About a Boy by Nick Hornby
Addition: Hardback, library book
Will is thirty-six, comfortable and child-free. And he’s discovered a brilliant new way of meeting women – through single-parent groups. Marcus is twelve and a little bit nerdish: he’s got the kind of mother who made him listen to Joni Mitchell rather than Nirvana. Perhaps they can help each other out a little bit, and both can start to act their age.
This book is great! It is funny, engaging, and really worth reading. This is the second book by Nick Hornby I have read, and I think if he is a new author to you, you should start with this book.
The story has two central characters: Will, a thirty-something who has never worked a day in his life. All he does is live off his trust-fund and look out for himself. The other character is Marcus. He is twelve and a touch peculiar. He sings in class, without realising he is doing it, and does not dress like his peers, or like what they like. The two meet when Will has a great idea to find new women to date. He decides the way forward is to pursue single mothers. That way, they won’t be able to have a long relationship, and they will do the dumping, so he won’t be seen as the bad guy. Will is dating Susan when she introduces him to Marcus. Susan is a good friend of Fiona, Marcus’ Mum, who suffers from depression. Occasionally Susan will take Marcus for the day, and on this fateful day, when they get back Marcus discovers his Mum has attempted to commit suicide. Will is thrown into the deep end, and from that point on Marcus starts hanging around Will. The two eventually form a funny friendship and bond, which helps them both in their lives.
This book is extremely well written and very entertaining. Hornby develops both Will and Marcus well, and the story is split equally between them. Some chapters are told from Will’s point of view, and others through Marcus’. From this we get a full picture of how the bond forms and the trials they both face. The dramatic irony in the book is great fun, and adds a wonderful and amusing level to the reading.
I think the storyline is incredible. I don’t know how Hornby came up with this idea, but it very well executed and original. I loved the twists and turns and the crazy characters in the story. Having seen the film first I did find myself visualising the actors used, but the film is very well cast and picturing Hugh Grant as Will was perfect. I loved Will, I found him hilarious. He has no morals but seeing him change – albeit slowly – out of his selfish character was very entertaining. I think Marcus definitely sits on the autistic spectrum, but he was very well written.
This is a great read and I highly recommend it.