Review of 'About a Boy'

About a Boy by Nick Hornby

about_a_boy.jpg Will is a thirty-six year old man that acts like a child who meets, through slightly dubious dating methods, Marcus, a twelve year old boy who is far more an adult than Will. Will lives off family royalty income so does nothing all day except read Time Out and watch Countdown on TV. Marcus lives with his depressed and suicidal mother. After being introduced Marcus finds Will interesting, dropping in on him every day after school to just hang out. Marcus with his conservative mother pushing him into vegetarianism and not going with the flow suffers as he is teased and bullied at school. As the reluctant carer Will urges Marcus to be more assertive and try to be a bit more trendy. Over time the two become friends, teaching each other how to act their age and be better people…

This is a warm and often amusing story from Hornby (I can't believe this is the first book of his I have read!) that like many good novels touches on some painful truths about life. The narrators alternate in each chapter between Marcus and Will so we can see things from each of their perspectives. The novel is easy to read, often witty and funny despite some difficult moments. As a reader we end up really caring for these two lonely men, hoping they will see what we see and achieve their full potential. It does seem to drag on for quite some time up to the final few chapters when events come to a dramatic head.

“About a Boy” is a novel about finding yourself and your place in the world, facing your fears and just getting on with life. A wonderful and heart-warming story.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-03-04

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 1998

ISBN: 0140293450