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Will Freeman may have discovered the key to dating success: If the simple fact that they were single mothers meant that gorgeous women – women who would not ordinarily look twice a Will – might not only be willing, but enthusiastic about dating him, then he was really onto something. Single mothers – bright, attractive, available women – thousands of them, were all over London. He just had to find them.

SPAT: Single Parents – Alone Together. It was a brilliant plan. And Will wasn’t going to let the fact that he didn’t have a child himself hold him back. A fictional two-year-old named Ned wouldn’t be the first thing he’d invented. And it seems to go quite well at first, until he meets an actual twelve-year-old named Marcus, who is more than Will bargained for…
Published: Penguin Group on
ISBN: 9781101147368
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This is my favourite yet this year. Why?

Will let Marcus butter the crumpets because he loved doing it. It was much better than buttering toast, beccause with toast you had that thing where if the butter was too cold and hard all you could do was scrape off the brown that made toast what it was, and he hated that. With crumpets it was effortless: you just put a lump of butter on top, waited for a few seconds, then messed it about until it started to disappear into the holes. It was one of the few occasions in life where things seemed to go right every time.

Crumpets!more
It's been some years since I read this, but I know I bought it secondhand while on holiday in France & the UK (after having left a book behind in a French motel) and found it very enjoyable. It's difficult to recall details after such a long time, but I do know that I particularly liked the fact that this is not, despite initial appearances, a romance.more
A quick, easy and delightful read. The subject matter is not terribly complex, but what it lacks in deep, dark, existential angst, it makes up in its deft execution of the topic at hand. I think most people would consider this book a very easy read, the language is simple, there are parts that are embarrassingly funny (if you're reading it in public), and the characters are all genuinely flawed and likeable (albeit, caricatured for the purpose of the story).

This was the first novel I read after having seen the movie, and it was interesting to see the differences the director/screenwriter made. I liked both for different reasons, and I think the movie had strengths that the novel did not, and vice-versa - this novel/movie strengthened my conviction that movies and novels are two very, very different media, even when the underlying stories are the same.more

I love Hornby's ability to create odd, flawed, weird -- yet wholly sympathetic characters. In About A Boy, a nerdy 12 year-old is getting bullied at school, and he turns to a disconnected, slacker 30-something -- who invented a two year-old son to make it easier to meet single moms -- for help.

Along the way we become acquainted with a whole raft of interesting people, and like all Hornby's stuff, the dialogue crackles with energy.

Hornby's protagonists are usually cynical 30-something males who are lost and rudderless, and by the end of the book, this one is moving in a purposeful direction, though it's all done without any cloying, Hollywood-style (re: unbelievable) miracles.

It's another reason Hornby has become a favorite writer.more
When what I'm looking for is a fluffy, warm-fuzzy read, Nick Hornby is my go-to guy. It's "chick lit" that isn't cloyingly sentimental, but isn't something I need to analyze to death to truly appreciate. About a Boy has a certain heaviness to it--a suicidal mother, a man getting mixed up in a kid's life despite is best intentions--but it still manages to be reasonably light. It's exactly what I was looking for in an airport read (because standard chick lit would make me want to hurl myself from the plane).more
After starting off with The Knife of Never Letting Go and putting it down after 15 pages, I was looking for something a little different and a faster read for the end of January. I found that in About a Boy.It's not that the book was overly light, because it does deal with depression, bullying, and a suicide attempt (what is with me and these psych books lately?!). However, it was easy to read. The prose wasn't overly dense, and there were funny moments.I definitely "got" Marcus and the fact that he didn't fit in in school, because I never fit in either. His story is a great coming of age narrative, even if he is only 12.But the book isn't overly young-adult-y, as a book about a 12-year-old could get. It was as much about the adults as the kid. In fact, I think Will came of age too, not just Marcus. To me, both Marcus and Will are the "boy" of the title. Since it was written around the time of Kurt Cobain's death, I knew that event was going to play a part in the novel, and I found that fascinating. I like Nirvana and am a Cobain fan, so the way he came into the story was really cool for me.I was surprised at how quickly I was able to read the novel. It was just what I needed to finish out a solid January of reading.more
About a Boy is a quirky, funny novel, and although the ending is a little anticlimactic, I absolutely loved this story and its charming characters. Hornby is clearly is an excellent writer and I’m interested to read more of his books.more
The Moon CoinBy: Richard DueISBN: 9780983886723Published August 25, 2011 by Gibbering Gnome Press, A Division of Ingenious Inventions Run Amok, InkAvailable Format: ebookMy Rating: ★★★★★Lily and Jasper’s Uncle Ebb is full of mystery and fabulously imaginative tales—uh, stories packed with dragons, merfolk, giants, and faeries. But, it is all just fun and bedtime stories, or so they believe. When Uncle Ebb vanishes, Lily and Jasper stumble upon something much more powerful than they could have imagined. Lily is swept into a world she knows so very well but could not have believed truly existed. There’s no denying it now. Not only do she and her brother have to find their uncle, they must also help unite the moons of the realm and bring prosperity and peace once again. This book is one of the reasons why I absolutely love my “job”; I get to read these incredible (all too often undiscovered) gems and share them with all my friends and family! I never turn down a good children’s/YA book, so I immediately told Richard I would certainly love to read and review his book. I cannot express to you how impressed I have been! If I had to compare The Moon Coin to any other work, I’d say it is a cross between Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. It reads very well for middle grade and younger YA, like Narnia, with the immense fantasy of LOTR. The imagery is so captivating, Lily is so mature, and the reader is swept along her adventure as if we are riding the Rinn or facing the dragon ourselves. It is everything you want a great fantasy to be and then some. I shared this book with my six-year-old as our bedtime story this week. I would read to him until he went to sleep, then continue reading ahead. The next evening, I would condense the parts I had read and then continue on with the next chapters. He was always full of fantastic questions about the story and the characters involved. He loved the illustrations and, of course, wished there were more. I actually do too, but everything is told so well, I had no trouble whatsoever imagining the story for myself.The Moon Coin most certainly rates up there with my absolute favorite books and is in the top three of my favorite children’s books. I hope Richard will publish a print version! Everyone must give this one a try; you won’t be disappointed. Mr. Due, PLEASE don’t take long getting the next in the series ready for us … There are so many mysteries to solve, I may simply burst with anticipation!more
This book isn’t about much – I mean, there’s not much plot. What it is about is people trying to figure out their lives, just as we all are doing. Each character seems like someone you might know: a friend, an acquaintance, someone you glance at in a coffeeshop and wonder about. They bumble through their lives, and in the process, they come together and make one another’s lives a little better.At the heart of the story is a boy – a 12-year-old outsider who can’t fit in to his London school and whose mother has recently attempted suicide. He meets a man – an aimless, rich, 30-nothing trying desperately to fill his days while avoiding becoming connected to anyone. Almost against their wills, the two become friends and manage to help each other make the human connections they’ve been needing.more
If you were a fan of the movie version like me, you will love the novel that came first. Let me start by saying that the movie adaptation was remarkably faithful. Not only did they keep the plot, but the rhythm of the novel was maintained as well.Which just goes to show, when something isn't broken, don't fix it. About a Boy was simply perfect the way that it was, no need to mess with that sort of brilliance.For those that didn't see the movie (which you should), it follows a man who hasn't grown up whose life collides with a teenage boy whose life is too hard. They both learn something, and in the end everything falls into place. The ending is in no way trite though. Yes, people fall in love and things end a bit happily-ever-after, but the novel at no time feels inauthentic. It reads like real life.The satire was brilliantly executed, the characters believable and sharp, and the plot was oddly endearing. About a Boy is a rather quirky little novel, but I loved it for that exact reason. It was strange and sweet and crazy. It may also be one of my new favourite novels. How can you blame me though?So, needless to say, I loved this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough!!!more
So glad that I've finally read this - I took full advantage of a day off and didn't put it down (apart from when we watched the film).The characters felt really real. Will should not have been that likeable, but he was; I just wanted to give Marcus a hug. :-)Really clever how it had moments that were hilarious followed by really sad bits, then bits that made you laugh, but shouldn't have because it was totally inappropriate.The ending was different to the film and I think both worked in their own way.more
About a Boy is a funny and touching book about an adult who needs a lesson in being adult and a teenager who needs a lesson in being a teenager. Of course they learn these lessons from spending time together, otherwise there would be no story. But Nick Hornby lets them learn in an endearing, gripping, and realistic way.more
Will has lots of money and no life experience. Marcus has no friends, no money and no hope of being rescued from his slide in social exile. Fiona is a depressed hippie, trying to raise a 12-year-old son in North London. They meet because Will decides single mothers are an as yet untapped resource. They actually end up having quite a good time together.This is the first Nick Hornby I've enjoyed. He uses very different characters from the other two, which were replete with emo 30-somethings struggling with life. In this novel, Will has no struggles, Marcus is all struggle but is twelve (and excellently portrayed, I thought), and Fiona is depressed and really struggling - but crucially Fiona is never the narrator.I do find it a bit odd that Hornby's novels are consistently and unrelentingly set in Holloway. Clearly I'm not cool enough to live there and to get the in-jokes.All the spare characters were well-developed and witty as well - Rachel, the beautiful single mother with the homicidal son; Ellie, who worships Kurt Cobain and adopts Marcus; Clive, Marcus' absent father, and Lindsey, his dappy new girlfriend (and her omnipresent mother!). All of the characters are a bit crazy, but just on the right side of believably crazy - unlike the extras in How To Be Good.The premise is bizarre - a single man, rich from the royalties of a single song his father wrote, goes in search of partners at a Single Parents' Therapy Group... and Marcus tries to feed a duck a whole loaf of baguette in one go, with disastrous consequences. All of it stays just on the credible line, which makes it funny but somehow never quite laugh out loud funny.more
I might have rated it more if I were into that style of books. It's actually fun to read it at one go it doesn't ever get boring. A boy who acts too old for his age with a mother who has opinions different than others would have. And a man who is 36 but has never worked and is more childlike than the boy. Who helps who most?more
This is a lot easier to read, but not quite as thought-provoking, as Hornby's previous offerings 'Hi Fidelity' and 'Fever Pitch'. Smooth as a strawberry milkshake, full of lively prose and clever observations, but feels a bit like 'chick-lit'. I was gutted along with the narrator over the trainers incident, but I found his logic in pursuing single mothers a bit odd, and hard to buy into.more
I had seen half of the film. I had heard about the author. So, by the time when I was suppose to read this novel, I knew a bit of what to expect. However, the novel surprised me. I had never read "funny" novels and I wondered how it would be. I found the novel entertaining, fun and touching. I loved the style with all the witty lines, the pure thought of people, the random details, the repetitive questioning from Marcus's mother. Each character introduced in the story had their story, their personality, their style and it was visible and clear. As the story progressed and developed, I found myself involved and hoping and frustrated and I absolutely loved this. For being the first novel that I read of Nick Hornby, this was indeed very promising.more
A great read, and if you've already seen the movie then get ready because the book ends differently. Hornby takes on some pretty heavy stuff (suicide, parenthood, loneliness) with a fantastic sense of humor and characters that keep you hanging on for more. The Nirvana/Kurt Cobain thread dates it a little bit, but in a fun way for those of us Gen Xers who were also in Junior High & High School during the early Nineties. Just a good domestic fiction.more
The best part of this book is definitely the scene with dead duck, so unfortunately killed with horrible French baguette.As regards „the models of family in modern society“, which is said to be the base level of the book (although it is cleverly hidden under Hornby’s neverending jokes), I would not take it much seriously. The book is fun, but nothing more. It is not analysis of society; much more something like classical and therefore pretty predictable „light“, undemanding reading.I disliked the chosen form of narrative, the story is too static because of it. And also a bit superficial. Although the characters love to talk about life and its perspectives, you do not see them to think. All their dialogues are quite poor, when they come to deal with those „philosophical“ topics. And the book’s conclusion suffers heavily from this.(In margine: The czech translation is also nothing to be admired.)more
I really enjoy Nick Hornby's writing and I really enjoyed this one. Having seen the movie first it is quite difficult to picture anyone except Hugh Grant in the title role. He really was a perfect choice for this I think.more
This is one of several books that I'll never tire of rereading. I wouldn't call the prose challenging (I finished it in an evening), but Hornby chooses his words well; it's quite clever and quotable. I'm a conservative woman from a nuclear family, yet I related quite strongly to both Will and Marcus, which I think speaks to Hornby's ability to craft multi-layered, interesting characters that are easy to become invested in. I've read High Fidelity, A Long Way Down, Fever Pitch, and How To Be Good, and this is by far my favorite of his novels. I'll definitely be reading more Hornby in the future.more
This is the story of Will, 36, a man who knows more about being a child than being an adult, and Marcus, 12, a boy who knows more about being an adult than being a child. This is the story of their unlikely relationship and how they each help the other to live a fuller, happier life. Definitely cute, definitely well-written, and definitely an easy read. I'd recommend this for anyone in the mood for a mental break.more
I love Nick Hornby. His narrator's voice is like that of a great friend - you appreciate his humor, you understand him well, sometimes he drives you crazy....all the elements that draw you in and keep you engrossed in the story. I cared about these characters, warts and all.more
I read this after seeing the movie which starred Hugh Grant; it was still a good read because it is not exactly like the film. The book is the tale of two lives; a 36 year old single man named Will who has no job, no kids, no wife, lives off the money his dad made from a xmas jingle and a geeky pre-teen called Marcus who needs help to fit in. Will and Marcus help each other to realise what is important in the world. A great YA book.more
Didn't expect to like this at all - book club read. Put off reading it til the last moment, but then devoured it in a day. Very light, easy to read, with hidden sharp-toothed biting depths. From the back and the movie blurbs, I was expecting it to be all about Will picking up single mothers, but that was only present at the beginning. And even that wasn't so bad. I rather liked Will; there are worse things to aspire to than what he called being a "serial nice guy". He was shallow and a liar, of course. I didn't mind his being unemployed. The other girls seemed to mind that more than his superficialness, which now strikes me as shallow itself.Hmm I remember saying that NH was good at getting you into the heads of his characters, but that unfortunately there wasn't much there. I'm not sure now that was fair. At the bookclub meeting, the topic of whether a male and a female could be friends - or even, would want to be friends - without some sort of attraction or sexual issue getting in the way came up, because of Will's perplexed reaction to Fiona. I stayed out of the argument, because I couldn't help thinking of Steve, and Jeff, and maybe even Daniel. I wanted to say they could, but my personal experience doesn't seem to support that.more
This is funny and wise. Will is a self absorbed man who does not have any relationships with anything until Marcus comes along and shakes him out of his apathy. The tender way that Marcus is portrayed is wonderful. We can laugh along, but there is something wide eyed and wonderful about this boy.more
I loved this story. Hornby gets all his characters to come alive and be likable. As shallow as Will is at the beginning of the book, I really liked him by the end of the book. This book is funny, warm-hearted, realistic and charming.Listening to it was especially nice because I listen to listen to an English accent.more
About a Boy by Nick Hornby is my first "lad-lit" novel! The story revolves around two "boys" - Will Freeman, a somewhat pathetic, and self-absorbed 36-year-old, who does nothing and is very proud of himself; and Marcus, an eccentric 12-year-old, with a suicidal mother. After dating Angie, Will comes to a realization that beautiful, broken, desperate single mothers are the sure way to give his sex life a boost. To facilitate his new wisdom, he decides to invent a child and a nasty ex-wife, and joins a single parents support group called SPAT - to meet single mothers. Through SPAT, Will meets Suzie, and her friend's son Marcus.After Marcus's mother Fiona attempts suicide, Marcus decides he needs more people in his life, friends that can help take up the slack from his depressed mother and absent father. So Marcus starts going around to Will's flat and hanging out after school. Slowly, before Will's even realizes it's happening, he becomes Marcus's friend/older brother/father figure. This admittedly oddball relationship between deep but insecure Marcus, and shallow but secure Will changes both of them in profound ways.Sounds good, right? Meh... unfortunately for me, I feel completely ambivalent about it. Of course I've seen the movie - I really like the movie - but the book, eh... Don't get me wrong, parts of the book were really entertaining. For example, take this passage from page 44: "Immediately Will understood Moira's sanctification of Lorena Bobbitt completely; by the time Suzie had finished her litany of treachery and deceit, he wanted to cut off his own penis with a kitchen knife."Most of the book was thought-provoking - two guys with no other choice but to change, fighting the inertia of their lives every step of the way. But some of the book is so hard to get through. Take for example this passage from page 229:"Those two words were 'the point'. As in, 'What's the point?'; 'I don't see the point'; 'there's just no point' (a phrase which omits the 'the', but one that counts anyway, because the 'the' wasn't the point of 'the point', really)..."Ooooh-kay...? I'm sure it's meant to be witty, but I just can't really appreciate it I guess.I suppose About a Boy would make a good "beach-read" type book, so I can recommend it to you as such. Other than that, I just wasn't impressed. The characters were all quite compelling: Will and his 30-minutes-at-a-time lifestyle; Marcus, who is being "taken apart" everyday at school; Fiona, Marcus's mother who's not sure she wants to be a mother at all; Ellie, scary goth-chick and Marcus's only friend at school - they are all well-written and fascinating. For me, the meat of the story was just not there. Overall, it was just disappointing.more
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Reviews

This is my favourite yet this year. Why?

Will let Marcus butter the crumpets because he loved doing it. It was much better than buttering toast, beccause with toast you had that thing where if the butter was too cold and hard all you could do was scrape off the brown that made toast what it was, and he hated that. With crumpets it was effortless: you just put a lump of butter on top, waited for a few seconds, then messed it about until it started to disappear into the holes. It was one of the few occasions in life where things seemed to go right every time.

Crumpets!more
It's been some years since I read this, but I know I bought it secondhand while on holiday in France & the UK (after having left a book behind in a French motel) and found it very enjoyable. It's difficult to recall details after such a long time, but I do know that I particularly liked the fact that this is not, despite initial appearances, a romance.more
A quick, easy and delightful read. The subject matter is not terribly complex, but what it lacks in deep, dark, existential angst, it makes up in its deft execution of the topic at hand. I think most people would consider this book a very easy read, the language is simple, there are parts that are embarrassingly funny (if you're reading it in public), and the characters are all genuinely flawed and likeable (albeit, caricatured for the purpose of the story).

This was the first novel I read after having seen the movie, and it was interesting to see the differences the director/screenwriter made. I liked both for different reasons, and I think the movie had strengths that the novel did not, and vice-versa - this novel/movie strengthened my conviction that movies and novels are two very, very different media, even when the underlying stories are the same.more

I love Hornby's ability to create odd, flawed, weird -- yet wholly sympathetic characters. In About A Boy, a nerdy 12 year-old is getting bullied at school, and he turns to a disconnected, slacker 30-something -- who invented a two year-old son to make it easier to meet single moms -- for help.

Along the way we become acquainted with a whole raft of interesting people, and like all Hornby's stuff, the dialogue crackles with energy.

Hornby's protagonists are usually cynical 30-something males who are lost and rudderless, and by the end of the book, this one is moving in a purposeful direction, though it's all done without any cloying, Hollywood-style (re: unbelievable) miracles.

It's another reason Hornby has become a favorite writer.more
When what I'm looking for is a fluffy, warm-fuzzy read, Nick Hornby is my go-to guy. It's "chick lit" that isn't cloyingly sentimental, but isn't something I need to analyze to death to truly appreciate. About a Boy has a certain heaviness to it--a suicidal mother, a man getting mixed up in a kid's life despite is best intentions--but it still manages to be reasonably light. It's exactly what I was looking for in an airport read (because standard chick lit would make me want to hurl myself from the plane).more
After starting off with The Knife of Never Letting Go and putting it down after 15 pages, I was looking for something a little different and a faster read for the end of January. I found that in About a Boy.It's not that the book was overly light, because it does deal with depression, bullying, and a suicide attempt (what is with me and these psych books lately?!). However, it was easy to read. The prose wasn't overly dense, and there were funny moments.I definitely "got" Marcus and the fact that he didn't fit in in school, because I never fit in either. His story is a great coming of age narrative, even if he is only 12.But the book isn't overly young-adult-y, as a book about a 12-year-old could get. It was as much about the adults as the kid. In fact, I think Will came of age too, not just Marcus. To me, both Marcus and Will are the "boy" of the title. Since it was written around the time of Kurt Cobain's death, I knew that event was going to play a part in the novel, and I found that fascinating. I like Nirvana and am a Cobain fan, so the way he came into the story was really cool for me.I was surprised at how quickly I was able to read the novel. It was just what I needed to finish out a solid January of reading.more
About a Boy is a quirky, funny novel, and although the ending is a little anticlimactic, I absolutely loved this story and its charming characters. Hornby is clearly is an excellent writer and I’m interested to read more of his books.more
The Moon CoinBy: Richard DueISBN: 9780983886723Published August 25, 2011 by Gibbering Gnome Press, A Division of Ingenious Inventions Run Amok, InkAvailable Format: ebookMy Rating: ★★★★★Lily and Jasper’s Uncle Ebb is full of mystery and fabulously imaginative tales—uh, stories packed with dragons, merfolk, giants, and faeries. But, it is all just fun and bedtime stories, or so they believe. When Uncle Ebb vanishes, Lily and Jasper stumble upon something much more powerful than they could have imagined. Lily is swept into a world she knows so very well but could not have believed truly existed. There’s no denying it now. Not only do she and her brother have to find their uncle, they must also help unite the moons of the realm and bring prosperity and peace once again. This book is one of the reasons why I absolutely love my “job”; I get to read these incredible (all too often undiscovered) gems and share them with all my friends and family! I never turn down a good children’s/YA book, so I immediately told Richard I would certainly love to read and review his book. I cannot express to you how impressed I have been! If I had to compare The Moon Coin to any other work, I’d say it is a cross between Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. It reads very well for middle grade and younger YA, like Narnia, with the immense fantasy of LOTR. The imagery is so captivating, Lily is so mature, and the reader is swept along her adventure as if we are riding the Rinn or facing the dragon ourselves. It is everything you want a great fantasy to be and then some. I shared this book with my six-year-old as our bedtime story this week. I would read to him until he went to sleep, then continue reading ahead. The next evening, I would condense the parts I had read and then continue on with the next chapters. He was always full of fantastic questions about the story and the characters involved. He loved the illustrations and, of course, wished there were more. I actually do too, but everything is told so well, I had no trouble whatsoever imagining the story for myself.The Moon Coin most certainly rates up there with my absolute favorite books and is in the top three of my favorite children’s books. I hope Richard will publish a print version! Everyone must give this one a try; you won’t be disappointed. Mr. Due, PLEASE don’t take long getting the next in the series ready for us … There are so many mysteries to solve, I may simply burst with anticipation!more
This book isn’t about much – I mean, there’s not much plot. What it is about is people trying to figure out their lives, just as we all are doing. Each character seems like someone you might know: a friend, an acquaintance, someone you glance at in a coffeeshop and wonder about. They bumble through their lives, and in the process, they come together and make one another’s lives a little better.At the heart of the story is a boy – a 12-year-old outsider who can’t fit in to his London school and whose mother has recently attempted suicide. He meets a man – an aimless, rich, 30-nothing trying desperately to fill his days while avoiding becoming connected to anyone. Almost against their wills, the two become friends and manage to help each other make the human connections they’ve been needing.more
If you were a fan of the movie version like me, you will love the novel that came first. Let me start by saying that the movie adaptation was remarkably faithful. Not only did they keep the plot, but the rhythm of the novel was maintained as well.Which just goes to show, when something isn't broken, don't fix it. About a Boy was simply perfect the way that it was, no need to mess with that sort of brilliance.For those that didn't see the movie (which you should), it follows a man who hasn't grown up whose life collides with a teenage boy whose life is too hard. They both learn something, and in the end everything falls into place. The ending is in no way trite though. Yes, people fall in love and things end a bit happily-ever-after, but the novel at no time feels inauthentic. It reads like real life.The satire was brilliantly executed, the characters believable and sharp, and the plot was oddly endearing. About a Boy is a rather quirky little novel, but I loved it for that exact reason. It was strange and sweet and crazy. It may also be one of my new favourite novels. How can you blame me though?So, needless to say, I loved this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough!!!more
So glad that I've finally read this - I took full advantage of a day off and didn't put it down (apart from when we watched the film).The characters felt really real. Will should not have been that likeable, but he was; I just wanted to give Marcus a hug. :-)Really clever how it had moments that were hilarious followed by really sad bits, then bits that made you laugh, but shouldn't have because it was totally inappropriate.The ending was different to the film and I think both worked in their own way.more
About a Boy is a funny and touching book about an adult who needs a lesson in being adult and a teenager who needs a lesson in being a teenager. Of course they learn these lessons from spending time together, otherwise there would be no story. But Nick Hornby lets them learn in an endearing, gripping, and realistic way.more
Will has lots of money and no life experience. Marcus has no friends, no money and no hope of being rescued from his slide in social exile. Fiona is a depressed hippie, trying to raise a 12-year-old son in North London. They meet because Will decides single mothers are an as yet untapped resource. They actually end up having quite a good time together.This is the first Nick Hornby I've enjoyed. He uses very different characters from the other two, which were replete with emo 30-somethings struggling with life. In this novel, Will has no struggles, Marcus is all struggle but is twelve (and excellently portrayed, I thought), and Fiona is depressed and really struggling - but crucially Fiona is never the narrator.I do find it a bit odd that Hornby's novels are consistently and unrelentingly set in Holloway. Clearly I'm not cool enough to live there and to get the in-jokes.All the spare characters were well-developed and witty as well - Rachel, the beautiful single mother with the homicidal son; Ellie, who worships Kurt Cobain and adopts Marcus; Clive, Marcus' absent father, and Lindsey, his dappy new girlfriend (and her omnipresent mother!). All of the characters are a bit crazy, but just on the right side of believably crazy - unlike the extras in How To Be Good.The premise is bizarre - a single man, rich from the royalties of a single song his father wrote, goes in search of partners at a Single Parents' Therapy Group... and Marcus tries to feed a duck a whole loaf of baguette in one go, with disastrous consequences. All of it stays just on the credible line, which makes it funny but somehow never quite laugh out loud funny.more
I might have rated it more if I were into that style of books. It's actually fun to read it at one go it doesn't ever get boring. A boy who acts too old for his age with a mother who has opinions different than others would have. And a man who is 36 but has never worked and is more childlike than the boy. Who helps who most?more
This is a lot easier to read, but not quite as thought-provoking, as Hornby's previous offerings 'Hi Fidelity' and 'Fever Pitch'. Smooth as a strawberry milkshake, full of lively prose and clever observations, but feels a bit like 'chick-lit'. I was gutted along with the narrator over the trainers incident, but I found his logic in pursuing single mothers a bit odd, and hard to buy into.more
I had seen half of the film. I had heard about the author. So, by the time when I was suppose to read this novel, I knew a bit of what to expect. However, the novel surprised me. I had never read "funny" novels and I wondered how it would be. I found the novel entertaining, fun and touching. I loved the style with all the witty lines, the pure thought of people, the random details, the repetitive questioning from Marcus's mother. Each character introduced in the story had their story, their personality, their style and it was visible and clear. As the story progressed and developed, I found myself involved and hoping and frustrated and I absolutely loved this. For being the first novel that I read of Nick Hornby, this was indeed very promising.more
A great read, and if you've already seen the movie then get ready because the book ends differently. Hornby takes on some pretty heavy stuff (suicide, parenthood, loneliness) with a fantastic sense of humor and characters that keep you hanging on for more. The Nirvana/Kurt Cobain thread dates it a little bit, but in a fun way for those of us Gen Xers who were also in Junior High & High School during the early Nineties. Just a good domestic fiction.more
The best part of this book is definitely the scene with dead duck, so unfortunately killed with horrible French baguette.As regards „the models of family in modern society“, which is said to be the base level of the book (although it is cleverly hidden under Hornby’s neverending jokes), I would not take it much seriously. The book is fun, but nothing more. It is not analysis of society; much more something like classical and therefore pretty predictable „light“, undemanding reading.I disliked the chosen form of narrative, the story is too static because of it. And also a bit superficial. Although the characters love to talk about life and its perspectives, you do not see them to think. All their dialogues are quite poor, when they come to deal with those „philosophical“ topics. And the book’s conclusion suffers heavily from this.(In margine: The czech translation is also nothing to be admired.)more
I really enjoy Nick Hornby's writing and I really enjoyed this one. Having seen the movie first it is quite difficult to picture anyone except Hugh Grant in the title role. He really was a perfect choice for this I think.more
This is one of several books that I'll never tire of rereading. I wouldn't call the prose challenging (I finished it in an evening), but Hornby chooses his words well; it's quite clever and quotable. I'm a conservative woman from a nuclear family, yet I related quite strongly to both Will and Marcus, which I think speaks to Hornby's ability to craft multi-layered, interesting characters that are easy to become invested in. I've read High Fidelity, A Long Way Down, Fever Pitch, and How To Be Good, and this is by far my favorite of his novels. I'll definitely be reading more Hornby in the future.more
This is the story of Will, 36, a man who knows more about being a child than being an adult, and Marcus, 12, a boy who knows more about being an adult than being a child. This is the story of their unlikely relationship and how they each help the other to live a fuller, happier life. Definitely cute, definitely well-written, and definitely an easy read. I'd recommend this for anyone in the mood for a mental break.more
I love Nick Hornby. His narrator's voice is like that of a great friend - you appreciate his humor, you understand him well, sometimes he drives you crazy....all the elements that draw you in and keep you engrossed in the story. I cared about these characters, warts and all.more
I read this after seeing the movie which starred Hugh Grant; it was still a good read because it is not exactly like the film. The book is the tale of two lives; a 36 year old single man named Will who has no job, no kids, no wife, lives off the money his dad made from a xmas jingle and a geeky pre-teen called Marcus who needs help to fit in. Will and Marcus help each other to realise what is important in the world. A great YA book.more
Didn't expect to like this at all - book club read. Put off reading it til the last moment, but then devoured it in a day. Very light, easy to read, with hidden sharp-toothed biting depths. From the back and the movie blurbs, I was expecting it to be all about Will picking up single mothers, but that was only present at the beginning. And even that wasn't so bad. I rather liked Will; there are worse things to aspire to than what he called being a "serial nice guy". He was shallow and a liar, of course. I didn't mind his being unemployed. The other girls seemed to mind that more than his superficialness, which now strikes me as shallow itself.Hmm I remember saying that NH was good at getting you into the heads of his characters, but that unfortunately there wasn't much there. I'm not sure now that was fair. At the bookclub meeting, the topic of whether a male and a female could be friends - or even, would want to be friends - without some sort of attraction or sexual issue getting in the way came up, because of Will's perplexed reaction to Fiona. I stayed out of the argument, because I couldn't help thinking of Steve, and Jeff, and maybe even Daniel. I wanted to say they could, but my personal experience doesn't seem to support that.more
This is funny and wise. Will is a self absorbed man who does not have any relationships with anything until Marcus comes along and shakes him out of his apathy. The tender way that Marcus is portrayed is wonderful. We can laugh along, but there is something wide eyed and wonderful about this boy.more
I loved this story. Hornby gets all his characters to come alive and be likable. As shallow as Will is at the beginning of the book, I really liked him by the end of the book. This book is funny, warm-hearted, realistic and charming.Listening to it was especially nice because I listen to listen to an English accent.more
About a Boy by Nick Hornby is my first "lad-lit" novel! The story revolves around two "boys" - Will Freeman, a somewhat pathetic, and self-absorbed 36-year-old, who does nothing and is very proud of himself; and Marcus, an eccentric 12-year-old, with a suicidal mother. After dating Angie, Will comes to a realization that beautiful, broken, desperate single mothers are the sure way to give his sex life a boost. To facilitate his new wisdom, he decides to invent a child and a nasty ex-wife, and joins a single parents support group called SPAT - to meet single mothers. Through SPAT, Will meets Suzie, and her friend's son Marcus.After Marcus's mother Fiona attempts suicide, Marcus decides he needs more people in his life, friends that can help take up the slack from his depressed mother and absent father. So Marcus starts going around to Will's flat and hanging out after school. Slowly, before Will's even realizes it's happening, he becomes Marcus's friend/older brother/father figure. This admittedly oddball relationship between deep but insecure Marcus, and shallow but secure Will changes both of them in profound ways.Sounds good, right? Meh... unfortunately for me, I feel completely ambivalent about it. Of course I've seen the movie - I really like the movie - but the book, eh... Don't get me wrong, parts of the book were really entertaining. For example, take this passage from page 44: "Immediately Will understood Moira's sanctification of Lorena Bobbitt completely; by the time Suzie had finished her litany of treachery and deceit, he wanted to cut off his own penis with a kitchen knife."Most of the book was thought-provoking - two guys with no other choice but to change, fighting the inertia of their lives every step of the way. But some of the book is so hard to get through. Take for example this passage from page 229:"Those two words were 'the point'. As in, 'What's the point?'; 'I don't see the point'; 'there's just no point' (a phrase which omits the 'the', but one that counts anyway, because the 'the' wasn't the point of 'the point', really)..."Ooooh-kay...? I'm sure it's meant to be witty, but I just can't really appreciate it I guess.I suppose About a Boy would make a good "beach-read" type book, so I can recommend it to you as such. Other than that, I just wasn't impressed. The characters were all quite compelling: Will and his 30-minutes-at-a-time lifestyle; Marcus, who is being "taken apart" everyday at school; Fiona, Marcus's mother who's not sure she wants to be a mother at all; Ellie, scary goth-chick and Marcus's only friend at school - they are all well-written and fascinating. For me, the meat of the story was just not there. Overall, it was just disappointing.more
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