My reading of “About a boy” by Nick Hornby

In this blogpost I am going to write a “double entry journal”, which is a way to reflect on the reading and to give examples from the book that are important. This is also a good way to test the understanding of the text.



This wasn’t right. He was only a kid. He’d be thinking that more and more recently, as he got older and older. He didn’t know why. Maybe it was because, when he really was only a kid, he wasn’t capable of recognizing it- you had to be a certain age before you realized that you were actually quite young. Or maybe when he was little, there was nothing to worry about- five or six years ago his mum never spent half the day shivering under a coat watching stupid cartoons, and even if she had he might not thought it was anything out of the ordinary.

page 44

The book has a few themes, but the most important ones are: finding yourself, having responsibilities and the relationships between people. This applies not only to the main character, but to everyone appearing in the novel. The people in the story learn quite a lot about each of these aspects throughout the book, which makes them realize that growing up, or being an adult is not that easy as it sounds. While the 12 year old Marcus has to face up the difficulties of living with a depressed mother, the only problems Will, a single 36 year old man has, is how to fill up his free time.


Apart from Roger, not much had happened in London yet. They’d only been here for a few weeks- they’d moved on the first day of the summer holidays- and so far it had been pretty boring. […] And they’d been to have a look at his school, which was big and horrible, and wandered around their new neighbourhood, which was called Holloway, and had nice bits and ugly bits, and they’d had lots of talks about London, and the changes that were happening to them, and how they were all for the best, probably. But really they were sitting around waiting for their London lives to begin.

page 4

The story is set mainly in London, at the end also in Cambridge. The main places are usually Wills or Marcus’s flat and the school. Places like the park, train station or SPAT meetings were also featured. As we can read in the short excerpt above, the whole situation is very new to Marcus. He isn’t too satisfied with his new school, the neighbourhood doesn’t seem much better to him either.


Holloway, London- the neighbourhood where Marcus and his mother are living


Marcus didn`t like the idea of his mother talking to Will. A while ago he wouldn’t get exited about it, but he no longer thought that he and his mum and Will and Ned and another baby perhaps were going to live together in Will’s flat. For a start, Ned didn’t exist, and for another start, if you could have two starts, Fiona and Will didn’t like each other very much, and anyway, Will’s flat is no where big enough for them all, even though they weren’t as many of them as he had originally thought.

page 171

In this paragraph the plot of the story is presented quite clearly. We have Marcus, who first tried to make Will and his mother fall in love, but later realized that Will actually doesn’t have a child and that he’s been lying all way long. This is mainly the action in the book- Will trying to figure out whether he wants a relationship or just to be single, and Marcus, trying to cope with his mothers mental sickness, their lack of money and having a hard time at school. In my opinion the extract from the book above explains the relationship between all the 3 characters very well.

Character development

The truth was that this version of Marcus really wasn’t so hard to cope with. He had friends, he could look after himself, he had developed a skin- the kind of skin Will had just shed. He had flattened out, and become a robust and as unremarkable as every 12-year-old kid.But all three of them had had to lose things in order to gain other things. Will had lost his shell and his cool and his distance, and he felt scared and vulnerable, but he got to be with Rachel; and Fiona had lost a big chunk of Marcus, and she got to stay away from the casualty ward; and Marcus had lost himself, and got to walk home school with his shoes on.

In these few sentences we get a brief sum-up of how each of the main characters had changed at the end of the story. Marcus is no longer teased at school, and has found some good friends. Will is finally beginning to behave as an adult, he has many responsibilities and his life is finally gaining some sense. As for Fiona, as long as she can manage to keep herself in a good physical and mental state, everything should be fine.

Impression of the book and my expectations

I really enjoyed reading the book, even though I have already seen the film two times before. I loved how it all ended quite happily, so that we aren’t left with a feeling of misery or dissatisfaction. The book is very detailed, so all the events were precisely described and we didn’t really have to use our imagination that much. I was very surprised by the ending and was not expecting it to be this way at all, so this is just another positive. I am very satisfied with the book, and can highly recommend it. 🙂




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