy is a book that I've dreamed about - a meaningful book about human relationships ( as opposed to adventures) that is to the point and not chock full of rambling and embellishing imagery. Sadly, I'm very honest, and I can't rate this 5/5. The reasons why I like this book and why I can't give it a bogus score are the same. I'm very like Marcus. The old me is like the old Marcus from before he changed at the end. The newer me is still like him. But enough of us. The titular reference to About a Boy is a book that I've dreamed about - a meaningful book about human relationships ( as opposed to adventures) that is to the point and not chock full of rambling and embellishing imagery. Sadly, I'm very honest, and I can't rate this 5/5. The reasons why I like this book and why I can't give it a bogus score are the same. I'm very like Marcus. The old me is like the old Marcus from before he changed at the end. The newer me is still like him. But enough of us. The titular reference to Nirvana hit me after the umpteenth mention of the grunge band. It was kind of daft, so many dropping references to Nirvana. But though I can see the point, it felt still gratuitous. The tricky thing that Nick Hornby has gotten into was that, it was difficult to pull off treating the death of a real person, more so when he's such a celebrity. I once based an essay on the death of former manager of Manchester United, Matt Busby. A friend of mine told me it was not conducive to a good piece of homework. He was right. The clear and superbly understandable writing of the author was a conscious decision. It makes me want to read High Fidelity. One distinguishing characteristic of this book is its strong chapters. I feel a lot of thought got put into when to end chapters. The endings are definite, strong, and meaningful. That decision was very apparently resonant around chapters 15 to 18. There are books that have chapter endings such as " she was relieved to find the window unbroken" or " she felt at home here in the doughnut shop". Yeah, I read a quite a few cozy mysteries. But my point is, whenever cliffhangers are propped at the end of chapters in About A Boy, they catch the readers' attention. It was only at the end of chapter 32 that I noticed there were only two cliffhangers in total in the book. I don't know why the movie version's finale centered about a stupid music day at Marcus's school. I was relieved when the book turned out to be different. In any book, there is a character most responsible for the book to end. A book needs to have an end, of course. In Lord Of The Rings, the person most responsible for the ending was Gandalf. Here the candidates for this accolade (is that the right word?) are Marcus, Rachel, and to a lesser extent, Will. They all precipitated events and the breakthrough, which was the emerging of Will and Marcus as healthier members of the society. Marcus allowed Will to get closer to Rachel. In a way Rachel got Marcus together with Will. It's not apparent, but it's there. So there we have it, my honest review and my honest rating. Bye.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maciek

    Like most, I have read this book after seeing the movie adaptation with Hugh Grant years and years ago. The movie turned out to be a rather faithful adaptation of the novel, but featured a completely different ending. The general plot of About a Boy is well known. Will is a 36 year old single man, who lives off royalties from a famous Christmas song that his father wrote. Will doesn't have to worry about money and work, and spends his life largely without responsibilities and commitments. Looking Like most, I have read this book after seeing the movie adaptation with Hugh Grant years and years ago. The movie turned out to be a rather faithful adaptation of the novel, but featured a completely different ending. The general plot of About a Boy is well known. Will is a 36 year old single man, who lives off royalties from a famous Christmas song that his father wrote. Will doesn't have to worry about money and work, and spends his life largely without responsibilities and commitments. Looking for a new way to pick up women willing to go out with him, Will invents an ingenious scheme - he makes up a fictional ex-wife and son which are to be his ticket into a single-parent group, where he hopes to interact with eager single mothers. Despite having to constantly pretend to have a family the plan seems to be working, until Will meets Fiona and her 12 year old son, Marcus - who quickly discovers Will's act. Marcus agrees to not expose Will, if Will will teach him how to be cool like he is - what shoes to wear, what haircut to get, what music to listen to. Like it or not, Will takes the troubled youth under his wing - and in the course of their relationship both will learn much not only about one another, but about life itself. This is a very entertaining and fun book to read, if not particularly memorable. Horbny writes with ease and the novel is full of dry humor and references to the time it was set in (1993). The growing relationship between Marcus and Will is a pleasure to see develop - how Marcus changes from an always serious, socially awkward and culturally oblivious young into a more typical teenager and slowly learns to enjoy life, and how Will slowly stops being the man-child he always was and learns about responsibilities of adults. It is a predictable book, but not unpleasantly so - and although it was probably overshadowed by the film made out of it, it is still worth reading. It'd be a good summer read, without meaning the category as an insult; those interested might consider putting it on their lists for the upcoming holidays.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Samilja

    Brilliant - ok, that's just a bad homage to the Brits but really, this was a funny, sweet book. I'd have given it a 3.5 but with no half-stars at my disposal, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. Anyway - bought it b/c I was looking for High Fidelity at our local used shop but this was the only Hornby on hand. I'm glad since I saw the movie version of H.F. but not this so it was a good surprise. It's a love story of sorts - but not between lovers. Rather, between a mid-thirties man-child (Will Brilliant - ok, that's just a bad homage to the Brits but really, this was a funny, sweet book. I'd have given it a 3.5 but with no half-stars at my disposal, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. Anyway - bought it b/c I was looking for High Fidelity at our local used shop but this was the only Hornby on hand. I'm glad since I saw the movie version of H.F. but not this so it was a good surprise. It's a love story of sorts - but not between lovers. Rather, between a mid-thirties man-child (Will) and a peculiarly wonderful twelve year old (Marcus). It's a book-long question as to just who is the 'boy' in question but ultimately we find maybe both are and again, maybe they're both men as well. The cast of characters also includes Marcus' hippie-dippy, suicidal mom, a handful of Will's female conquests & Marcus' Nirvana-loving fifteen-year-old dream girl (the setting is early 90's London). In combination they tread what could be dreary ground with endearing & funny psychoses, self-righteousness and sincerity. The dialogue is what's best here - you'll hear the English accents and rhythms in your head with every wacky conversation. Great for a laugh. An easy read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lyssrose Farver

    Originally, I picked up a friend's copy of this while watching babysitting, simply as a means of amusing myself while the kid was happily playing with some toys. I'd already seen the movie, and figured the book would probably be something that I could pick up and put down fairly easily. I was wrong. See, I went into this thinking I obviously knew the story and the characters - but what happened was I quickly forgot about the movie version, and became fascinated with the story of Will, the selfish Originally, I picked up a friend's copy of this while watching babysitting, simply as a means of amusing myself while the kid was happily playing with some toys. I'd already seen the movie, and figured the book would probably be something that I could pick up and put down fairly easily. I was wrong. See, I went into this thinking I obviously knew the story and the characters - but what happened was I quickly forgot about the movie version, and became fascinated with the story of Will, the selfish slacker who doesn't really have much of a point, and Marcus, the nerdy little boy who makes Will realize that yes, he does. Once I started reading, I was hooked, and ended up purchasing my own copy, which I quickly devoured in about 4 days.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    Nick Hornby’s writing makes me smile. His dry British wit, his honesty, his quirkiness, his nerdiness. It’s all so damn charming! I cannot file him as junk food reading because he is much too earnest and positive: reading his book has an uplifting effect on me and that if definitely not a guilty pleasure. This is the book that inspired the movie with Hugh Grant, which inspired the TV show with David Walton and Minnie Driver. I will shamelessly admit to liking all 3, but the original work is still Nick Hornby’s writing makes me smile. His dry British wit, his honesty, his quirkiness, his nerdiness. It’s all so damn charming! I cannot file him as junk food reading because he is much too earnest and positive: reading his book has an uplifting effect on me and that if definitely not a guilty pleasure. This is the book that inspired the movie with Hugh Grant, which inspired the TV show with David Walton and Minnie Driver. I will shamelessly admit to liking all 3, but the original work is still the best! I think that the movie and TV show (while it lasted) worked as well as they did because Hornby created wonderful and endearing characters you want keep seeing over and over again. The book takes place in 1993, which is important in terms of musical references (the title is a wink to Nirvana’s “About a girl”, which is only one of the many references to Nirvana peppered throughout the book) and current events that end up influencing the plot, but not crucial to the overall arc of this wonderful little story. Will is a mid-30’s slacker man-child, living off the royalties of a terrible Christmas song written by his father. He had musical aspirations of his own at some point, but he abandoned them in favor of simply enjoying the lifestyle his inheritance could afford him. In his quest for single women, he winds up at a single parents meeting – and can only justify his being there by posing as a single parent himself… This leads to an accidental friendship with Marcus, a hopelessly eccentric (read: lame) 12 year-old, raised by a depressive hippie mother. This friendship will ultimately change Will and Marcus’ lives and help them both grow up. Hornby describes some tough situations in this book, and while his style is light, it never makes fun of or trivializes the issues tackled, such as depression, suicide, single-parenthood. I admire Hornby’s capacity to be honest and sensitive about these topics: he avoids melodrama while being very touching, which is not an easy feat. The narration alternates between Will and Marcus’s POV and they play off each other so well. Will is cynical, selfish and immature. Marcus is naïve, candid and much too literal, but uncannily aware of what is going on around him. Children who are old for their age often can’t relate to other kids in their age groups. Marcus doesn’t want to bother his mother with his problems, as he sees her own issues are taking their toll on her and he doesn’t want to add to her worries. All of Will’s friends are married and have children while he just sits around being “cool”. Both of them are effectively isolated until they meet and find a weird place where they can talk to each other. Their friendship is unconventional but they obviously care about and understand each other the way no one else in their lives does. They have plenty to learn from each other and their evolution is often hilarious as Marcus tries to become a little more hip and as Will attempts to enter into a real relationship with Rachel. I also love Fiona, the wacky hippie mom who infamously sings “with her eyes closed”; Will and Marcus’ opposite perceptions of her never fail to make me giggle. This is a lovely, surprisingly deep little book about friendship, coming of age, love and family. It’s a heartwarming story that will not change your life nor will it reinvent the wheel, but it’s a pleasure to read and I warmly recommend it to everyone.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mayke ☕️

    Beautiful read for the end of the year. Such a thoughtful book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    I can't recall if this was the first Nick Hornby book that I read, or if it was "High Fidelity". It's toss-up. I will say that "About a Boy" is probably one of my favorite Hornby novels. The story is about a spoiled rich man-child (in the movie adaptation, played brilliantly by Hugh Grant) who befriends an awkward high school kid and, in the process, learns how to be a better person and man. Very funny and very moving. I can't recall if this was the first Nick Hornby book that I read, or if it was "High Fidelity". It's toss-up. I will say that "About a Boy" is probably one of my favorite Hornby novels. The story is about a spoiled rich man-child (in the movie adaptation, played brilliantly by Hugh Grant) who befriends an awkward high school kid and, in the process, learns how to be a better person and man. Very funny and very moving.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Clausen

    What a surprising read! I found this book in the Fujisawa library in Japan. My other choices were D.H. Lawrence and other books that boasted intimidating thickness. I suppose I chose this book because I thought it would be a breezy read. It was a breezy read! A breezy, enjoyable read with a surprising amount of depth and charm. I had previously read one other Nick Hornby book: A Long Way Down, which was a morbid look at the lives of several people who try to commit suicide. About a Boy shares so What a surprising read! I found this book in the Fujisawa library in Japan. My other choices were D.H. Lawrence and other books that boasted intimidating thickness. I suppose I chose this book because I thought it would be a breezy read. It was a breezy read! A breezy, enjoyable read with a surprising amount of depth and charm. I had previously read one other Nick Hornby book: A Long Way Down, which was a morbid look at the lives of several people who try to commit suicide. About a Boy shares some of the morbid outlook of that book, but comes up feeling lighter and more entertaining. If I was entirely secure with the word "trash novel" I might call it that--as a compliment of course. Despite its entire lack of pretensions (or perhaps because of it) it turns out to be a minor masterpiece. It doesn't try to be overly deep, and it sort of rejects any sort of glib endings or hints at elaborate and deep structures to the world other than: "We're all messed up someway and we do our best to go on." Despite sharing some of the pessimism of A Long Way Down, the book finds ways to be funny and upbeat. It has the basic elements of great fiction: even despicable characters are likable, they go through important changes by the end of the book, and we are forced to come to terms about how we feel about these changes and whether they are good or bad. So, if you're holding a can of beer or a glass of wine, let's cheer this no-so-trashy trash novel: a light read of great literary quality that also happens to have Hugh Grant's face on the cover.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Helene Jeppesen

    This is an interesting book with a lot of different characters and character development. It was my first book by Nick Hornby but it's definitely not going to be my last :) This is an interesting book with a lot of different characters and character development. It was my first book by Nick Hornby but it's definitely not going to be my last :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    amy ☂︎

    i don’t get it

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bark | Ladies Of Horror Fiction

    This was a terrific book from beginning to end. Equally funny and sad but never dreary despite the very serious overtones of the book. Marcus was a peculiar, wonderful boy with a huge burden on his shoulders and I really enjoyed watching him become a stronger, confident person. Will was also great. I loved the fact that he was a such a self-centered jerk and completely content to remain that way. No guilt, no remorse, no commitments. Until he meets Marcus, that is. Their relationship was laugh o This was a terrific book from beginning to end. Equally funny and sad but never dreary despite the very serious overtones of the book. Marcus was a peculiar, wonderful boy with a huge burden on his shoulders and I really enjoyed watching him become a stronger, confident person. Will was also great. I loved the fact that he was a such a self-centered jerk and completely content to remain that way. No guilt, no remorse, no commitments. Until he meets Marcus, that is. Their relationship was laugh out loud funny and so very believable. I had a very difficult time putting this book down.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Titas (I read in bed)

    Attaboy! This is the story of the most immature adult meeting the most mature child. Who's right? Who's wrong? You decide! First of all Nick Hornby, I bow to thee for your awesomeness! You write like you are actually telling me the story sitting in front of me. As if you have known me for a long time and everything just rolls right out of your tongue! Will is the cool dude, the funky awesome one who doesn't even have to work; money just falls right into his laps. And that leave him with endless a Attaboy! This is the story of the most immature adult meeting the most mature child. Who's right? Who's wrong? You decide! First of all Nick Hornby, I bow to thee for your awesomeness! You write like you are actually telling me the story sitting in front of me. As if you have known me for a long time and everything just rolls right out of your tongue! Will is the cool dude, the funky awesome one who doesn't even have to work; money just falls right into his laps. And that leave him with endless amount of free time to do 'things' ranging from eating ice cream to planning long schemes to bang single mothers (because in his opinion - they are are best) all day! While executing one such plan he meets with Marcus who is always the odd one in his class yet the most mature child in the universe. This book should not even exist. It is too good to be true! I don't even know how to characterize this one. Sometime it is too funny, sometime it's gut punching. A dictionary full of wonderful characters and a saga of self-realization may be one way to put it. Do yourself a favor and read this book at least once in your life (just a humble request from a fellow passenger of life)!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5 Stars. I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first book I read by Nick Hornby, How To Be Good. One similarity between the books though is that all of Hornby's characters seem to be really annoying. But unlike How To Be Good, I actually liked reading this. I wanted to see what would happen with Will & Marcus and I thought their relationship was interesting for lack of a better word. I thought Will & Marcus had two different voices that were easy to distinguish. Will cared about nobody but h 3.5 Stars. I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first book I read by Nick Hornby, How To Be Good. One similarity between the books though is that all of Hornby's characters seem to be really annoying. But unlike How To Be Good, I actually liked reading this. I wanted to see what would happen with Will & Marcus and I thought their relationship was interesting for lack of a better word. I thought Will & Marcus had two different voices that were easy to distinguish. Will cared about nobody but himself and I thought that some of the things he said and did were absolutely repulsive but he was also very self-aware and I thought that was interesting to read. Marcus perfectly embodied a 12 year old who was very mature because of his circumstances but yet also very naive and innocent because he is only a child. The story itself focuses on relationships. Relationships we have with friends, family, strangers, lovers etc and the impact that those relationships have on us. Will ends up realising that maybe being intertwined with people isn't such a bad thing while Marcus learns that relationships come and go. If you don't have a solid relationship with your mother, it doesn't really matter as long as you have other healthy relationships with people who support you. Perhaps it's not a typical happy ending but the sentiments are realistic ones. The only thing that annoyed me about the ending was that in the last chapter, Will describes Marcus as having changed dramatically. I know that some time passed but he transforms from being the odd, quirky kid that made him Marcus to being a typical teenager. I'd have preferred if that chapter wasn't there or we got more from Marcus that explained why he changed so much. Throughout the book it was like Marcus had an inability to understand certain things like pop culture, appropriate things to say and what to wear but then at the end he knows what to say, he knows what to wear and he seems to know more about pop culture. The writing was good enough. The best thing about the writing was definitely the characters Hornby wrote. They were so elaborate and even though the story is quite ordinary, I think everything about the characters were top notch. They were just so three-dimensional and I'm just really impressed with how good they were. I would have liked to have seen a good likeable character but just because I'm curious to see how Hornby would write that character. I would recommend this book & I would read more by Nick Hornby.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kylie🐾

    “Ellie was killing Katrina, and Marcus was killing Fiona, and they would go on killing them for years and years.” I love the movie because it makes you feel all sorts of things happiness, anger, sadness and it really makes you think about how hard others have it. The same goes for the book To narrow down each MAIN character; Fiona - Fiona is Marcus’ mum, she has no partner, she’s manic depressive and possibly manipulative. Marcus - clueless, doesn’t seem to think like others, and is basically looki “Ellie was killing Katrina, and Marcus was killing Fiona, and they would go on killing them for years and years.” I love the movie because it makes you feel all sorts of things happiness, anger, sadness and it really makes you think about how hard others have it. The same goes for the book To narrow down each MAIN character; Fiona - Fiona is Marcus’ mum, she has no partner, she’s manic depressive and possibly manipulative. Marcus - clueless, doesn’t seem to think like others, and is basically looking for a father figure. Will - spoilt rotten lonely man, liar and doesn’t give a damn about others, let alone himself Ellie - misunderstood, hates the world and us a lost cause. The minor and supporting characters are equally interesting and for some (like Marcus’ father and partner) they only showed at the end and what I read about them spoke volumes about what type of people they were, in short: not that great or caring. Out of all the characters I think Will was my favourite. He went from a lying womaniser who didn’t care about others, to actually falling in love, telling the truth and helping Marcus and Fiona out. Ellie and Marcus’ friendship was a highlight for me since they are complete opposites and it was nice to read about their heart to hearts, gradually towards the end they started to understand each other. Fiona was my least favourite character, look I know mental illness is serious and should not be ignored but to do what she did (SPOILER) try to kill her self was some what selfish on her part, she has an only child and she needs to think about him, he should be a distraction and help her in some areas. She continuously embarrassed and manipulated her son, telling him to start and think for himself while contradicting and twisting his and her words to get him to end up doing what she wants. I truly felt bad for Marcus but other times I wanted to shake him and tell him to stand up for himself. The bullies were just fucking assholes, hated them all for giving Marcus a hard time, a hard time at school is the last thing he needed considering his home life. I just wish adults were more understanding of teens and children. The ending was the best part because it seemed as though things were starting to look up and they all became as close to family as anybody else is. I’m just glad Will and Fiona finally saw the errors of their ways and decided to act like adults... for Marcus, Ally, Ellie and themselves. All in all it was a remarkable read and I strongly recommend. I’d definitely read again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nastya

    I can't help it, I just adore his STYLE. The way he writes. The way his characters develop. His humour. The ending is somewhat vague, but that is so not the point, the actual point is in the process itself, in Horny's style, his characters whom he has the power to describe so believably that I can see right through them, can understand everything they're feeling; in funny moments which the book is full of. I just laughed out loud several times during one chapter. I fell in love with the way Horn I can't help it, I just adore his STYLE. The way he writes. The way his characters develop. His humour. The ending is somewhat vague, but that is so not the point, the actual point is in the process itself, in Horny's style, his characters whom he has the power to describe so believably that I can see right through them, can understand everything they're feeling; in funny moments which the book is full of. I just laughed out loud several times during one chapter. I fell in love with the way Hornby describes things. I fell in love with "About Boy" almost at first sight. That is certainly a book to savour.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I'm going to say something that I don't say very often: The film is better than the book (I think I can say that about a total of three books). But don't let that put you off from reading the book. Actually, the film is quite faithful to the book, almost word-for-word. It's just the musical tastes that change (the book is set in 1993, and part of the plot pivots around Kurt Cobain, and the film has less of a musical influence, but refers mainly to rap) and the ending, which, in the film, is a bi I'm going to say something that I don't say very often: The film is better than the book (I think I can say that about a total of three books). But don't let that put you off from reading the book. Actually, the film is quite faithful to the book, almost word-for-word. It's just the musical tastes that change (the book is set in 1993, and part of the plot pivots around Kurt Cobain, and the film has less of a musical influence, but refers mainly to rap) and the ending, which, in the film, is a bit lighter than the book. However, the book is really a gem on its own. It is so rare to find a book that is wonderfully charming, with laugh-out-loud dry British humor, yet speaks to the human realities of suicide, depression, loneliness, and bullying without feeling heavy. I'd recommend High Fidelity to the music-obsessed young man, but About a Boy is for everyone.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sterlingcindysu

    A very easy, breezy book that doesn't have the (to me anyway) expected ending. I know, I'm late to the party on this one (and it explains finding it at a book sale) but I'm guessing the book was better than the movie. This would be a nice summer read that's a little more serious than the usual beach/chic read. Very odd cover though. A very easy, breezy book that doesn't have the (to me anyway) expected ending. I know, I'm late to the party on this one (and it explains finding it at a book sale) but I'm guessing the book was better than the movie. This would be a nice summer read that's a little more serious than the usual beach/chic read. Very odd cover though.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Karen ⊰✿

    What an absolutely delightful book. I watched the movie many years ago and I have to say that Hugh Grant is the perfect Will. Hornby does magnificent character writing, but with quite a lot of humour - there were so many laugh out loud moments! Fabulous audio narration too - highly recommended

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sura ✿

    It's the story of a teenager boy who can't find peace neither at home nor school, then he meet a 36 years old guy and the lives of both change . It's sad how divorce or bad relationship between parents ruins the lives of children , and affect their future and personalities .. and it's awful how an adult men (or even wemen) those choose to live alone away from families and make a relationships just for a short time with no love , no sacrifice , end up with them feeling lonely and have no one to s It's the story of a teenager boy who can't find peace neither at home nor school, then he meet a 36 years old guy and the lives of both change . It's sad how divorce or bad relationship between parents ruins the lives of children , and affect their future and personalities .. and it's awful how an adult men (or even wemen) those choose to live alone away from families and make a relationships just for a short time with no love , no sacrifice , end up with them feeling lonely and have no one to share happy and bad times with .. A nice novel , with nice ideas , loved it “There had been times when he knew, somewhere in him, that he would get used to it, whatever it was, because he had learnt that some hard things became softer after a very little while.” 

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stacey (prettybooks)

    I hadn’t watched the About the Boy movie before reading the book and so I knew nothing about the plot nor the characters. I was therefore very surprised to find that it’s narrated by Marcus as well as Will. I thought this worked perfectly they are both stand-out, likeable characters. I loved Marco’s naivety and his ability to see things in a straightforward, literal way, and I loved Will’s hilarious cynicism. If you’re familiar with Danny Wallace, that’s who he reminded me of. I was rooting for W I hadn’t watched the About the Boy movie before reading the book and so I knew nothing about the plot nor the characters. I was therefore very surprised to find that it’s narrated by Marcus as well as Will. I thought this worked perfectly they are both stand-out, likeable characters. I loved Marco’s naivety and his ability to see things in a straightforward, literal way, and I loved Will’s hilarious cynicism. If you’re familiar with Danny Wallace, that’s who he reminded me of. I was rooting for Will and Marco’s unconventional friendship throughout the book. Why can’t an adult male and a child be friends? Why is everything made out to be so sordid? I also noticed that Hornby’s very good at intermixing humorous moments with extremely serious moments. The novel could be very gloomy: Will’s jobless and without family, Marco’s constantly bullied and he’s mother’s depressed. But Hornby’s fantastic at portraying these situations in a comical way without taking away their importance, whether it’s by using dialogue, events, or references to popular culture. I played out the whole novel in my head as a film and cannot wait to see how the real version differs. About a Boy is a very funny, quick read that’s perfect to snuggle up with around Christmastime. I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Annalisa

    I almost find it sacrilege to claim a movie is better than the book. But I'm taking that stance here. No that the book wasn't good. I enjoyed it. I just think the adaptions they made to update the book (it's set in the era of grunge music) were improvements and the cast well played (especially Marcus). Since I didn't read the book before I saw the movie, I kept picturing his interpretation to the character, even when I would not have interpreted it that way I found his version better. About the I almost find it sacrilege to claim a movie is better than the book. But I'm taking that stance here. No that the book wasn't good. I enjoyed it. I just think the adaptions they made to update the book (it's set in the era of grunge music) were improvements and the cast well played (especially Marcus). Since I didn't read the book before I saw the movie, I kept picturing his interpretation to the character, even when I would not have interpreted it that way I found his version better. About the only thing I liked better in the book was the relationship between Will and Rachel. But enough about the movie. The book is enjoyable. It's a quick read, the characters are strong in all their quirkiness. I enjoyed watching Will grow from a sheltered outcast boy to one understanding the social set up and trendiness of society and his place in it, learning that what his mom says isn't law (but you still don't argue with your parents) and that maybe he shouldn't always strive to please her instead of fit in. His thoughts and realizations are poignant and interesting, as much as being stuck between a shallow non-committal child of a man and his depressed hippie mother.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    Nick Hornby is a master of writing a heartwarming book that isn't heartwarming (I mean that as praise, in case that wasn't clear). His brilliant method is to make the main character as self-centered and unadmirable as possible, then make him do something incredibly good, but rationalize his or her actions to him or herself in self-interested reasons. In this book, an unemployed, consumerist slacker named Will (he doesn't need to work as his father wrote a pathetically embarassing Christmas song, Nick Hornby is a master of writing a heartwarming book that isn't heartwarming (I mean that as praise, in case that wasn't clear). His brilliant method is to make the main character as self-centered and unadmirable as possible, then make him do something incredibly good, but rationalize his or her actions to him or herself in self-interested reasons. In this book, an unemployed, consumerist slacker named Will (he doesn't need to work as his father wrote a pathetically embarassing Christmas song, and Will now lives quite comfortably off the royalties) discovers that dating single mothers is a dream-- the sex is great, the women are generally gorgeous, and they generally end the relationship relatively quickly because of unresolved issues with the ex. Will soon joins a single-parent support group to meet more single mothers. But when one of their children, a bizarre and introverted boy, starts visiting his apartment after school, (sorry, the language can't be helped) he changes both their lives for the better. Albeit for selfish reasons.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Spider the Doof Warrior

    So I liked the movie better than this book. I think the characters in the movie were done better, and that's actually very rare. Though I do think Marcus is autistic as fuck. His character was sweeter in the movie. I liked how the theme wasn't conform and be a normal teenager but just be yourself. Marcus influenced Will because he was a cool, unusual kid. I identified more with movie Marcus than book Marcus. Still, there were some parts of the book that might have worked better in the movie. Also, So I liked the movie better than this book. I think the characters in the movie were done better, and that's actually very rare. Though I do think Marcus is autistic as fuck. His character was sweeter in the movie. I liked how the theme wasn't conform and be a normal teenager but just be yourself. Marcus influenced Will because he was a cool, unusual kid. I identified more with movie Marcus than book Marcus. Still, there were some parts of the book that might have worked better in the movie. Also, Joni Mitchell is awesome except for thinking she has a disease that doesn't actually exist.

  26. 4 out of 5

    bookswithpaulette

    I enjoyed this one on audio, quite funny actually. The books transcribes to the movie very well. Such a funny book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    This is 3.5 stars for me, and it's all because of the ending. I really like this book. I like the alternating third-person perspectives; Hornby did a good job expressing a twelve-year-old boy's thoughts and feelings; I like the way Marcus and Will change over the course of the novel. The book is funny and well-written. Its content is strong and relatively realistic. But the ending. I understand that people have to either change to fit in or become stronger to stand out. I just don't get why Horn This is 3.5 stars for me, and it's all because of the ending. I really like this book. I like the alternating third-person perspectives; Hornby did a good job expressing a twelve-year-old boy's thoughts and feelings; I like the way Marcus and Will change over the course of the novel. The book is funny and well-written. Its content is strong and relatively realistic. But the ending. I understand that people have to either change to fit in or become stronger to stand out. I just don't get why Hornby had Marcus change to fit in and ended the book that way. It bothers me in movies when the dorky girl or guy likes someone who doesn't like her/him back, but then, she/he "becomes hot," and suddenly, the love interest is a love interest. And that's what this felt like to me. An adorable and quirky and unique pre teen becomes like everyone else, and this is a reassurance. Anyway, sorry to rant. That really took away from the book's heart for me. But it was still enjoyable throughout, and I can still recommend it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brittany (brittanymariereads) E.

    This is one of the rare times that I watched the movie and the show before reading the book. I knew going into the basic story but the characters had much more depth in the book. It was a much darker humor than it was portrayed on screen. About a Boy was a quick and easy read, great for a rainy day.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Dietzel

    Right in that area between 3 stars and 4 stars. I enjoyed the dialogue and most of the humor worked for me. On the other side, many of the scenes felt forced and the characters never felt completely real. I'm still interested in reading High Fidelity but it won't be one of the next books I read. Right in that area between 3 stars and 4 stars. I enjoyed the dialogue and most of the humor worked for me. On the other side, many of the scenes felt forced and the characters never felt completely real. I'm still interested in reading High Fidelity but it won't be one of the next books I read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    rebecca

    2.5 stars So I finished About a Boy by Nick Hornby for the second time. The last time was back in the summer of 2012, so I was twelve. I don't know if I understood the book at the time, or what my opinions of it were, so I can't comment on that. However, the book is pretty basic so I'm assuming that I got what the author was on about. I can't help but wonder, however, what my opinions were on certain characters and the ending of the novel? The only thing I can ascertain therefore is that the book 2.5 stars So I finished About a Boy by Nick Hornby for the second time. The last time was back in the summer of 2012, so I was twelve. I don't know if I understood the book at the time, or what my opinions of it were, so I can't comment on that. However, the book is pretty basic so I'm assuming that I got what the author was on about. I can't help but wonder, however, what my opinions were on certain characters and the ending of the novel? The only thing I can ascertain therefore is that the book certainly wasn't that memorable because I seem to have forgotten everything I ever thought about it. I'm going to be studying this book in school, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because I find that studying a book takes all the fun out of it, and there was little fun in About a Boy to begin with. Bad, because I'll be living and breathing this book until the exam in the summer. The book wasn't awful. Not at all. It was vaguely enjoyable, quite funny and the characters and dialogue were engaging. I also liked the premise: a twelve year old and a thirty-six year old mature together whilst learning from each other. This all sounds very positive, doesn't it? So, why am I so disdainful of this book? (God, I bet the suspense is killing you!) Well, I'll leave you guessing no more: the ending was shit. I kid you not, the message was essentially just: the point of life is to fit in and conform to popular culture. Okay, I get that the book was trying to present the reality of life in the least pretentious way possible, but WHAT?? Honestly, that's ridiculous. Marcus didn't even understand what the Nirvana songs were about, and yet he pretends to enjoy them so he can hang out with a girl he likes???? WHAT??? And then at the end he turns his back on the music he enjoyed earlier just because it's not cool??? I understand that the book is about rebellion and Marcus' rebellion is going against his mother, but this seems stupid too because his mother is suicidal and lonely anD MARCUS IS TURNING AGAINST HER??? ??? My other peeve with this book is Marcus' character development. I loved Marcus at the beginning on this book. I really did. He was funny and idealistic and didn't seem to care about his appearance. However the character development in the final chapter seemed so implausible to me. He was suddenly acting "so much older" and saying stuff like " I bloody hate Joni Mitchell". It didn't fit in with his character earlier on in the book. I know, I know, he's growing up and all that, but it seemed too sudden. This is very ramble-y, sorry. To conclude: The ending was just so unsatisfying. It could have been so much better. Agh.

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