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About a Boy

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  102,249 ratings  ·  2,397 reviews
Will is a happy 36-year-old bachelor living like a king on his father's royalties. His only problem is that he can't seem to find his dream woman since all the best candidates seem to have kids. No problem. Will joins a group of single parents. He doesn't have a kid, nor does he want one. Twelve year old Marcus meets Will and finds in him the role model he so desperately w ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 410 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Thorndike Press (first published 1998)
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Kristen Same here! I love the show. I knew it was a movie but not a book.
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Sep 02, 2015 Anne rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Want To Feel Better About Their Own Weirdness
Recommended to Anne by: Kelly (and the Book Boar)
3.5 stars

Not sure who I'd recommend this to, but I enjoyed it well enough.
It's basically a story about fucked up guy with zero substance, a fucked up 12 year old dork, and his fucked up crazy hippie mother.


To me, none of these three were very sympathetic characters. I mean, Marcus was the only one who even slightly deserved any pity.


But even for a kid he was gratingly dense. I just wanted to shake the shit out of him for being such a pussy! And, YES! I know how horrible that sentence sounds. Ugh
I have weird habit of reading books that were made into movies AFTER I've seen the movies. Dopey, right? I don't know why I love to do this. I guess just to see how it all turns out on the other end.

Anyway, this review is pretty straight forward: "About a Boy" is awesome. Like the rest of Hornby's work that I've read, it's hilarious in such a BRITISH way (so dry, the laughs usually coming from some poor uptight Brit's bumbling embarrassment). I also admire Hornby for writing consistently about m
Like most, I have read this book after seeing the movie adaptation with Hugh Grant years and years ago. The movie turned out to be a rather faithful adaptation of the novel, but featured a completely different ending.

The general plot of About a Boy is well known. Will is a 36 year old single man, who lives off royalties from a famous Christmas song that his father wrote. Will doesn't have to worry about money and work, and spends his life largely without responsibilities and commitments. Looking
Lyssrose Farver
Originally, I picked up a friend's copy of this while watching babysitting, simply as a means of amusing myself while the kid was happily playing with some toys. I'd already seen the movie, and figured the book would probably be something that I could pick up and put down fairly easily.

I was wrong.

See, I went into this thinking I obviously knew the story and the characters - but what happened was I quickly forgot about the movie version, and became fascinated with the story of Will, the selfish
Dec 17, 2007 Samilja rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of dry british laughs & anyone looking for an entertaining, easy read
Brilliant - ok, that's just a bad homage to the Brits but really, this was a funny, sweet book. I'd have given it a 3.5 but with no half-stars at my disposal, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. Anyway - bought it b/c I was looking for High Fidelity at our local used shop but this was the only Hornby on hand. I'm glad since I saw the movie version of H.F. but not this so it was a good surprise. It's a love story of sorts - but not between lovers. Rather, between a mid-thirties man-child (Will ...more
Luffy Monkey D.
About a Boy is a book that I've dreamed about - a meaningful book about human relationships ( as opposed to adventures) that is to the point and not chock full of rambling and embellishing imagery. Sadly, I'm very honest, and I can't rate this 5/5. The reasons why I like this book and why I can't give it a bogus score are the same. I'm very like Marcus. The old me is like the old Marcus from before he changed at the end. The newer me is still like him. But enough of us.

The titular reference to
Simply said, I didn't like this novel because it preaches the idea of normality as being one's only means of living happily. The two protagonists are an unemployed, quietly melancholic man in his 30s and a young, socially awkward boy restrained by an overbearing, suicidal mother. The basic premise is promising, especially considering Hornby's strong voice in this contemporary setting.

It's when he then starts to illustrate this simplistic, overly-contrived character of Will when this idea starts
Daniel Clausen
What a surprising read!

I found this book in the Fujisawa library in Japan. My other choices were D.H. Lawrence and other books that boasted intimidating thickness. I suppose I chose this book because I thought it would be a breezy read. It was a breezy read! A breezy, enjoyable read with a surprising amount of depth and charm.

I had previously read one other Nick Hornby book: A Long Way Down, which was a morbid look at the lives of several people who try to commit suicide. About a Boy shares so
Stacey (prettybooks)
I hadn’t watched the About the Boy movie before reading the book and so I knew nothing about the plot nor the characters. I was therefore very surprised to find that it’s narrated by Marcus as well as Will. I thought this worked perfectly they are both stand-out, likeable characters. I loved Marco’s naivety and his ability to see things in a straightforward, literal way, and I loved Will’s hilarious cynicism. If you’re familiar with Danny Wallace, that’s who he reminded me of.

I was rooting for W
Questo libro l’ho letto nel 2001. Ciò che immediatamente colpisce, secondo me, è il tipo di scrittura: semplice, immediata, colloquiale. Una riproduzione piuttosto fedele del “parlato” di tutti i giorni. Caratteristica che si accentuerà nei romanzi successivi.

Hornby non ha risposte da darci, ma domande da farci molte. E lo fa presentandoci, in questo libro, due ragazzi. A dispetto del titolo, infatti, non è chiaro se il “ragazzo” sia effettivamente quello più giovane ed immaturo, ossia il dodic
Sono sempre molto incerta con questo autore, da un lato non riesce a catturarmi a sufficienza, dall'altro ne apprezzo molto lo stile disinvolto, un po' informale, e non aggiungo semplice perché ne sarebbe ingiustamente sminuito.
Trovo che anche in questo romanzo, come del resto negli altri, ci si possa ritrovare la vita di tutti i giorni, con gli accadimenti "banali" del quotidiano, con le piccole cose, con gli ingredienti che riempiono le giornate di tutti, e questo lo rende in qualche modo molt
La straordinaria abilità di Hornby come scrittore consiste principalmente nel saper raccontare la realtà senza abbellimenti o idealizzazioni, vale a dire in tutte le sue manifestazioni, edificanti o meno, comuni o insolite, con fine ironia e misurata leggerezza. Questo non significa che non assegni la giusta rilevanza alle questioni più serie o spinose, ma al contrario che ne tratta in maniera gradevole e tutt’altro che pedante e banale.
Ciò gli consente di affrontare problematiche attuali senza
Nick Hornby is a master of writing a heartwarming book that isn't heartwarming (I mean that as praise, in case that wasn't clear). His brilliant method is to make the main character as self-centered and unadmirable as possible, then make him do something incredibly good, but rationalize his or her actions to him or herself in self-interested reasons.

In this book, an unemployed, consumerist slacker named Will (he doesn't need to work as his father wrote a pathetically embarassing Christmas song,
I can't help it, I just adore his STYLE. The way he writes. The way his characters develop. His humour. The ending is somewhat vague, but that is so not the point, the actual point is in the process itself, in Horny's style, his characters whom he has the power to describe so believably that I can see right through them, can understand everything they're feeling; in funny moments which the book is full of. I just laughed out loud several times during one chapter. I fell in love with the way Horn ...more
Teijo Aflecht
About a Boy is simply a wonderful book. It's full of great humour, pretty effective drama and mostly believable characters. So very British, in a good way, particularly the way the humour ties into the more serious (I'm looking at you, baguette/duck scene). Sometimes Marcus is a bit too articulate and smart for a 12-year-old to be believable, but on the whole the characters are great. I sympathise with Will's indignation quite a bit, but also like his growth. Could've done with less Nirvana stuf ...more
I’m attracted to Nick Hornby's unpretentious, honest and humorous writing style. I like the "unlikability” of his characters too. But above all things, I love the way he exhales music like there’s no tomorrow and how he uses this symptom to depict an air of confusion and ambiguity that permeates the whole story. Maybe it's the confusion of an entire generation, a generation torn between the romantic and the cynic, between disillusionment and hope, between growing up and becoming Peter Pans. In a ...more
Klar und unverschnörkelt schildert der Erzähler das zuweilen tragisch-komische Beziehungsgeflecht von Will, Marcus und dessen Mutter Fiona. Mit steigender Seitenzahl heftet sich ein Nebenstrang nach den anderen dazwischen und forciert eine interessante Entwicklung und Reifung der einzelnen Figuren.
Besonders faszinierend fand ich hierbei den zwölfjährigen Marcus, Außenseiter in seiner Schule, ohne Freunde und stattdessen eine selbstmordgefährdete Mutter am Hals. Wie er sich ungefragt Eintritt in
This is 3.5 stars for me, and it's all because of the ending.
I really like this book. I like the alternating third-person perspectives; Hornby did a good job expressing a twelve-year-old boy's thoughts and feelings; I like the way Marcus and Will change over the course of the novel. The book is funny and well-written. Its content is strong and relatively realistic.
But the ending. I understand that people have to either change to fit in or become stronger to stand out. I just don't get why Horn
I never actually got around to reading Nick Hornby's About A Boy, probably because it was written in 1993 and I was only 15. But the movie with Nick Hoult, Toni Collette and Hugh Grant is one of my favorite comedies (and I own it but haven't seen it in ages), and now that the new TV show is on (which I don't think I'll watch), I thought it might be good to revisit this. The awesome news is I forgot just how great a writer Hornby is, and how lovely it was to have adapted the movie so closely to t ...more
Vi Bui
It's 1993 and 36 year old Will Freeman is still living off his father's Christmas hit single, Will needs some growing up to do. He is living life care free and with lots of free time with no job. In his free time he listens to music, smokes, watches TV, and dates women. In some other part of London, 12 year old Marcus, living with his suicidal mother. Marcus has trouble with his life at home and his life at school because he gets bullied. Out of all of this Marcus and Will become entangled in ea ...more
I'm going to say something that I don't say very often: The film is better than the book (I think I can say that about a total of three books). But don't let that put you off from reading the book. Actually, the film is quite faithful to the book, almost word-for-word. It's just the musical tastes that change (the book is set in 1993, and part of the plot pivots around Kurt Cobain, and the film has less of a musical influence, but refers mainly to rap) and the ending, which, in the film, is a bi ...more
I almost find it sacrilege to claim a movie is better than the book. But I'm taking that stance here. No that the book wasn't good. I enjoyed it. I just think the adaptions they made to update the book (it's set in the era of grunge music) were improvements and the cast well played (especially Marcus). Since I didn't read the book before I saw the movie, I kept picturing his interpretation to the character, even when I would not have interpreted it that way I found his version better. About the ...more
Well, this was a slight disappointment after High Fidelity, which I loved. This had a similar style and humor which was so refreshing after a long week, but it fell short of High Fidelity's originality and wit - I guess each book needs to be judged on its merit, but even so this one was sometimes too silly or too cheesy, as if he just didn't have another 'slimy yet endearing' guy left in him.
It was enjoyable enough, and Hornby's humor is so great in that sardonic British way that even a book tha
Eric Althoff
Will Freeman has some growing up to do. At 35, he lazes around all day listening to his CDs, watches "tele," dates serially and by nature keeps himself from any emotional entanglements, living off the royalties of a single Christmas tune his father wrote. After dating a single mother, Will discovers that a way to meet more single moms is to attend a single parent support group, conjuring up an imaginary son in the process to back up his story. Soon enough, his cover is blown, largely through the ...more
I absolutely loved reading this. It made me laugh out loud many a time, and often caused embarassing circumstances. Cynical, sardonic, satirical, with loads of eccentric and semi-eccentric characters - all lovable. I just loved the interactions between teh 36 year old jobless, "living off father's royalty" Will and 12 year old, but quite an old guy at heart Marcus. I adored his mother, her friends, his older girl friend (?), in fact everyone. I would like to savour it again sometime in future. I ...more
I really liked the way About a Boy started off. Through the first half, this was a solid five-star read for me. But somewhere in the second half it lost its intensity. Will seemed to lose his Will-ness. I guess he grew up in a way, but he became kind of a nothing. By the end of the book, it's almost like you could make a case for Marcus being the cool one.

Marcus was a good character. Awkward and unsure about just about everything in life. I was nowhere near that much of an outcast in school, but
I brought this with me on a trip from Raleigh to Indianapolis and finished it before the plane touched down in Indy. I can remember the first time I read this was when I worked as a substitute bank teller the summer after my freshman year of college. I was stationed in a really slow, small-town branch where we were allowed to read on the job. I finished it in one day that time too. All that is to say that Hornby's style remains smooth, funny, and totally engrossing. The best thing about About a ...more
Alex Hoffman
I couldn't put this book down right from the word go! Nick Hornby deals with serious philosophical subjects - depression, love, growing up and Ben the meaning of life - but not for one moment is his writing heavy or draining. He takes a cleverly funny approach to all these subjects through an eccentric twelve-year-old boy and a narcissistic thirty-six-year-old man - the most unlikely pair of friends - and shows the great bonds that form between people in the most unlikely ways when people care f ...more
Jun 21, 2015 Akl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who thinks alot about what it all means. Those who have big thinks and get lost.
Shelves: favorites
This story is about a boy. It also happens that the title is "About a Boy", not often do you find such a straight forward title, but it's often this vague.
It's a coming of age novel, as you might have guessed from the title, and the boy is Marcus, this is not a sad story, it is a real story, and they are not necessarily the same thing (although they more than often coincide to be). Marcus is 12, and he has a tough time living, mostly because his mother is messed up, and, from his point of view,
Will is an awful, self-centred, lazy, unemployed, rich, bored, philandering 36-year-old man child. Marcus is a sweet, weird, bullied, lonely 12-year-old boy with a suicidal mum and an absent dad. The two don't have anything in common but when Marcus latches on to Will, both their lives change forever. I wasn't sure that I would like About a Boy, because the only other Nick Hornby I've read was High Fidelity which I sadly hated. I had the impression Hornby generally writes the same type of unlike ...more
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Nick Hornby is the author of the novels A Long Way Down, Slam, How to Be Good, High Fidelity, and About a Boy, and the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, and The Polysyllabic Spree, as well as the editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is a recipient of the American Acade ...more
More about Nick Hornby...

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“There had been times when he knew, somewhere in him, that he would get used to it, whatever it was, because he had learnt that some hard things became softer after a very little while.” 135 likes
“This thing about looking for someone less different... It only really worked, he realized, if you were convinced that being you wasn't so bad in the first place.” 74 likes
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