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About a Boy Paperback – Unabridged, May 1, 1999
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"A follow up to High Fidelity...About a Boy is an acerbic, emotionally richer yet no less funny tale...shrewdly hilarious."—Entertainment Weekly
"Hornby is a writer who dares to be witty, intelligent and emotionally generous all at once. He combines a skilled, intuitive appreciation for the rigors of comic structure with highly original insights about the way the enchantments of popular culture insinuate themselves into middle-class notions of romance."—The New York Times Book Review
"The conversations between Will and Marcus are hilariously loopy."—The Boston Globe
"An amusing male-bonding theme...stylish, well-observed"—People
"Writing with real 'soul.'"—Harper's Bazaar
"An utterly charming, picaresque tale of an older guy, a young kid, and the funky, dysfunctional real-life ties that bind—and unbind."—Vogue
About the Author
Nick Hornby is the author of seven internationally bestselling novels (Funny Girl, High Fidelity, About a Boy, How to be Good, A Long Way Down, Slam and Juliet, Naked) and several works of non-fiction including Fever Pitch, Songbook and Ten Years In The Tub. He has written screenplay adaptions of Lynn Barber’s An Education, nominated for an Academy Award, Cheryl Strayed's Wild and Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn. He lives in London.
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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.
Moving to a new area and changing schools can be challenging for any kid but for this boy it was a disaster. He was bullied every day
and part of the reason was his mother. Kids ridiculed him for the way he dressed. (His mother's fault). Marcus had problems at school
and had to deal with a suicidal mother at home. His father had remarried and had nothing to do with Marcus.
Another interesting character was Will, a 35 year old single guy perfectly happy living on his inheritance. No need to work and no interest
Due to Marcus's persistence they form a bond and Will helps Marcus.
Then there's Ellie. She's tough and even the bullies are afraid of her. She protects Marcus.
Ellie also has her issues.
This is not so much a "what's going to happen next?" book but a really good character study.