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About a boy

Sammendrag av boka About a boy av Nick Hornby

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”About a boy” is actually a book about two boys, Marcus and Will. Marcus, the oldest twelve-year-old in the world, looks after his suicidal depressive mother, listens to Mozart, and doesn’t really have a lot of friends. He’s just moved from Cambridge to London with his mother, and doesn’t get along very good with his new schoolmates……


Will, a good-looking thirty-six-year-old “teenager”, is totally different from Marcus. He wears the right clothes, goes to the right clubs, reads the right magazines and listens to the right music. He doesn’t work, but live from the royalties of his father’s song; “Santa’s Super Sleigh.” He’s single, child-free, and is always on the look for a single mother to “score”.

It’s trough this single mother scoring that Will and Marcus meet each other......


When Will decides to join the single parent group (SPAT) to hook up with some lonely single mothers, things start to happen. Will hasn’t got a child of his own, but he solves this problem easily by inventing a two year old son, Ned. At his first SPAT meeting, Will meets Suzie, a single mother with a little girl. Suzie thinks Will got a son, so she invites them to a SPAT picnic one Saturday. Ned can’t be there of course, simply because he doesn’t exist. So Will has to explain that Ned will be with his mother that Saturday.


At the Spat picnic, Will meets Marcus for the first time. Marcus is there because Suzie’s looking after him for his mother. (Will’s there because he wants to “score” with Suzie.) Both Will and Marcus think the SPAT picnic is very daft. At first they are a little sceptical about each other, but this loosens up when Will decides to cover up for Marcus’ accident.


You see, Marcus is so bored that he accidentally kills a duck by throwing french loaves at it. When the park-keeper arrives, Will tells him that Marcus didn’t kill the duck, he just tried to sink the already dead duck with some bread. 


Because of this, Marcus changes his opinion about Will, and thinks of him as quite cool after all……

After the SPAT picnic, Suzie drives Marcus home. (Will’s also in the car, because his “non-existing wife” apparently has taken his car along with everything else.) When they arrive at Marcus’ place, they find his mother, Fiona, in a pool of her own sick. On the desk there’s an excuse note. At first they think she’s dead, but luckily she’s not.

They get her to the hospital, and she recovers quite fast. Marcus though, doesn’t. Deep inside he remembers this as “the Dead Duck Day”, and the day when his mother tried to kill herself…


A couple of days after the SPAT picnic, Marcus phones Will after a tip from Suzie. He asks him if he would like to take him (Marcus) and his mother out for dinner. Will, who thinks of this as another opportunity to seduce a single mother, decides to go trough with it.

At this time Marcus has a lot of questions twisting around in his head. Will he and his mother move in to Will’s place, or perhaps they will buy somewhere new? Maybe they will get a better life….?

It turns out that these things will never happen. Will and Fiona are simply not meant for each other. They don’t have the same interests, and not many similarities. The dinner isn’t exactly successful……

Marcus, though, doesn’t give up so easily. Already the next day after the dinner, he turns up at Will’s place to visit him. Will’s not so happy about that, but he lets him in anyway.

Because of the size and the look of Will’s flat, it doesn’t take Marcus too much time to work out that Will hasn’t got a child. Will’s not so surprised about that, so he doesn’t really care so much. The problem is that Marcus tells this to his mother, and his mother tells it to Suzie. Now there’s no chance for Will and Suzie anymore. Will has blown his cover……


As the days go by, Marcus continues to visit Will every day after school. They watch TV and drink coke, and sometimes they even listen to Nirvana, Will’s favourite band.


They become almost like father and son, even though they don’t look at it that way themselves. They look at it more like a friendship, where Will can give Marcus something his mother can’t. For instance, he knows how to look and what to wear. He’s been a boy himself sometime, and knows how it’s like. He doesn’t know how it’s like to be Marcus though. Marcus hasn’t got any friends at school, and is very vulnerable. The older kids love to tease and hurt him, and throw things at him. Because of this, Will feels sorry for Marcus, and decides to do something about it. He takes him out for shopping, and buys some new and expensive sneakers for him. Although it was meant well, it doesn’t turn out so well. The next day, Marcus has to walk home from school barefooted. The mean kids have stolen his brand new shoes.


Of course this causes a reaction with his mother, who puts the blame on Will; he’s not supposed to change her son by buying things to him…

Because of this, Will and Marcus are separated for a while. Marcus isn’t allowed by his mother to go to Will’s house. So, in the meanwhile Marcus meets Ellie. Ellie is the number one troublemaker at the school, and she’s three years older than Marcus. She cuts her own hair, and is also a huge fan of Kurt Cobain, the lead singer in Nirvana. In other ways, she’s totally different from Marcus. But, in a strange way, they actually manage to become quite good friends.


At this time, Marcus’ mother starts crying. She cries all day, from morning till evening. Marcus’ doesn’t like this; he’s worried about her and asks for advice from Will, the only person he’s not allowed to visit. So, Marcus begins to visit Will every day after school again. Marcus thinks his mother knows it, but she doesn’t stand to argue with him. So he keeps on visiting Will, without getting too many good advises about his mother.


When Christmas’s approaching, Marcus asks his mother if he can invite a friend to their Christmas party. This friend is of course Will, but he doesn’t reveal that to his mother. She says that it’s ok, and Will has no other choice than to accept the invitation……


The Christmas party turns out to be very strange, but Will’s having a good time anyway. He meets a couple of new people, namely Clive (Marcus’ father), Lindsey (Clive’s girlfriend) and Lindsey’s mother. He also gets a big shout from Suzie, who happens to come by, about him lying and inventing a child……

New Years Eve though, is much better for Will. This is the night when he meets Rachel, his new girlfriend. As usual it’s not without problems this time either. Rachel is a single mother to a twelve year old boy named Ali, and Will’s so stupid that he lies about having a son again, except this time his son is Marcus. So, Marcus, faithful as he is, agrees to act as Will’s son for a while. It doesn’t help very much though, because Rachel is being suspicious and Will has to tell her that he lied. Luckily for Will, she forgives him, and they continue to see each other.


Marcus also continues to see Ellie; in fact he has seen her so much that he wants her to be his girlfriend. A couple of weeks after Christmas, he even invites her to come along to visit his father in Cambridge, who by the way has broken his collarbone. Marcus wants to let Ellie loose on his dad, because he’s being a lousy father. It turns out to be a foolish idea……


When Marcus persuades his mother to drop him off outside the railway station, he doesn’t know what’s waiting for him. Ellie meets him where they agreed, and she seems all right. Everything is cool, until he sees the front-page of the newspaper; Kurt Cobain, Ellie’s big ideal, is dead! Ellie is of course aware of it, and she’s prepared. She has brought a bottle of vodka, and for one purpose; to get drunk…


While Marcus and Ellie are sitting on the train to Cambridge, Will’s trying to talk to Fiona, Marcus’ mother, in a little bar in London.

He has finally got himself to help her out with her crying-problem. Rachel has promised to help him, but when she doesn’t turn up, he has to do it himself. It takes a while, but he’s actually doing all right without her help. He helps Fiona just by talking to her, and realizes that Rachel never intended to show up; she thought it would be best if he did it himself.

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