76 pages 2 hours read

Nick Hornby

About a Boy

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1998

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Chapters 1-14

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary

The novel opens with Marcus and his mother, Fiona, in their new London home, following Fiona’s breakup with her boyfriend Roger. Hornby adopts a third-person closed narrative style to take on 12-year-old Marcus’s perspective. Marcus’s parents divorced when he was eight, and he has since experienced a “messier” kind of life, which has included homes in both Cambridge and London, and his parents’ new partners (3). However, Marcus professes to not be “bothered” about the change and is even bored, given the lack of things that have happened since he and his mother moved to London (3). Nevertheless, Marcus worries about his mother, who is “sad” (2), and feels that it is his responsibility to make her happy.

Chapter 2 Summary

This chapter switches over to the perspective of the second boy in the novel, 36-year-old Will Freeman. When the reader meets Will, he is assessing his coolness according to a men’s magazine questionnaire. Because Will listens to hip-hop, sleeps with women he hardly knows, and earns more than 40 thousand pounds a year without working, he is cool enough to be in the “sub-zero” category (6).

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By Nick Hornby