About A Boy Paperback – January 1, 2010
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|Paperback, January 1, 2010||
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- Publisher : Penguin Books Ltd (January 1, 2010)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 024195021X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0241950210
- Item Weight : 5.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.37 x 0.71 x 7.13 inches
Best Sellers Rank:
#21,536,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Where the book loses stars for me is the frequent and in my opinion, useless use of the F word (around 2 dozen times), and nearly every adult in the book comes off as extremely irresponsible in their life choices.
**Possible Spoilers Below**
Are there really that many single mothers with kids in the inner circle of one twelve year old boy? I can see yes, when they were actually at the SPAT group, but not so much in every day life. To me, it didn’t come off as realistic to have every friend of Marcus’s mother be single with kids with hardly any of them re-married and for Will to happen to run into another single mother with a kid at a New Years party.
Ultimately if you can stomach the language and the fact that marriage is viewed as pointless by main characters, you’ll enjoy the relationship between Will and Marcus
The movie, which sent many searching for this book, took liberties, as they often do, but they also cast the characters perfectly. It’s nigh on impossible not to see the actors in my mind as I read, and while that can be a spoiler of sorts, in this case, it was a perfect augmentation. Still, the plot of the movie took a serious left turn about the time that Will meets Rachel. Furthermore, there is a lot of Ellie (Marcus’ crush in the movie) that never made the movie, especially her connection with Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, a theme that runs through the novel. Why something so easy to include in the movie was left out in favor of a fair amount of plot contrivances that were never in the book is a mystery to me.
I’ve been reading a lot of fairly easy fiction lately and it’s a lovely break from both reality and the stack of philosophically deep, but ultimately dry and ponderous books I’ve been bogging down in lately. If you’re looking for a smart and funny novel that can be read in a few days, you might find “About a Boy” as pleasant and entertaining as I did. I may just investigate another of Hornby’s works, and I can think of no better compliment.
clearly I'm now a huge fan of his works, I have already read High Fidelity and now I have just noticed that one of my favorite films "An Education" is also an adaptation of his novel.
so this is not my first experience reading Nick Hornby, and i am a huge fan of the films based on his work (some of which he wrote the screenplays for). In the case of ABOUT A BOY, the first two acts of the book and the film are identical, while the resolution is a bit more of a broad comedic note in the film.
I think what appeals to me most about Hornby's writing is his ability to create comedy through dialogue by making the characters so different from one another that they may as well be speaking different languages. Almost none of the characters ever truly understand what the others mean by their words, though Will comes the closest.
Highly entertaining overall so I am happy to say this book is fantastic. It contains everything I love about Hornby books.
It has characters that the reader cares about, a very real struggles that any reader can relate to, and that strange accomplishment of solving every one of life's problems without actually giving a single answer. Great stuff.
Top reviews from other countries
I really enjoyed this book, Nick Hornby writes with such clarity. I must admit though, that although I felt it was a good read , I actually preferred the film. I think I had certain expectations and although the end of this novel was ok, in my view it wasn't a patch on the ending in the film. That is why I have given it four rather than five stars.
It tells the story of a twelve year old boy who lives with his depressed mother, and how he forms an unlikely friendship with an independently wealthy young man who has little purpose in life other than to enjoy himself, The novel touches on themes of suicide, depression and bullying and the way it is written it is so well observed it really show's the author's skill in being able to write about such topics in a humorous but not flippant way.
In a way I wish I had read the book before I saw the film as I would not have had any expectations and probably would have enjoyed it more (maybe even given it five stars) As it is though, it is a jolly good read, I'm looking forward to reading more of his books, but four stars it is. Thank you.
Another niggle; my son is same age as Marcus, and I found myself a bit unconvinced by the incredible wisdom that he gives the character to say - I know he's an old head on young shoulders but sometimes Marcus just sounded like another adult. Small gripe though. Would recommend for a feel good read.
The novel is a narration following the lives of two explicitly different characters and their unlikely convergence. We learn of Will Freeman, the thirty something epitome of self sufficiency and selfish indulgence. Then, of twelve year old Marcus, who is the human equivalent of a square peg in a round hole. The "square peg" being Marcus and the "round hole" being the world.
The way in which Hornby describes these different lives with such realism and comedy makes this book simply unputdownable. We experience the unlikely yet somehow believable relationship the two characters establish, and I personally just loved the humour and incredulity with which Will Freeman observes this unexpected development.
I enjoyed how the characters altered and changed. The adjustment and amendments in their ideas not to mention the downright flipside up backtofront viewpoint changes that were so very believable and charming, yet not done esoterically or over the pages of a 600 page tome. Hornby proves that if you stick with what is real to people, even to what is obvious you can create rich characters quickly. It makes me wonder if JD Salinger was one of his influences, it would make sense if you have read "Catcher in the Rye"
I did love this book, and in many ways I wish I hadn't watched the film first as it took away from the freshness of some of the more brilliant moments of comedy. I wasn't sure about Hornby after I read "A Long Way Down", but I stand corrected, and am well and truly sold. My biggest disappointment was when the book ended. Highly recommended.