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4.2 out of 5 stars188
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 2 September 2003
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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VINE VOICEon 14 May 2001
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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on 10 March 2004
''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. But in some parts of the book we got the impression that the chapters are too long and a little bit boring because there were no dialogues, but just thoughts and feelings described.
We would recommend the book because of the description of important every-day-problems we could learn something for real life. Moreover, this book is interesting to read at the age of twelve, but also at the age of fifty.
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on 4 March 2004
The book „About a Boy“ is written by Nick Hornby, is published by Cornelsen in 1999 and contains 256 pages.
Nick Hornby was born in 1957 and is the author of 4 novels up to today.
About a Boy is his third novel, which has been filmed in April 2002 with Hugh Grant starring as one of the main characters, Will.
Will is a thirty-six-old man, who lives without working and without a woman.
So once he adopts a fictional two-year-old boy, to go to a meeting of Single-Parents-Alone-Together(S.P.A.T.) to meet single mothers.
Due to he gets to know Marcus, a twelve-year-old boy, who lives alone with his mother, Fiona.
They become friends, so Will helps Marcus with his problems at school and tries to find a solution for his mother’s problems.
I think to describe the main characters this way is very lovable and I also think that it is hard to find humour in some situations, but Hornby manages it in his book excellently.
I’ll say the book is okay, but some pages are boring to read because some situations are drawn to long.
But otherwise it is easy to understand and not too difficult to read.
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on 4 May 2002
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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on 11 June 2003
I found this delicate little book a delight from the first page. The characters are well drawn and suitably diverse to maintain a fascination in how they will resolve their own challenges. The point that Nick Hornby makes is how the relationships and connections that Marcus makes draw people from disparate backgrounds into a common fold. There is no smug and easy resolution to the driving issue at the heart of the book and this gives the story its beat of realism. Nick Hornby has addressed bullying and the problems of kids not fitting in with the sheep mentality of teenagers and he has reflected this onto the character of Will for comparison. It is a clever and subtle contrast and reviewers who have slated the books simplicity have singularly misunderstood the craft and skill that Hornby uses. A great book is written efficiently. That does not mean the language has to be simple but it has to be perfect for the story being told. I'm a London boy and I've dealt with suicide and this novel hits the right notes for me.
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on 12 June 2007
The novel "About a Boy", written by Nick Hornby is about the special relationship between Marcus, a 12-years-old boy an Will, a 36-years-old adult. They are completely different but they help each other in their problematic situation of life. Marcus doesn't want to be alone with his mother, because he has no frieds an he has a depressed mother. Will thinks that he has to live alone, he doesnßt want to have a family or friends. At the end, they are happy because Marcus shows Will that it isn't better if he is alone. So, Marcus become friends an Will become a new girlfriend.

It's a gripping, modern and realistic story about am everyday situation for a lot of people in the world. It shows you, that no man "is an isle".

I think that it's interesting and written in a funny way but if you are a naive person, you shouldn't buy it because you need a little bit of imagination...
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Nick Hornby is perhaps the premier writer of lad-lit, the male counterpart of chick-lit. And "About A Boy" is one of his best novels, with its sensitive looks not only at male fears, but at how they relate to women and children. It's a far smarter, wittier book than you'd think.

Will is a single thirtysomething, self-absorbed and consumed with his own coolness, unattachedness and ability to live off his dad's song royalties. After dating single mom Angie, he realizes how to instantly give his sex life and image a boost: date single mothers, beautiful and desperate. So he invents a nasty ex-wife and a toddler son, and begins going to SPAT (Single Parents, Alone Together).

But when he meets attractive Suzie, he also meets the boy she's babysitting -- Marcus, a troubled, intelligent preteen who is picked on at school. Marcus's home life isn't much better -- his depressed mother has just attempted suicide. Despite Will's commitment to noncommitment, he finds himself slipping into the role of father and friend for Marcus.

Single moms, precocious kids, immature lads -- none of these things are terribly original. It's Hornby's way of handling them that is really original. And the way he wrote "About A Boy" gives unusual life to what could have been a TV-movie-of-the-week/lame-sitcom plot, with cliched characters.

Instead, Hornby has created a surprisingly mature book, by showing a realistic portrayal of an immature man growing up whether he likes it or not. But Hornby's quietly insightful prose is a little less self-consciously cool than in "High Fidelity," and it's also more focused on human experiences. And no, not just Will picking up single mums.

Will is a pretty accurate portrayal of men who work hard at being immature -- believe me, he's accurate. And that makes it even more satisfying to see him graduating into adulthood. Marcus's chapters are deeper, however, and it's this pensive kid who grounds the book. He may be young, but thanks to his saddening life, his mind is a lot more mature than Will's.

Postmodern Peter Pans and precocious preteens are at the heart of "About A Boy," Nick Hornby's sensitive look at the sexes and their children.
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on 7 December 1999
All Hornby's books are centred upon male dysfunction but this includes a bit of female dysfunction too, which is a bit daring, but the book's all the better for it. A book for and about the chattering classes and for those males that have reached adulthood without the required level of guilt, this can serve as an admirable guide to faking feelings you've never had; which are now de rigueur. Most men can only dream of being as shallow and unfeeling as our hero Will but may share a trait or two with him. Its really funny to find out what exactly is wrong about men and how they need to change. Ignoring all the woman as victim and man as insensitive beast stuff, it really is a satisfying and entertaining read. I'm afraid Arsenal do get a mention but you'd expect that wouldn't you. Buy it for guaranteed thought provoking hilarity; I just loved it.
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on 24 May 1999
I've read all Hornby's books and this is the best. Even my husband who's not much of a reader read it from cover to cover and loved it At times you wonder who's the kid and who's the grown-up. Hornby has a wonderful way of looking at life - his characters admit to feelings no self-respecting adult should - the hero who invents a child and ex-partner in order to go to a single parents group and pick up women is a fine example, the boy who wants his mum to find a new boyfriend so that if she dies he won't be alone. These are very raw nerves. But he still does it with an amazing sense of humour. Read this - there's less anguish than his other books, you'll find yourself smiling inanely when you are reading and hoping for the next book to come along as soon as possible
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