My Reading Of “About a Boy”

The Book “About a Boy” is set in London 1993 featuring the two protagonists Will Freeman and Marcus Brewer. Marcus is an odd kid with a few problems given to him by Fiona, his suicidal mother. Will is a 36-year-old man who has discovered a new technique of dating women. Will joins a group called SPAT where he meets single mothers. There he meets Susan, who is Fiona’s best friend. One day Susan brings Marcus to a picnic with the other SPAT members where Will meets Marcus. From there they develop a unique friendship thru the suicidal attempt of Fiona. The themes in this novel are isolation, adulthood and mental illness/depression.


“Hey, Fiona. Why don’t you get your sheet music out, and we can murder’Both Sides Now’?” “Would you like to?” “Yeah. Sure.” But he was watching Marcus, whose expression was that of a boy who had been asked to dance naked before a mixed audience of supermodels and cousins.”Please, Mum. Don’t.”Don’t be silly. You love singing. You love Joni Mitchell”. “I don’t. Not anymore. I bloody hate Joni Mitchell”. Will knew then, beyond any shadow of doubt, that Marcus would be OK.

This paragraph shows the character development of Will and Marcus. Marcus who always would sing and be bullied for it at school and doesn’t want to while Will does this to check that he would be ok. We can see that Will is concerned and that is why he had to check.

“That was his mother. When she wasn’t crying over the breakfast cereal, she was laughing about killing herself.”


This is a good example of one of the themes: Mental illness/Depression.

“What’s that floating next to it?” Will asked. “Is that the bread you threw at it?”
Marcus nodded unhappily.
“That’s not a sandwich, that’s a bloody french loaf. No wonder it keeled over. That would’ve killed me.”

This is a very interesting quote as it sets up the suicidal attempt of Fiona but also foreshadows it in a way.

“His mum was sad, he knew that she cried a lot now, more than she did before they moved to London, …”


This quote explains what has happened so far and that they live in London and the father lives in Cambridge.



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