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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you liked the film, read it.
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...
Published on 2 Sep 2003

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe expectations were high after High Fidelity...
"About A Boy", Hornby's third novel after "Fever Pitch" and "High Fidelity", is a funny and entertaining book. It is about the lives of the weird 12-year-old Marcus and the 36-year-old Will, who both are lacking something to get along properly in the world.
Marcus is precocious and an outsider in his class. He wears the wrong sneakers, he listens to the wrong music...
Published on 3 April 2001


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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
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 (CHELTENHAM, Glos United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: About a Boy (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
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
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. Of course, Fiona has to do this job on her own, but anyway, her ways of educating Marcus are false sometimes. She wants him to have a critical mind of his own. He should be a non-conformist, but she's not aware of the fact that Marcus lives as she wants him to live. He needs Will to find out what he wants, he needs to get away from Fiona's authority.
The novel also tries to give help to single parents. Hornby tells single parents that they need to look for company, if they want to cope with problems well. Fiona only begins to feel better, when she has somebody to talk to, who really understands her.
About a Boy plays in the London of 1993 and 1994. People, who lived 10 years ago, will come to the conclusion that Hornby succeeded in accurately depicting the society of these years. He refers to the pop-culture of the early '90s, as well as he tells us about the feelings of the young generation in particular. He shows what consequences Kurt Cobain's death had, for example.
I think that this book has many strengths. The plot is very appealing. The novel is narrated alternately by Will and Marcus which I believe, is a very good idea, because you get to know their opinions on the same subject. The book never appeared boring to me.
Often it was fun to read, because Hornby knows how to play with his characters. He also really makes you understand, what is going on inside the main characters, their inner conflicts. The reader is able to identify with the characters and to feel as they do.
The diction of this novel is easy to read and understand. Hornby doesn't write hypotactic sentences and long chapters. Therefore the reader does not have to concentrate that much to grasp the story.
In my opinion the ending of the book has not turned out so well. I didn't like the new Marcus in the end. He had developed from a completely shy and inarticulate boy to a tough guy who then seemed to have understood everything that is going on on the globe and wants to give advice to Will. I liked him more in the beginning, when he was more sensitive, calm and a bit naive.
Anyhow the ending is a satisfying happy ending. Every character seems to know where his place is, or will be, and how he can cope with life the best way.
I recommend reading the book! It is entertaining, illustrates interpersonal relationships in a touching way and demonstrates the characters and 90s' society very well. If you are willing to get involved with thinking about educating children, the sense of life (yes, Hornby also talks about that), what the nature of true love is or single families then read this novel!
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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
''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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, 4 Mar 2004
By A Customer
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delicate portrait of personal connections, 11 Jun 2003
By 
Nicholas J. Forbes (Canberra, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & readable novel, 12 Jun 2007
This review is from: About a Boy (Paperback)
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars About two boys, 31 Dec 2005
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man Meets Boy, Boy Improves Man, 7 Dec 1999
By 
Mr. S. J. Wade "thebardofb6" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: About a Boy (Paperback)
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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About a Boy
About a Boy by Nick Hornby (Paperback - 31 May 2000)
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