|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Length: 307 pages
Genre: Fiction, Humour
Start Date: Sometime in 2009
Finished Date: Sometime in 2009
Where Found: Chapters-Indigo
Why Read: I loved High Fidelity and the movie version of About a Boy.
Summary: A rich, self-involved and non-working Will becomes an unlikely friend/mentor to 12-year-old Marcus, an outcast in need of a father figure with a single weepy mom who is part of a support group Will joins to meet women.
Will is admittedly shallow. In fact, he is the first to admit it. He just doesn’t see the point in work, family, or pleasure that money can’t buy. Thank goodness this is a Hornby novel with biting, downright scathing humour or Will’s wallows in self-involvement would be just pitiful.
Enter Marcus, a sweet but lonely young boy sick and tired of his mom’s daily sob fests over her divorce who wants a friend but instead finds a highly unlikely father figure in Will after he joins a single mother’s support group in an absurd attempt to earn a sympathetic companion by claiming a fictional son, Ned.
The funniest stories are often about mismatched individuals who gradually learn from each other, either for love or friendship. Hornby completely twists this formula around: Marcus can’t possibly learn anything decent from Will, except that he is capable of helping others learn, as well as recognizing and accepting the craziness of his life by discarding the normalcy he skeptically yearns for in his early adolescence.
Hornby is one of the funniest writers around. He chews up & spits out pop culture, focusing on music in High Fidelity and conventional relationships in About a Boy (though music is a central motif). The movie improves on the book with the perfectly cast Hugh Grant as Will and trims some unnecessary subplots that weigh the last half of the book. Overall, I would recommend it for a fun read and rent the movie while you’re at it.
Rank: (B)- Very Good, Recommend