“Will is thirty-six, comfortable and child-free. And he's discovered a brilliant new way of meeting women - through single-parent groups. Marcus is twelve and a little bit nerdish: he's got the kind of mother who made him listen to Joni Mitchell rather than Nirvana. Perhaps they can help each other out a little bit, and both can start to act their age.” Source
The 2002 film
adaptation of About A Boy has been one of my favourites since I went to see it
at the cinema when I was thirteen and in the same way that most people worry
that a film or television adaptation will ruin their favourite book I worried it
would make me see the film differently. So, despite watching the film countless
times over the last ten years I’ve only just gotten around to reading the book and since I’m used to writing about films rather than books it seemed like an
appropriate choice to ease me into my first review here at Blogger’s Bookshelf!
This is the first of
Nick Hornby’s books that I have read (although I did also recently pick up Slam
for 10p!) and I found his writing style surprisingly casual and very easy to follow.
Since I read this book alongside A Game Of Thrones, which is famous for its'
intricate web of storylines and wide range of characters, I found About A Boy a nice
break from that more complicated world. One of my favourite aspects of the layout was the fact
that the chapters alternate between Will and Marcus’ stories which at first seem
very separate but soon become intertwined as their lives cross paths.
Since at this point I practically
know the film off by heart it would be difficult not to make
comparisons and as I read I became particularly interested in how the screenplay I know and love was
adapted from those original words. Of course, knowing the film so well did also mean that
I pictured the characters with the familiar famous faces I’m used to seeing
play them, however after reading the descriptions I do think the film
was cast very well. Although the book deals with some difficult topics
including depression and bullying, Nick Hornby manages to do so with a unique
sarcastic humour which again, fortunately was well reflected in the film adaptation.
Early on in the book there are a lot of similarities to the film and even an abundance of quotes I
recognised which had been lifted directly from the text, however this is not the
case later on as the ending of the story differs completely from its cinematic
companion. The film’s ending is somewhat your typical Hollywood feel-good
conclusion where as author Nick Hornby created a much more satisfying version
of events. Nirvana play a critical part throughout the book but become
particularly important within the last few chapters which take place at the
time of Kurt Cobain’s death, something which was not touched upon in the film. However
the exclusion of this element doesn’t hurt the film in any way but rather allows it to
come to the same conclusion via a different route as in both formats we get to
see the development of Will and Marcus’ characters which is the real purpose of
At only 278 pages its definitely a quick read and due to the short length of the chapters
and concise writing style its also very easy to pick up and put down if you
don’t have a lot of time.
I would recommend About A
Boy if you enjoy light-hearted but realistic novels, stories set in London or
if like me, you are a fan of the film adaptation and want to read the alternate ending - 5/5 stars