Hello, today, I want to talk about a book I’ve just finished reading called About a Boy by Nick Hornby. It’s told from the viewpoints of a 12 year old boy who is seen as uncool, and a 30 something year old man who randomly comes into his life. The book came out in 1998 which was the year I was born, and in 2002 a film staring Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult. I’ve also just done some googling and in 2014, an American sitcom was made based on the book but I do not want to ever see it.
The film is one of my favourites, something that truly brings joy and comfort, so when my gran found me a copy of the book in a charity shop years ago, I didn’t think it would take me this long to start reading it. But now I have and I’m going to talk about it with a little comparison to the film, so there will be spoilers.
So straight off the bat, the first 2 thirds of the book are spot on to the film adaptation. It was really fun getting to read the sides of the characters and see how that would be turned into narration from the actors. One of the reasons I love the film is so that we can truly know their thoughts as they do different things, so I loved how the language and emotion of the book was well transformed into a script.
Now looking to the end, I didn’t expect it to change so it was quite refreshing really to be given a different viewpoint. I can understand why the film is different, to give it the beautiful and funny and inspirational end that it does have, whereas the book is slightly harsher in its execution. It’s a coming of age story and where the film leaves us with this larger than life feeling of love, the book gives us something realistic, but still with a comedic charm.
The chapters take it in turns to let us see the world through Will and Marcus’ eyes and I just find this difference between a 12 year old and a 30 year old so interesting. I think the blurb on the back of my book says how Marcus wants will to teach him how to be cool but it’s actually Marcus teaching will how to live and love. I also love how it looks at different families and friends and the role each individual person plays in someones life. Being there or not affects things, deciding to do something or holding back affects things, talking outlaid or not affects things, and I love how this book truly delves into the idea of life and how we all so differently live it.
If I hadn’t have seen and loved the film for so many years before reading, I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed it that much, as I’m not the target audience or the characters. It’s also old and the way it treats women isn’t always good, but that’s the point of the story and the change we see is really lovely. But I really do recommend it as a coming of age novel which I never really thought of it as until now. It’s something that I could read as a 22 year old and love, but also my mum or gran could read it and love it also. It has this brilliant flexibility and it’s definately one I’d recommend and want to read again.
Thanks for reading, have a great day!