1. Objective Data:
About a boy, Penguin Books, London, 2000-13, 307 pp. (first published 1998).
2. First Personal Reaction:
I couldn’t choose the book. This year we read all the same book.
I like this book!! It’s a story which I can understand, and I like the subject. It’s a funny book with a profound sense.
3: To Go Into:
About a boy is about the lifes of two boys. The story takes place in London, somewhere in 1994. Will is a 36-year old man who still acts like a teenager. He is very trendy and finds it very important to be ‘cool’. He knows whitch sneakers to wear, whitch music to listen to and whitch clubs to go. He lives a very isolated life in his stylish apartment, doesn’t have any friends and fills up his day with ‘units’ (for example: going to a record shop is one unit) because he doesn’t have a job because of his heirated wealth.
Then there is another boy, Marcus. Marcus is twelve years old but acts like a grown-up. He takes care of his suicidal, hippy mother and wants her to be happy. He is being bullied by kids from his school because he listens to Mozart instead of ‘Snoop Doggy Dogg’ and wears sandals instead of sneakers like the rest of them.
Will discovers a great (easy!) way to score with women: at single parents groups. He joins SPAT (Single Parents Alone Together) and there he meets Marcus. They somehow become friends and Marcus intrudes in Wills life even though Will doesn’t want him to, but he gets used to it. They see that they can learn a lot from each other. Will shows Marcus how to act like a normal kid and Marcus helps Will growing up.
Marcus and Will are just exactly each others opposite. But at the other hand, they have things in comment. Like that they are both quite lonely and they both don’t have any friends and that they both don’t exactly know how to behave when they are with other people.
The subject is very dark and sad (Marcus mother wants to kill herself and there is a lot of drama in it) but at the same time it’s hugely funny. Especially the passage where Marcus kills a duck in the park with a piece of bread. Marcus was just trying to hit a duck with a piece of bread, like he tries a lot of things (reading thoughts and getting the highest score on the gameboy ? but he never managed to). But then he actually hits the duck and even was so unlucky to pick one duck that was that pathetic to die and turned over in the water.
The funny thing about this passage are the thoughts of Marcus. He feels very sorry and is very bothered by the fact that the only thing he’d ever achieved through trying was something that he hadn’t want to do that much in the first place.
At the end of the book, Will, Marcus’ mother and Marcus became friends. Will has become more social and can handle a relationship and Marcus has become more confident and is not being bullied anymore. At the last page, Marcus and Will both know that everything is going to be OK.
Survey of the contents:
This book is a not difficult written book. It’s a long story, but the style of writing is not too difficult.
The story takes place in London, somewhere in 1994. So the story is still relevant.
The main characters are two persons, Will and Marcus.
Will is very superficial because he is doing nothing. He doesn’t go o work or something. His day is watching to the t.v., goning to shops and all that kind of stuff. Will has no relationships, except Marcus.
Marcus is a very intelligent boy. He learns Will a lot. Will learns Marcus also a lot, but no intelligent things. More how to dress and how to react on people.
There are different situations. A difficult situation is the mother of Marcus. She is a problem for Marcus, she can’t bring Marcus up because she has her own problems. Another situation is Will with SPAT. He go to this organisation looking for a girlfriend. But the problem was, he has no children, so he isn’t a Single Parent. So he make a son up in his mind. His name is Ned, and is 2 years old. Will get problems about this not real son, because he lie, and that’s no good behaviour.
Looking for the theme:
The theme of the book is the relationship between two ‘boys’. Two very different boys. So they learn of each other. Typical textparts for this theme are the meetings of Will and Marcus in Will’s home. Their conversations are very typical.
The link between the title and the book is not very difficult. The title ‘About a boy’ is a logical title. But I think that the word ‘boy’ is for the two boys in the book. For Marcus AND Will.
Place in the literature history:
The first book was published in 1998. So its very modern literature.
Nick Hornby was born on April 17, 1957 in Maidenhead, England. Nick is a son of the businessman Sir Derek Hornby. When Nick was 11 years old his parents divorced. He became a dedicated reader, absorbing everything, even comic books. As an English Literature major at Cambridge University, he began composing stage plays, screenplays, and radio plays in his spare time. A professor then introduced Nick to novelist Anne Tyler’s Dinner at a Homesick Restaurant, which inspired him to write prose.
After graduating, Nick worked a series of jobs, he taught grade school, gave language classes, and served as host for Samsung executives visiting the U.K., before becoming a paid journalist.
He composed a pop culture column for the Independent, and wrote about books and sports for publications like Esquire and the Sunday Times. In 1992, he published his first book, Contemporary American Fiction, a collection of essays on American writers such as Ann Beattie, Raymond Carver, and Tobias Wolff.
Nick finished his first novel, High Fidelity, in 1995.
Nick followed its success with the screen adaptation of Fever Pitch (1997), a four-star dramatic comedy starring Colin Firth as a schoolteacher struggling to sustain a romance against the backdrop of Arsenal’s first championship season in 18 years. He also made a cameo appearance in the film.
In 1998, Nick published About a Boy, a novel inspired in part by the children (especially the badly behaved adolescent girls) that he encountered as a teacher. His most favorably reviewed book to date, About a Boy, helped its author earn the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999.
Unlike with Fever Pitch, Nick did not pen the film adaptations of High Fidelity and About a Boy.
Now he live in Highbury, North London.
The positive parts of the book are the funny parts. The meetings of Will and Marcus are most of the time funny because the observations of Marcus. This story is not very exciting because of the style of writing.
The passage that striked my attention was the passage that the mother of Marcus had tried to kill herself. It’s difficult to explain why, but I think it’s because the reaction of Marcus. He was very precarious. He didn’t start to cry…
The passages I didn’t like were the passage with the considerations of Will and Marcus. Sometimes this passages were very boring…
There is a film made of this book. I saw only the first half hour of the movie, and it was the same as the book. The same style and same events.
The theme of the book is a little boring. The events are nice, but their are many considerations. This theme is not a theme I know, because I never gone trough.
The usage is not difficult, it’s an easy and normal language. I could read it very easily.
If someone had to read an English book this is a good one. It’s not too difficult and it is a book of this time, so not too boring.