Sunday, October 5, 2014

About a Boy by Nick Hornby

'How cool was Will Freeman?'

Too cool! At thirty-six, he's as hip as a teenager. He's single, child-free, goes to the right clubs and knows which trainers to wear. He's also found a great way to score with women: attend single parents' groups full of available (and grateful) mothers, all hoping to meet a Nice Guy.

Which is how Will meets Marcus, the oldest twelve-year-old on the planet. Marcus is a bit strange: he listens to Joni Mitchell and Mozart, looks after his mum and has never owned a pair of trainers. But Marcus latches on to Will - and won't let go. Can Will teach Marcus how to grow up cool? And can Marcus help Will just to grow up?

My Thoughts:
I only really picked this book up because I love the movie. And I just found out that it was a book before it got adapted into a movie so I had to read it!

I really loved the tone of this novel. It dealt with some serious stuff but it never felt depressing. And I thought it really entertaining that Will, the 36-year-old single guy who does nothing all day, was kind of embarrassed and almost apologetic about the way he lives. Yet he never did anything to change it. I mean, how many of us have things like that about us? It's awkward, it's embarrassing but we keep right on doing it. I kind of loved that. The honesty with which subjects were broached was just perfect. Will was really likable, naturally, with his ridiculous lifestyle and humorous outlook on said lifestyle. 

Marcus, the boy, the other protagonist, was also highly entertaining. He wasn't dumb but it took him a long time to figure some things out. And reading about the way Marcus's mom, Fiona, unintentionally raised Marcus to basically be a social outcast made me think about my own parenting style. "Should I let my kids watch more TV? Should I introduce them to different rock stars just so they know who they are?" And then I slapped myself on the forehead because that's dumb. There are a lot of things that help people connect but I don't think it's necessary that everyone know what's popular in order to make friends. So I kind of found that message in the book annoying; If you know what's popular and how to dress you will have friends. Granted, it helps, but sometimes weirdos are the best. Anyway, end rant.

One thing that kind of bothered me was all the suicide stuff. I know that there are people who suffer from thoughts of this. It has affected my life. But this book somehow implied that most people suffer from thoughts of suicide. I don't. Never have. I would hope that most people are like me. Really, no one could ever be sure how many people deal with suicidal thoughts but I am optimistic that most of the world's population doesn't. I guess I understand how people with these tendencies might feel a sense of connection and maybe hope from reading this book but for me it just made me fell a bit sad for all those who suffer this way. 

So, overall, I really like this book. I like Hornby's writing style, his humor and the way he tackled heavy subjects. There were those two things that bothered me but other than that I really loved it. Although, and this is totally unusual for me, I actually liked the way the movie ended better than the book. The movie felt more hopeful and funny. The book felt more serious and real. But it was good. And I'd like to read more by Hornby. 

Sexual Content: Moderate
Language: Heavy
Violence: None
Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate

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