About a Boy was written by Nick Hornby in 1998. It came out in 1998, published by Penguin Group, England and it has been a bestseller since. It was adapted into a film in 2000 starring Hugh Grant.
The book tells the story of Will, a superficial 36-year-old bachelor , and Marcus, a 12-year-old-boy.
The story begins when Will invents a child to get into a single mothers’ group because he thinks they are weak and easy to persuade to go out with him. He joins a single parents group, where he meets a nice woman. They are going on a picnic together with Marcus because the woman is Fiona’s best friend. Fiona is Marcus’ mother. Marcus is considered weird because of his maturity and bluntness that frighten his depressive mother, Fiona. The three of them go through their ups and downs. On that same day, Fiona tries to commit suicide. After this, Marcus turns up at Will’s nearly every day after school. Even though Will doesn’t like Marcus in the beginning he helps him to get trendy and to improve his reputation at school. They get used to each other and Will’s feelings towards Marcus are similar to those of a father or a friend.
Will is a typical single in his mid-thirties. He’s living out of the royalties of a famous song his father wrote. His life is empty, it’s all about shopping, parties and women. Marcus has problems at school, the kids laugh at him and throw stones at him. He is too shy, too weird and too mature and different from the others. And Will helps him. So that Marcus in the end is more or less accepted at school and even has friends.
The story is set in London, the city where Fiona and Marcus have just arrived from Cambridge, the city where Marcus lived with his parents before they split up.
Nick Hornby writes in a style I found glib and plain spoken. It’s not beautiful and complex writing just functional but I appreciated a few flashes of genuine humour. The reader’s feelings go from depression to laughter. The characters are very well described by what they do, think or say. They give you the impression that you could meet them anytime you get out onto the street, it is a realistic slice of life, and at that it is superb.
Apart from the idea that everybody needs friends, people you can trust, people you can help if they have a problem I can’t find anything. In my opinion is a simple story you can read in two or three evenings and with a predictable ending. The only thing that made me feel involved in the plot was the dramatic situation that Marcus had at school and at home and how the writer mixed humour with it.
Here all of us can enjoy the photos of the movie where characteres are described quite well.