Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “About a Boy” as Want to Read:
About a Boy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

About a Boy

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  97,359 ratings  ·  2,282 reviews
'How cool was Will Freeman?'

Too cool! At thirty-six, he's as hip as a teenager. He's single, child-free, goes to the right clubs and knows which trainers to wear. He's also found a great way to score with women: attend single parents' groups full of available (and grateful) mothers, all hoping to meet a Nice Guy.

Which is how Will meets Marcus, the oldest twelve-year-old on
...more
Mass Market Paperback, 307 pages
Published 2000 by Penguin Books (first published 1998)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about About a Boy, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Kristen Same here! I love the show. I knew it was a movie but not a book.
Forrest Gump by Winston GroomThe Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerJurassic Park by Michael CrichtonJumanji by Chris Van AllsburgMary Poppins by P.L. Travers
I Only Watched the Movie!
78th out of 882 books — 4,914 voters
The Notebook by Nicholas SparksThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanThe Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienStardust by Neil Gaiman
The MOVIE was BETTER than the BOOK
49th out of 805 books — 8,407 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Lee
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
...more
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
...more
Maciek
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
...more
Callum
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
...more
Samilja
Dec 17, 2007 Samilja rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
...more
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
...more
Arwen56
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
...more
Cristina
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
...more
Ginny_1807
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
...more
Dale
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,
...more
Nastya
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
Annchen
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
...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
Jessica
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
Annalisa
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
M
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
...more
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
PSmith
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
Akl
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,
...more
Kristen
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
Belle
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
Erin
Feb 28, 2014 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: dude
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
Ellyn Oaksmith
This is my favorite kind of summer read: entertaining, light and funny. Full of little insights that might not add up to a whole lot other than a good book but that's quite a bit to my mind. I was so enjoying this book that I checked my Kindle to see how much was left. I felt like I was eating a particularly good dessert that I didn't want to be done with.

The main character is a typical Hornby Peter Pan lad. He meets a boy who somehow, although he is isolated and out of touch, manages to bring
...more
Mary Hall-Rayford
If it wasn't for the fact that I read this for book-club, I would not have read it. I'm still trying to understand the point of the selection for a summer-read and the point of the author in writing it. Perhaps, I'm just a tad dense, but I could not understand the point of the entire story.

Okay, I got the insights to boys--does this represent all boys or just all boys in England or some? I got the waste of a human being with Will--is this indicative of all 36 year-old males who don't work or who
...more
Nik
3.5 Stars

The Warm Fuzzy Feeling Recipe

1)Open your room's window. Leave it to cool for 10 mins. Lay one blanket (change according to preference) on your bed. A steaming cup of hot cocoa on your bed-stand and the right kind of book. I used Nick Hornby's About A Boy.
2) Tips for finding the most appropriate book :-
a. It must have a quirky title as well as story line.
b. It must be funny. The more sarcastic, the better.
c. There has to be at least one character that reminds you of yourself or
...more
Alexa
London, Nirvana, and the Awkward Teen Years
Upon opening this book, the reader greets a geeky, adolescent British boy living with only his mother in his new home in London. He struggles with the problems many children his age face: divorced parents, bullying, making new friends, and most importantly, just trying to be himself without the backtalk. In the course of the novel, he meets two unlikely people that will change his life forever.
I fell in love the moment I cracked open the book and star
...more
Nathan
I'm no Superman, but I have kryptonite. My kryptonite is definitely a good book: this old man can stay up WAY past when he should have gone to sleep, simply to further delight in a good book. "About a Boy" was just such a book; I read until after 2am and was useless the next day.

What made it so appealing? Hornby's style is perfectly deadpan as his characters note the absurdity of the world without being a part of it: the young boy, bullied at school and whose single mum is losing it; the mid-30s
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2015 Reading Chal...: About a Boy by Nick Hornby 1 15 Mar 31, 2015 01:09PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: About A Boy by Nick Hornby 4 19 Feb 05, 2015 11:43PM  
About a Boy: Thoughts on Marcus 4 19 Apr 26, 2014 04:02PM  
About a Boy: Review and Question: 3 9 Apr 22, 2014 05:32PM  
About A Boy 1 23 Apr 11, 2014 05:50AM  
About a Boy: Golden Line + Question 2 8 Apr 11, 2014 05:35AM  
  • The Commitments
  • Man and Boy (Harry Silver, #1)
  • Election
  • The Rotters' Club
  • Microserfs
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (Adrian Mole, #2)
  • The Essential Tales and Poems
  • Chart Throb
  • The Beach
  • Sideways
2929
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...
High Fidelity A Long Way Down How to Be Good Juliet, Naked Fever Pitch

Share This Book

“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.” 127 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.” 72 likes
More quotes…