Genres: Adult fiction, contemporary, humour.
Will is thirty-six, comfortable and child-free. And he’s discovered a brilliant new way of meeting women – through single-parent groups. Marcus is twelve and a little bit nerdish: he’s got the kind of mother who made him listen to Joni Mitchell rather than Nirvana. Perhaps they can help each other out a little bit, and both can start to act their age.
Spoiler note: This review does not contain spoilers.
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 Will and Marco’s unconventional friendship throughout the book. Why can’t an adult male and a child be friends? Why is everything made out to be so sordid? I also noticed that Hornby’s very good at intermixing humorous moments with extremely serious moments. The novel could be very gloomy: Will’s jobless and without family, Marco’s constantly bullied and he’s mother’s depressed. But Hornby’s fantastic at portraying these situations in a comical way without taking away their importance, whether it’s by using dialogue, events, or references to popular culture.
I played out the whole novel in my head as a film and cannot wait to see how the real version differs. About a Boy is a very funny, quick read that’s perfect to snuggle up with around Christmastime.
My Rating: ★★★★
Read as part of Adult Fiction Month