First Lines: About a Boy

It’s been a while since I last saw the moviefication of Nick Hornby’s About a Boy, but I recall liking it. Being a sucker for coming-of-age stories featuring odd-job characters, having Hugh Grant hugh-granting his way through such a thing is a delight. The movie culminates is a cringe-worthy scene where Marcus (the titular boy) takes a stab at performing “Killing Me Softly With His Song” (in the non-hip original folksy version) in front of his entire school, and gets his ass saved by Will (the dysfunctional useless grown-up adult type). Given my approval of said movie, as well as my enjoyment of Hornby’s High Fidelity, snatching a copy at the local thrift store was a no-brainer.

In the book, much to my surprise, no such thing happens. The story develops in much the same way. In alternating chapters Marcus and Will try to make sense of their own lives, but it all ends in a (rather insignificant) bout of Kurt Cobain inspired vandalism. (Side note: using Nirvana as major factor in setting the context and setting of the story might not hold up in the long run, but for me it was instantly recognizable. I can easily recall the art and crafts class the day after Cobain’s suicide: all the alternative kids were bummed out beyond belief and In Utero was on high rotation the rest of the year.)

There were several times I felt like giving the book to the 14-year old in residence, as, you know, required reading. His mother would probably get the book as well.

Book read
Nick Hornby – About a Boy
First line
Have you split up now?