‘What’re you reading?’
‘Oh. That book is Douglas-Coupland bleak.’
‘No it isn’t. This is Nick Hornby, he’s funny.’
‘I thought it was pretty bleak.’
Joel was right, About a Boy was bleak. Not like John-Steinbeck bleak where the family chucks the priceless pearl back into the sea and ends up being poor forever but it doesn’t matter because their baby died anyways. But, you know, Douglas-Coupland bleak. Girlfriends in comas, and such.
Having seen the movie years ago, I was under the impression that About a Boy would be all comical misunderstandings and sexual undertones, sort of a Bridget Jones’ Diary but with less Renee Zellweger and more Nirvana. I’d obviously forgotten about the mother-of-twelve-year-old-boy attempting suicide less than a fifth of the way in. Whoops.
So Marcus’s mum and dad are split up, and his mum, Fiona, is a bit depressive, so she attempts suicide round about page 60. She can do this with impunity because Marcus is out of the house with his mum’s friend Suzie (another single mother) and Suzie’s new friend Will (a wealthy, lazy low-life who is pretending to be a single father in order to get into the desperate, eager pants of diverse single motherses, because that and clothes shopping and afternoon tv are about all his life amounts to at this point). Will finds himself gradually (ok, kind of forcefully and immediately) drawn into Marcus and Fiona’s lives where he learns what it means to care about people and shit. The end.
And I take back everything lacklustre I said about you, Nick Hornby. YOU DISERVE NO LACKLUSTROSITY!!! When you talk about Will as a young boy doing something foolish and losing face, ‘whole headfuls of face,’ you have me peeing myself. When you gently epiphanize various characters, you bring a single tear to the eye. I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU AND WITH THIS BOOK AND I AM GOING TO GO MAKE OUT WITH IT IN MY ROOM NOW!! *shuts door significantly*