In honor of National Book Lovers Day yesterday it’s only fitting that this post be a book review. I believe About a Boy by Nick Hornby is just the ticket. The story is nothing more than a slice of life with real characters in real situations feeling real feelings and thinking real thoughts. I bought the book at a local bookstore because I had seen the movie and loved the story.
Really, there are two boys in this story: Marcus, a 12-year-old boy, and Will, a 36-year-old boy-at-heart. Will is a superficial bachelor who lives off the royalties he earns from his father’s one-hit-wonder Christmas tune, a song he despises. He treats life as an experiment, always trying new schemes to fill in the void, which he doesn’t understand. Marcus is an odd, blunt, and worldly young boy who both puzzles and startles his depressive mother, Fiona.
Through a random series of events these three characters come together. They each learn from the others some of life’s lessons they had been missing out on. Will learns what it means to be a grown-up and develops from an empty shell into someone with substance. Marcus opens up to some harsh truths of life and learns the importance of staying true to one’s self, no matter how peculiar. Fiona ascends from a very dark place and discovers a new reason to live. All this occurs through their ups and downs of life.
Briefly, I would like to compare the book with the movie, though it was not National Movie Lover’s Day yesterday (it doesn’t exist… I looked). I have to say that it was a true representation. There were some completely invented scenes present in the movie and many plot twists were abandoned (though plot twists were few and far between in the book). However, Will’s character practically screams, “Hugh Grant,” and the general idea was translated appropriately.
While the characters and the writing fall a bit flat, I appreciated the genuine humor Hornby presented and the realness of their struggles. This book is worth reading, especially as a quick summer book and if you enjoy British humor.
How did you like About a Boy (the book or movie)?