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About a Boy Paperback – 5 May 2005


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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: 11.2 x 2 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,443,534 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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Sept. 2003
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 By Denise hale VINE VOICE on 14 May 2001
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 By A Customer on 4 May 2002
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 By Daniel Bangert on 6 July 2004
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 naïve.
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 By A Customer on 10 Mar. 2004
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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