About a Boy, by Nick Hornby

>> Friday, March 11, 2005

From Chick Lit to Lad Lit: About a Boy was my first book by Nick Hornby. I haven't seen the movie yet, so I had only a vague idea of what it was about.

Will is thirty-six but acts like a teenager. Single, child-free and still feeling cool, he reads the right magazines, goes to the right clubs and knows which trainers to wear. He's also discovered a great way to score with women at single parents' groups, full of available (and grateful) mothers, all waiting for Mr. Nice Guy.

That's where he meets Marcus, the oldest twelve-year-old in the world. Marcus is a bit strange: he listens to Joni Mitchell and Mozart, he looks after his Mum and he's neve even owned a pair of trainers. Perhaps if Will can teach Marcus how to be a kid, Marcus can help Will grow up and they can both start to act their age.
Well, my first read in the genre was impressive. The story felt fresh and original, and I enjoyed it. So maybe the reason why I couldn't predict what direction the story would take was simply because I'm a novice here, but still, I had a wonderful time reading this, and that's what counts. My grade: a B+.

I loved the way Hornby wrote Will and Marcus' relationship, which is the whole meat of the book. There's no sentimentalistic, immediate father-son bonding, their relationship is much more complicated than that. But it does develop quite a bit and I found it fascinating and even more touching than I expected. Both these characters are wonderfully drawn and, for all their flaws, very endearing.

I think I have a couple of other Hornbys in my pile (including one with a lot of football in it, if I remember correctly). I'll definitely have to dig them up!


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