When I saw the film adaptation of About A Boy, I always thought a life like Will Freeman would be the perfect one. Lots of money without having to do anything, a nice flat and being Hugh Grant (I could live with that, he’s a Pirate Captain these days!), even when the people you meet are a bit crazy. After reading the book adaptation I kinda still think this, even if I wouldn’t be Hugh Grant anymore.
The story follows the ‘hip’ thirty-six year old Will Freeman as he tries to sleep with single mothers, and the twelve-year-old Marcus who ends up becoming friends with these ‘hip’ kind of guy. The interactions are often funny (they bond because of Marcus killing a duck and his mother trying to top herself. Okay, the last one isn’t that funny. At all) and you can really see the changes they bring each other. Will starts opening up to people and accepting them into his structured lifestyle of delinquency, even if he does seem to be a bit tsunadere anyway. (A tsunadere is someone who acts bitter towards people, but he’s really not. I can’t believe I threw that term out there.) Marcus on the other hand starts to take control of his life and discovers romance, Nirvana and rebellion. It’s a tale which is great fun to follow, keeping a sense of uplifting spirit even when things get tough.
This is thanks to the perspectives of both lead characters, though their styles do often come across as a little basic and underdeveloped. It’s always one band that is referenced, or one thought process which is repeated till the end. It can also often come across as corny rather than endearing and the more tragic scenes rarely come across as anything other than mild drama. It tackles depression in such a simple way so it doesn’t completely bog down the story of two child like characters growing up in the world, but these subdued events make the world feel a little too basic.
About A Boy is an entertaining journey though, and more often than not you start to relate to the characters. Or wish you were like Will and didn’t have to work, spending countless days listening to In Utero and seeing the occasional suicidal friend when you’re feeling lonely. Sounds good to me.