About a boy, some of you might remember the movie adaptation...
I've never been a huge fan of Hugh Grant but I've seen this. However I wasn't aware I had picked this novel until I had begun reading it. I read it in Dutch which will explain why the title didn't hint me towards it being adapted already.
Luckily for me it's been a quite a while since I've seen it and I couldn't remember much of it. It didn't leave a big impression on me back then either.
But as with so many adaptation, the novel is much much better.
Nick Hornby writes from a male perspective, both from the adult and the boy's point of view.
Will Freeman, a careless man without any responsibilities or ties meets Marcus Brewer who's a boy on the verge of a family crisis.
How they meet is a very hilarious situation because Will pretends to have a son in order to meet single mothers. Marcus being a twelve year old boy newly living in London and having trouble to adapt at school, turns to Will for advise because his mother is going through a personal crisis and isn't able to help him.
Gradually Will learns what it is to be responsible and to care for another and Marcus learns how to be a normal teenager instead of overthinking it all.
About a boy is written fluently. It's read very quickly and it never loses its pace. You want to know what happens to them and because it alternates between Will and Marcus you'll see the same situations but interpreted differently which makes it hilarious at times, but sad at others.
Marcus is kindhearted and doesn't understand sarcasm, which makes him an odd match to Will whose main worries is how to kill time and avoid human connection other than in the bedroom. He's forced to come down from his solitary point of view to learn how to care for others.
The story ends a bit ambiguous. On one side you have Will whose learned how to love and to care and that worrying is just part of life. On the other side you have Marcus who has shed his grownup worrying aside and is now being a normal teenager, instead of someone who wants to please others.
I liked reading it, but it's a novel I'll soon forget too. I've finished it a week ago, and I already have trouble trying to find the feeling again which it gave me. Of course, I'm reading something so good I'm awestruck, which might contribute to the fact that About a boy has faded so quickly.
I'm giving it a 7 out of 10.