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About a Boy Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
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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 the royalties of his father's novelty song. 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 realize 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.
“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.”
“Nice dialogue and short episodes are great for audio”
Top customer reviews
The novel is a narration following the lives of two explicitly different characters and their unlikely convergence. We learn of Will Freeman, the thirty something epitome of self sufficiency and selfish indulgence. Then, of twelve year old Marcus, who is the human equivalent of a square peg in a round hole. The "square peg" being Marcus and the "round hole" being the world.
The way in which Hornby describes these different lives with such realism and comedy makes this book simply unputdownable. We experience the unlikely yet somehow believable relationship the two characters establish, and I personally just loved the humour and incredulity with which Will Freeman observes this unexpected development.
I enjoyed how the characters altered and changed. The adjustment and amendments in their ideas not to mention the downright flipside up backtofront viewpoint changes that were so very believable and charming, yet not done esoterically or over the pages of a 600 page tome. Hornby proves that if you stick with what is real to people, even to what is obvious you can create rich characters quickly. It makes me wonder if JD Salinger was one of his influences, it would make sense if you have read "Catcher in the Rye"
I did love this book, and in many ways I wish I hadn't watched the film first as it took away from the freshness of some of the more brilliant moments of comedy. I wasn't sure about Hornby after I read "A Long Way Down", but I stand corrected, and am well and truly sold. My biggest disappointment was when the book ended. Highly recommended.
I didn't really find the book that funny despite the reviews that this was hilarious. Perhaps I just have an odd sense of humour. I found Will a very sad person as opposed to the comic character others saw. He was a man who hadn't grown up & evaded any form of responsibility even refusing to be Godfather to his best friend's child. I saw his attempts to meet women by joining a single parent group rather devious as opposed to humorous. After all he lied about having a child just so he could meet women.
I also felt this book rather made fun of people with alternative life styles which I didn't find amusing.
Perhaps I need to lighten up & get out more but I didn't find this book amusing at all & was rather disappointed.
I didn't feel a lot of progression to be honest. I mean it was okay as a book (I have read much worse).
Although, having said that, the book did take me back to school where I felt misunderstood by peers and a little bullying ensued. I liked the small friendships made by the boy and some of the other characters.
Will is a bit of a layabout to be fair.
I might try the movie, but the book was just...meh, nothing exciting imho.
Here is the tale of a weird lonely child and a shallow selfish bachelor. So easily could this have become mawkish, but it does not. Instead it delights and is often hilarious (as with the feeding of the ducks and the reason why Will cringes as each Christmas nears). The film did the novel proud, but the book's end is different and some may feel better - more in keeping with what has gone before and far funnier.
One warms towards Marcus and hopes his life works out - he one of Nick Hornby's most inspired creations.
Wry, tender, delightful. Recommended.