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About A Boy by Nick Hornby - Book Review


About A Boy
Nick Hornby

Fiction-Net Rating 5 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

Marcus is twelve. Will is thirty-six. Why can't they both act their age? In his second novel, Nick Hornby explores the connections people make when the so-called ideal family model does not apply. As he did with football in Fever Pitch and with record collections in High Fidelity, he keeps his eye on the subject while revealing much more - always cutting through received rubbish with a singular sense of purpose. And in the process he connects with a huge number of people who find his view of the world funny, wise and disarmingly entertaining.

We Say

Well. That back-cover blurb is complete twaddle and, had I not read Nick Hornby's previous work, I doubt I would particularly want to give this book a shot! One day, perhaps, book covers will simply tell us what the book is about and leave us to make our own minds up. Perhaps.

Truth is, I have read Hornby's previous novel 'High Fidelity' and rate it highly. I suspect many other people will purchase About A Boy for the same reason. They will be in for a small shock, though, because the two are quite different.

About A Boy follows Will, a single thirty-six year old man who is financially comfortable with little or no effort, thanks to the recording royalties of a relative. Deciding that single mothers are the easiest way for this quite shallow man to flit from one relationship to the next, he joins up with SPAT (Single Parents - Alone Together) and it's here where the real fun begins. Will creates a fictional child for himself and meets dysfunctional family Fiona and her twelve year old son, Marcus. The deep but insecure Marcus and the shallow but secure Will do not immediately hit it off but become good friends, quickly finding themselves somewhat reliant on each other for quite different reasons.

Yes, a bit different to Nick Hornby's previous work but equally impressive with many side-splitting moments. About A Boy has the right balance of humour, reflection on life and has something of a serious side when the time is right. Another cracker from Hornby.

It's worth mentioning for those of you who have seen the movie that this book tells a far more detailed story than its on-screen counterpart. The movie does a reasonably faithful job of telling the story but it does ignore some important characters and the movie ends far earlier than the book. If you enjoyed the movie then you should definitely read this book to get the full story because you've missed out on rather a lot.

Review by: Rob Cook

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