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About a Boy

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  130,369 ratings  ·  3,422 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
Mass Market Paperback, 307 pages
Published 2000 by Penguin Books (first published May 11th 1998)
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Kristen Same here! I love the show. I knew it was a movie but not a book.
Vanessa Love the movie with Hugh Grant and Toni Colette!! The book is just as good. Interestingly I didn't really like the TV show.…moreLove the movie with Hugh Grant and Toni Colette!! The book is just as good. Interestingly I didn't really like the TV show.(less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  130,369 ratings  ·  3,422 reviews

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Aug 24, 2015 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 a 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. U
Jul 13, 2007 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
Aug 23, 2014 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
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
Dec 17, 2007 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
Lyssrose Farver
Sep 07, 2007 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
Nick Hornby’s writing makes me smile. His dry British wit, his honesty, his quirkiness, his nerdiness. It’s all so damn charming! I cannot file him as junk food reading because he is much too earnest and positive: reading his book has an uplifting effect on me and that if definitely not a guilty pleasure.

This is the book that inspired the movie with Hugh Grant, which inspired the TV show with David Walton and Minnie Driver. I will shamelessly admit to liking all 3, but the original work is still
Mayke ☕️
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own-read
Beautiful read for the end of the year.
Such a thoughtful book.
Scott Rhee
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't recall if this was the first Nick Hornby book that I read, or if it was "High Fidelity". It's toss-up. I will say that "About a Boy" is probably one of my favorite Hornby novels. The story is about a spoiled rich man-child (in the movie adaptation, played brilliantly by Hugh Grant) who befriends an awkward high school kid and, in the process, learns how to be a better person and man. Very funny and very moving. ...more
Daniel Clausen
Oct 28, 2013 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
Helene Jeppesen
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book with a lot of different characters and character development. It was my first book by Nick Hornby but it's definitely not going to be my last :) ...more
amy ☂︎
Dec 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
i don’t get it
Laurie  |  LOHF
Dec 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This was a terrific book from beginning to end. Equally funny and sad but never dreary despite the very serious overtones of the book. Marcus was a peculiar, wonderful boy with a huge burden on his shoulders and I really enjoyed watching him become a stronger, confident person. Will was also great. I loved the fact that he was a such a self-centered jerk and completely content to remain that way. No guilt, no remorse, no commitments. Until he meets Marcus, that is. Their relationship was laugh o ...more
Titas (I read in bed)
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of the most immature adult meeting the most mature child. Who's right? Who's wrong? You decide!

First of all Nick Hornby, I bow to thee for your awesomeness! You write like you are actually telling me the story sitting in front of me. As if you have known me for a long time and everything just rolls right out of your tongue!

Will is the cool dude, the funky awesome one who doesn't even have to work; money just falls right into his laps. And that leave him with endless a
Jul 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2016, fiction
3.5 Stars.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first book I read by Nick Hornby, How To Be Good. One similarity between the books though is that all of Hornby's characters seem to be really annoying. But unlike How To Be Good, I actually liked reading this. I wanted to see what would happen with Will & Marcus and I thought their relationship was interesting for lack of a better word. I thought Will & Marcus had two different voices that were easy to distinguish. Will cared about nobody but h
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, romance, drama
“Ellie was killing Katrina, and Marcus was killing Fiona, and they would go on killing them for years and years.”

I love the movie because it makes you feel all sorts of things happiness, anger, sadness and it really makes you think about how hard others have it. The same goes for the book

To narrow down each MAIN character;

Fiona - Fiona is Marcus’ mum, she has no partner, she’s manic depressive and possibly manipulative.
Marcus - clueless, doesn’t seem to think like others, and is basically looki
Jul 11, 2012 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
Jul 29, 2009 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
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very easy, breezy book that doesn't have the (to me anyway) expected ending. I know, I'm late to the party on this one (and it explains finding it at a book sale) but I'm guessing the book was better than the movie. This would be a nice summer read that's a little more serious than the usual beach/chic read.

Very odd cover though.
Karen ⊰✿
What an absolutely delightful book. I watched the movie many years ago and I have to say that Hugh Grant is the perfect Will.
Hornby does magnificent character writing, but with quite a lot of humour - there were so many laugh out loud moments!
Fabulous audio narration too - highly recommended
Sura  ✿
Jan 01, 2016 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
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
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
Sep 12, 2007 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,
Spider the Doof Warrior
So I liked the movie better than this book. I think the characters in the movie were done better, and that's actually very rare. Though I do think Marcus is autistic as fuck. His character was sweeter in the movie. I liked how the theme wasn't conform and be a normal teenager but just be yourself. Marcus influenced Will because he was a cool, unusual kid. I identified more with movie Marcus than book Marcus.

Still, there were some parts of the book that might have worked better in the movie.

I enjoyed this one on audio, quite funny actually. The books transcribes to the movie very well. Such a funny book.
May 30, 2015 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
Brittany E.
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, books-i-own
This is one of the rare times that I watched the movie and the show before reading the book. I knew going into the basic story but the characters had much more depth in the book. It was a much darker humor than it was portrayed on screen. About a Boy was a quick and easy read, great for a rainy day.
Chris Dietzel
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Right in that area between 3 stars and 4 stars. I enjoyed the dialogue and most of the humor worked for me. On the other side, many of the scenes felt forced and the characters never felt completely real. I'm still interested in reading High Fidelity but it won't be one of the next books I read. ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

So I finished About a Boy by Nick Hornby for the second time. The last time was back in the summer of 2012, so I was twelve. I don't know if I understood the book at the time, or what my opinions of it were, so I can't comment on that. However, the book is pretty basic so I'm assuming that I got what the author was on about. I can't help but wonder, however, what my opinions were on certain characters and the ending of the novel? The only thing I can ascertain therefore is that the book
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Goodreads Librari...: Add data 3 10 Sep 22, 2016 12:40PM  
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YA Buddy Readers'...: About a Boy By Nick Hornby - Starting July 24th 2015 12 22 Jul 28, 2015 03:55AM  
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About a Boy: Thoughts on Marcus 4 26 Apr 26, 2014 04:02PM  

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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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