about a boy

This was an excellent book written by Nick Hornby (who also wrote High Fidelity) revolving around two main characters: Marcus, a weirdo 12 year old who doesn’t fit in anywhere; and Will, who is basically a dilettante.

The story flips back and forth between Marcus and Will, and eventually the two plot lines wend their ways toward each other. The story is decent, but as with any good book, the real reason it’s a good read is because of the richness of Marcus’ and Will’s characters. We get to see the world (or perhaps just London) through their eyes, and boy howdy, their respective perspectives sure are amusing.

Will’s character amused me more, mostly because of his perpetually bemused and cynical attitude on life and his personal philosophy of the path of least resistance. A characteristic passage in the book comes early, when Will is dating a single mom (only because she looks vaguely like the model Julie Christie) and she’s trying to break up with him:

This, he couldn’t help feeling, was kind of ironic. If she but knew it, he was exactly right; if there was a man better equipped for the meaningless fling, he wouldn’t like to meet him. I’ve been putting this on! he wanted to tell her. I’m horrible! I’m much shallower than this, honest! But it was too late.

[…]

She was starting to get a little tearful, and he loved her for it. He had never before watched a woman cry without feeling responsible, and he was rather enjoying the experience.

And so forth. Marcus gets some priceless scenes as well, but it was really Will who made me crack up with laughter.

About a Boy — highly recommended.