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About A Boy | Nick Hornby | Reviewed by Erin

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 this story.

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


  1. That's so funny :) ones I actually wrote a comparison of the film and the book for a class in school! I really like both the film and the book :)

  2. This is great! I've always wondered what the book would be like, compared to the movie, but have been scared to read it because I was scared I would end up not liking one of them...or something!! But this has made me want to read the book! I'm going to look out for it in the opshops! :D

  3. Love the film, will definitely pick up the book at some point!
    I like how you mentioned that the book doesn't have a particularly rosey ending, but I think I'll actually enjoy that (doesn't that make me sound morbid!). Sometimes films forget to be realistic in favour of leaving the audience with that happy feeling when they leave the cinema! xoxo

  4. Hey there! Happy to have found your blog via the Tumblr "book blog" tag! I'm also happy to be your 30th follower here :) I'm new to the book blog scene, too, but I've already met tons of interesting people doing it. Your writing is really clear and concise, and your review was a joy to read! Thanks.



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