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About a Boy [Paperback]

Nick Hornby
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)

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About A Boy About A Boy 4.1 out of 5 stars (146)
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Book Description

5 May 2005
Will is a rich, child-free and irresponsible Londoner in his thirties who, in his search for available women, invents an imaginary son and starts attending single parent meetings. As a result of one of his liaisons he meets Marcus, a strange 12-year-old boy with problems at school. Gradually, Will and Marcus become friends and, as Will teaches Marcus how to be a cool kid, Marcus helps Will to finally grow up.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Open market ed edition (5 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140285679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140285673
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,147,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nick Hornby was born in 1957, and is the author of six novels, High Fidelity, About a Boy, How To Be Good, A Long Way Down (shortlisted for the Whitbread Award)Slam and Juliet, Naked. He is also the author of Fever Pitch, a book on his life as a devoted supporter of Arsenal Football Club, and has edited the collection of short stories Speaking with the Angel. He has written a book about his favourite songs, 31 Songs, and his reading habits,The Complete Polysyllabic Spree. In 2009 he wrote the screenplay for the film An Education. Nick Hornby lives and works in Highbury, north London.



Product Description

Amazon Review

Will Lightman is a Peter Pan for the 1990s. At 36, the terminally hip North Londoner is unmarried, hyper-concerned with his coolness quotient and blithely living off his father's novelty song royalties. Will sees himself as entirely lacking in hidden depths--and he's proud of it! The only trouble is, his friends are succumbing to responsibilities and children and he's increasingly left out in the cold. How can someone brilliantly equipped for meaningless relationships ensure that he'll continue to meet beautiful Julie Christie-like women and ensure that they'll throw him over before things get too profound? A brief encounter with a single mother sets Will off on his new career, that of "serial nice guy." As far as he's concerned--and remember, concern isn't his strong suit--he's the perfect catch for the young mother on the go. After an interlude of sexual bliss, she'll realise that her child isn't ready for a man in their life and Will can ride off into the Highgate sunset, where more damsels apparently await. The only catch is that the best way to meet these women is at single-parent get-togethers. In one of Nick Hornby's many hilarious (and embarrassing) scenes, Will falls into some serious misrepresentation at SPAT ("Single Parents-- Alone Together"), passing himself off as a bereft single dad: "There was, he thought, an emotional truth here somewhere, and he could see now that his role-playing had a previously unsuspected artistic element to it. He was acting, yes, but in the noblest, most profound sense of the word."

What interferes with Will's career arc, of course, is reality--in the shape of a 12-year-old boy who is in many ways his polar opposite. For Marcus, cool isn't even a possibility, let alone an issue. For starters, he's a victim at his new school. Things at home are pretty awful, too, since his musical-therapist mother seems increasingly in need of therapy herself. All Marcus can do is cobble together information with a mixture of incomprehension, innocence, self-blame and unfettered clear sight. As fans of Fever Pitch and High Fidelity already know, Hornby's insight into laddishness magically combines the serious and the hilarious. About a Boy continues his singular examination of masculine wish-fulfilment and fear. This time, though, the author lets women and children onto the playing field, forcing his feckless hero to leap over an entirely new--and entirely welcome--set of emotional hurdles. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Nick Hornby’s ear for contemporary dialogue is so acute that it’s an added pleasure to hear rather than read his latest novel… Convincing and moving.”
Independent 16/5/98

“Nice dialogue and short episodes are great for audio”
Guardian 2/5/98

--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you liked the film, read it. 2 Sep 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After watching the film of 'About A boy' I decided to give the book a read, after finding the film extremely funny. I was not disapointed. Nick Hornby paints a very realistic image of life as a twelve year old who is 'different'. Marcus's attitude towards life is very interesting, and at times extremely amusing, esspecially his lack of understanding of sarcasm.
Will's character, though not quite as interesting as Marcus, is still readible. His outlook on life is quote original, and you find yourself wondering if he will change before the end of the book (which of course he does).
However, I did find that Marcus's relationship with Ellie, his friend from school seemed slightly unbelievable, and I quite frankly lost interest in their exscursion.
Nick Hornby shows 2 'boys' who both have a completely different outlook on life, who come together in unusual circumstances, and hilarity in-follows.
It's quite a quick read, but good for a lazy afternoon.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable - Buy it! 14 May 2001
By Denise hale VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
First Nick Hornby I've read as I considered him a laddish writer - writing for men - apologizes Nick. Only drawback was knowing that Hugh Grant has film role of Will Freeman therefore I read with Hugh in mind, but as drawback go it was easy to live with! As in all good books you are drawn into these characters - much like Will himself. Had bits which I empathized with and bits which made me laugh out loud and subject my husband too. Cool book with depth (unlike Will).
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed all the way through this book. 4 May 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book in one evening and laughed so often that my upstairs neighbours must have wondered what was going on. The two main characters, Will and Marcus, are individually very funny, because they are both so abnormal for their ages -- Marcus too serious and Will too irresponsible -- and have such a quirky way of observing and thinking about things that most of us never really analyze. But when the two get together, their conversations are just wild! They have such different ideas and thought processes that half the time they're talking past each other and the other half they're learning from each other. And because the author takes you essentially inside their heads, you can observe how each of them changes over the course of the novel.
In my opinion, this is the ultimate feel-good book. It should be prescribed for anyone who is depressed. And I’m definitely going to look for anything else that Nick Hornby has written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff, easy to read 6 July 2004
By "dog-b"
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Nick Hornby was born in 1957. He is he author of four novels to date (Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, About a Boy, How to Be Good). The first three novels have all been filmed.
Nick Hornby lives in Highbury, in north London. Once married, he has an autistic son.
About a Boy, is about two boys actually: Will a 36-year-old bachelor, and Marcus, an eccentric, introverted, bullied 12-year-old with a suicidal mother. After a pleasant relationship with a single mother, Will comes up with the idea of attending a single parents group as a new way to pick up women. Through one of these meetings he gets to know Marcus. Will helps the old-fashioned Marcus to fit into the modern world.
As the story progresses Marcus and Will make many more friends, which also causes complications. In the end Marcus develops and becomes a "normal" kid. Will in the end turns out as an adult, who begins to live a proper life. So both of them have started to act according to their age.
Another main character besides Will and Marcus is Marcus's mother Fiona.
Marcus has almost no friends and he is told how to live, what to eat, and what clothes to wear by his mom. He is very sensitive but in a childish way also quite nave.
Will never had to work thanks to the royalties from his father's Christmas hit. Therefore he has a lot of spare time. Most of it is spent smoking, watching TV, listening to albums, and looking for female companionship, preferably short-term, sex-based relationships.
But both protagonists change in the course of events.
Fiona is a very depressive single mother, who often cries and doesn't care for her son properly. She even attempts suicide one day.
In my opinion, the novel's main issue is about raising children properly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About a Boy by Nick Hornby 10 Mar 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
''About a boy'' by Nick Hornby; Cornelsen, 2002; 254 pages
Nick Hornby was born in 1957 and is the writer of four novels: Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, About a Boy. How to Be Good. The first three novels have all been filmed and About a Boy was released in April 2002. Nick Hornby also works as a pop music critic for The New Yorker.
The story deals with two main characters named Marcus, a twelve-year-old boy, and Will, a thirty-six-year-old man. Marcus lives alone with his depressive mother and in school he is the outsider and trouble magnet. His behaviour is closer to that of an adult than to that of a teenager. Will is a single who does not need to work because his father wrote a famous song. His intention is to get as many women as possible, especially single mothers. So he is more like a teenager than like an adult.
The story is about Marcus and Will who meet each other one day. At first Marcus hates Will and Will thinks Marcus is weird. But after the attempted suicide of Marcus' mother Will wants to help Marcus and they get to know each other better and start to like each other. From now on they are getting friends and Will helps Marcus with all his problems.
In our opinion About a Boy is a good novel because the author describes the life and development of two very different characters who both are becoming adults. While reading the novel one gets the feeling that the situations we find Marcus and Will in are very close to reality.
The structure of the book is very interesting because the chapters alternate between Marcus and Will. Furthermore, there are annotations on every page to look up the vocabulary you do not know.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Funny and ironic - really enjoyed this book.
Published 4 days ago by shan merriman
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST read - especially if you've seen the film
It's not often I find a book that I can read over and over again. I've been a Nick Hornby fan since I read Hi Fidelity back in the '90s and I found About A Boy shortly after and... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Steven Sutherland
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and funny
I enjoyed Hornby's easy-to-read prose style and, at times, laughed out loud as the characters discover themselves, and each other, along the way.
Published 1 month ago by emma smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly enjoyable
I did enjoy this, though it’s not my usual style. A man in his 30s needs to grow up, while a boy of 12 needs to learn to be a child. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars In brilliant condition
100% Highly recommended. Very easy to read, contains lots of humour just like the movie. An absolute joy to read.
Published 3 months ago by amel
4.0 out of 5 stars About A Boy - Nick Hornby
This book was bought for a family member for a school project. I am told it was what was needed other than that I cannot say further.
Published 5 months ago by R. Shaw
1.0 out of 5 stars Havn't got round to reading this yet!
Will write to you later when I've read the book. My Granddaughter is doing it in Literature at the moment. I enjoyed the film.She says it has a completely different ending.
Published 8 months ago by Margaret Rule
4.0 out of 5 stars for son
this was for my son who needed it for his english project, great value for money no where to look if he needs any more for college
Published 8 months ago by katie
5.0 out of 5 stars About a boy
Enjoyed both film and book. A very satisfying humour.

Nothing to add to the other reviews except I liked very much the thought of there always being one more thing... Read more
Published 8 months ago by .
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read.
A touching story about a mature boy's journey to become young again and an immature man's journey to act his age! Not the best ending if I'm honest but a good read nevertheless.
Published 9 months ago by niall
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