About a Boy

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1st edition UK hardcover.

About a Boy is a novel written by Nick Hornby and published on 1998-08-01. The story is set in London in 1993, and follows two people: a self-absorbed man named Will who, in an effort to find women eager to sleep with him, pretends to be a single father, and an oblivious 11-year-old boy named Marcus, son of a single new age mother. The book was also made into a movie in 2002 and a TV series in 2014.

I had heard about the movie before I even knew it was a book because a girl I knew was a huge fan of Hugh Grant. Later, after enjoying the movie High Fidelity so much I read the book, I became a fan of Nick Hornby's work and started reading his other books. It took me a long time to finally read About a Boy, but when I finally did, I loved it.


I don't own the book, but have listened to it as an audio book.



  • The book is fantastic. The entire time I was reading it, I didn't want to put it down. It deals with serious issues like divorce, bullying, and suicide, but still manages to be really funny and interesting.
  • Despite his shallowness, or, perhaps because of it, Will is a very exciting character. I like how, even though he doesn't need to work, he still has passion. In the beginning, that passion is just about being cool and meeting women, but, later, as he meets new people outside of his comfort zone, his passion shifts to caring for Marcus.
  • Marcus's inability to grasp sarcasm (perhaps Asperger's syndrome?) is quite funny.
  • Ellie meeting the owner of the shop window she shattered was a great scene. It showed not only growth for her, but also Marcus because he realized that she was less guided-missile and more nitroglycerine.


  • The primary female character, Fiona, doesn't have much personality of her own. She's described as being deep and aware, but she's written more as a damsel in distress than an independent woman. She also seems to forgive Will's blatant lies a bit too readily.


  • Nothing.