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About a Boy

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  104,059 Ratings  ·  2,453 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
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Mass Market Paperback, 307 pages
Published 2000 by Penguin Books (first published 1998)
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I Only Watched the Movie!
78th out of 920 books — 5,382 voters
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The MOVIE was BETTER than the BOOK
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Anne
Sep 02, 2015 Anne rated it liked it  ·  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.

description

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

description

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
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Lee
Jul 20, 2007 Lee rated it it was amazing
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
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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
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Lyssrose Farver
Sep 07, 2007 Lyssrose Farver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Samilja
Dec 17, 2007 Samilja rated it really liked it
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
Callum
Nov 05, 2013 Callum rated it it was ok
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
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Luffy
Sep 02, 2015 Luffy rated it liked it
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
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Daniel Clausen
Nov 02, 2013 Daniel Clausen rated it it was amazing
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
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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
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Sura Sami ✿
Jan 02, 2016 Sura Sami ✿ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's the story of a teenager boy who can't find peace neither at home nor school, then he meet a 36 years old guy and the lives of both change . It's sad how divorce or bad relationship between parents ruins the lives of children , and affect their future and personalities .. and it's awful how an adult men (or even wemen) those choose to live alone away from families and make a relationships just for a short time with no love , no sacrifice , end up with them feeling lonely and have no one to s ...more
Warda
Dec 28, 2015 Warda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[Actual rating: 4.5]
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
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Dale
Sep 21, 2007 Dale rated it it was amazing
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,
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Nastya
Sep 24, 2012 Nastya rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 15, 2015 Teijo Aflecht rated it really liked it
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
Cynthia Nine
Jul 03, 2015 Cynthia Nine rated it really liked it
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
Antje
Feb 21, 2015 Antje rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jenny
Jun 05, 2015 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Erin
Feb 28, 2014 Erin rated it it was amazing
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
Ginny_1807
Sep 07, 2012 Ginny_1807 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Vi Bui
Nov 05, 2012 Vi Bui rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Jul 29, 2009 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 12, 2007 M rated it liked it
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
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Eric Althoff
Oct 31, 2007 Eric Althoff rated it liked it
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
Daralí
Feb 06, 2016 Daralí rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novelas
Llegué a este libro como casi todo el mundo: después de ver la película en la que Hugh Grant hace de treintañero inútil. La película me gusta, y el libro me gustó aún más, la manera en que Marcus crea vínculos entre desconocidos es algo maravilloso que no se percibe con tanta intensidad en la película.

Me juré no escribir una reseña en la que comprara el libro y la película, no lo logré. Ni modo.

PD: Hay una escena que se inventaron en la película y que me habría gustado leer. Otra vez comparando,
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Syl  ʃʃ^.^ʃʃ
Jan 13, 2012 Syl ʃʃ^.^ʃʃ rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ethereal, humor
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
James
Jul 22, 2015 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Kristen
Nov 13, 2014 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread, 2014
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
Apr 21, 2014 Alex Hoffman rated it really liked it
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
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Livros e Palavras...: Nick Hornby 1 1 Aug 25, 2015 11:49AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: About a Boy By Nick Hornby - Starting July 24th 2015 12 16 Jul 28, 2015 03:55AM  
2016 Reading Chal...: About a Boy by Nick Hornby 1 18 Mar 31, 2015 01:09PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: About A Boy by Nick Hornby 4 24 Feb 05, 2015 11:43PM  
About a Boy: Thoughts on Marcus 4 21 Apr 26, 2014 04:02PM  
About a Boy: Review and Question: 3 9 Apr 22, 2014 05:32PM  
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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
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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.” 138 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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