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  • 執筆者の写真Yuko

Book Review, ’About a Boy’



About a Boy by Nick Hornby is a novel that uses a good and dry sense of humour which contrasts with heartfelt emotions throughout the book. There is no doubt that a child will always love their mother through thick and thin.


This book is a 1998 best seller novel which Paul and Chris Weitz's have even adapted to a film, is literally about two boys. One is a 12-year-old unsociable lonely boy named Marcus, who is struggling to grow up at a new school, where he is easy prey for bullies, and home, where his fragile vegetarian mother is in a deep depression. The other is a late-thirties socially lonely adult called Will, who is doing absolutely everything in his power to avoid growing up or taking responsibilities. This informative book is set in the hustle and bustle of the megacity, London which differs from Cambridge, which where is a calm and green country ideal idle.


Although it is widely accepted that "Life is a box of chocolates." or "It's like a candy wrapped with a colourful cellophane" in other famous films, the plot reflects various kinds of perspectives of people who are trapped in the gap or groove between the ideal family and its reality.


Especially in the case of Marcus, conversations between Markus and his surrounding adults are especially unique and hilarious. Their comments on various features wrapped with a soft but rugged sense of humour might be the truth. The author vigorously and cleverly uses a current trend of visual effect in his written format in order to express to what extent of the difficulty there is to strike a balance between real intention and stated reason behind childish and childlike boys. For example, when they are gathering at the Regent Park, the size of bread to feed geese is typical of this, for sensible adults was a small bit piece of bread or crumbles, on the other hand, for a boy it was a loaf! Then, even a child-like adult, like Peter Pan, who is Will, it is possible to could judge and convince others that a naughty goose that attacked a two-year-old little girl would deserve to be thrown by a loaf to death.


Another noticeable feature is an angle to observe women as an object too difficult to understand. The women in this well-written novel are emotion-driven creatures, yet rather selfish, for instance, Markus's hippie mother was sparklingly highlighted in particular. Moreover, their insecurity and fragility generate a storm in a teacup. Two poor boys are required to drink it in a good manner without any spilt drops. It is widely accepted that adult men need a licence to drink properly with commitments, and then practice makes it perfect, so do they?


In my opinion, this book is like a high contrasted picture and sharply focuses on the notion of the family with a background of city life essences with colourful urban culture. The author uses contrasts, such as the countryside and city, children and parents, a single mother and a bachelor, an adult's point of view and a child's one to bring the story more alive attractive and engaging. After a few chapters, I have easily succeeded to drag myself into this picture. In addition, this book differs from typical soaps because a strong body structure is here and it is the human power of adaptability which requires the descent example of same-sex human beings and their empathy could trigger the awakening of humans to deal with problems on their own. I have imagined the scene in which Markus and Will are walking on a tightrope between Cambridge and London and underneath the tightrope, there are dangerous female sharks or crocodiles jumping to bite them in the ocean called depression. "Strike a balance!" This book will certainly be worth reading, as a wake-up call on the gloomy morning of your life. Once you are awakened, you would receive a strong message that everybody is imperfect and each imperfect individual could teach the other imperfect one.


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