About a Boy
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About a Boy

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  82,760 ratings  ·  1,919 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 May 11th 1998)
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I Only Watched the Movie!
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Elizabeth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel
Books into movies...I always try to read the book first. If I don't succeed, I rarely will read the book later. But there are exceptions and books by Nick Hornby fall into that category (next on my list by him is High Fidelity). I won't say much about the plot because you've most likely seen the movie. But I'll say that the book is much darker, much more sarcastic, and just 'fuller' than the movie. I very much like NG's style of writing. He takes very serious issues, and though gives them the gr...more
Morgue Anne
Have to admit, I only picked up this book because I'm shallow and it had a picture of Hugh Grant on the cover. Sad, right? But, it was only a dollar and Hugh is a sexy beast, so I figured why not. Fortunately, I was more than pleasantly surprised at how good it was. This book deals with some very heavy subjects (Suicide, Depression, Finding your place in the world) in a light-hearted way, through the eyes of a child and child-like adult, but I think it's necessary for the story to be told in suc...more
Jessica
Wow. I absolutely loved it. This book surprised me. I had seen the movie several years ago when it was released to video. I hadn't known it was based on a book. I remember liking the movie but I don't remember it having so much humor.

Obviously how the story starts is fairly depressing, but the rest of the story's progression was hilarious. The characters were fantastically written. The dialogue between Marcus and Will was perfect. I couldn't stop laughing. The relationships between the differen...more
Smitha
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
Lillian
of all of nick hornby's books, most of which I own and all of which I love--about a boy is my favorite and the one I most often reread.

hornby does such a beautiful job of creating the voices and characters of both marcus and will. I love how they will both describe the same scene--the dead duck day always makes me laugh (until they go home, of course).

the movie is wonderful as well, a lot of the dialogue and internal monologues are straight out of the book. and I think the cultural updates work...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
Jamie
The Best Book of the Century!
About a boy is certainly the best the book of the century. I would reccommend this book to any teenager or young adult with a taste for "to live by" books. About a pertains to a tale of people fighting to be the perfect person living in the perfect world at the perfect time. Every person in the book is growing morally at different times, some characters are in their adult years and still trying to find themselves and others are 12 and act like adults. The book is ab...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
Mana-tasia
About a Boy written by Nick Hornby is a book about actually not one, but two very different types of boys. At least, the first impression is, they are dissimilar in every possible way. One is this guy whose life had been set a long time ago and he literally, has done nothing since that whatsoever. He's getting old, yet thinks of himself much younger than he really is. Having no wife seems much easier for him, as he likes occasional sex and finds himself rather boring, extremely selfish and infan...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
Lightblue
About a Boy
Erano anni che volevo leggere Un ragazzo e questo ha sicuramente contribuito a caricarlo di alte aspettative. E' la storia di Will, un quasi quarantenne che nella vita non fa nulla: vive di rendita grazie ai diritti di una canzone natalizia scritta anni prima dal padre. Will è un adulto che vive da adolescente: pensa alle donne ma mai per una storia seria, passa le giornate a guardare la tv o sui videogiochi, non si assume alcuna responsabilità. Per una lunga serie di coincidenze cono...more
Tashan
The title got it right : this book is about a boy. A quirky and mature boy named Marcus, who is having a hard time at home -since his mother is depressed- and at school -where he is being bullied; and let's be honnest, there is no much more in the life of a twelve years old boy than school and home, so basically, Marcus' life sucks.
Thankfully, he is full of ressources (awkward ones but still) and he drags into his life Will, who is supposed to help him go through all this mess. But Will is the...more
Peg
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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About a Boy: Thoughts on Marcus 1 4 Apr 11, 2014 10:14AM  
About A Boy 1 7 Apr 11, 2014 05:50AM  
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Did you think this had a weak ending? 7 79 Sep 19, 2013 09:25AM  
Pritzker Summer R...: Young adult fiction 1 5 Aug 20, 2013 07:47PM  
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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...
High Fidelity A Long Way Down How to Be Good Juliet, Naked Fever Pitch

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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.” 97 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.” 59 likes
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