BOOK OF THE WEEK: About a boy | india | Hindustan Times
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BOOK OF THE WEEK: About a boy

india Updated: Jun 24, 2006 12:32 IST

About a boy
Nick Hornby
Price — Rs 400
Publication — Penguin

Chick-lit is all over me these days. All I hear about are books on girls growing up, girls falling in love, girls putting on nail-polish and then removing it. And I will be honest, I couldn’t care less whether burgundy is too dark a shade for lipstick or fuchsia too flirtatious.

I want a book that talks about stuff that I like to do, the kind of messes I can’t avoid getting into, the importance of getting messy and all the other things that make old ladies tut and mutter “Boys will be boys”.

In short, I want a book about boys. I am mightily pleased to announce that I’ve found it and it is called — About a Boy. The simplicity of the title underlines the book’s primary charm— its readability and accurate portrayal of the male psyche, which in all its bullheadedness can be surprisingly complex.

The book focuses on the coming together and trials of two boys — the 36-year old Will, a teenager-at-heart trapped in an adults body and the world — weary and peculiarly mature Marcus, who at 12 seems ready to check out of planet earth.

Will, unashamedly and unapologetically shallow, realises that single mothers make for perfect partners and he invents a son and joins a single-parent group to chat-up potential dates.

On one of the groups picnics, Will is introduced to Marcus and although their dislike of each other is apparent, a series of events ensure that they end-up spending a lot of time together.

The conversations between the two are definitely the highlight of the book, as Hornby in his trademark unpretentious manner exposes the hidden fears, wants and troubles that populate the male cerebrum.

Hornby’s writing, as with all great authors, has a deeper purpose and he uses his humour and social satire to question concepts such as ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ and indeed the one at the very core of the book— manhood.