Will – a 38-year-old teenager vs. Marcus – the oldest 13-year-old: a conflict of lifestyles and outlooks
Most experts believe that child's experiences in the family are important for his/her personality development. These include whether a child's basic needs are well met and how a child is brought up, which could leave an enduring mark on the child's personality. Does the culture and the society we are brought up in affect our personality?
An American anthropologist Margaret Mead has shown how social and cultural factors has an important influence in personality development. Members of two New Guinea tribes are of the same racial store and live in the same area. However, one group is peaceful, friendly and cooperative and the other is group is, on the contrary, assertive, hostile and competitive.
In this novel the theme of a growing up and formation of the person is very accurately expressed. In the course of a narration it becomes clear, that among all present characters mentioned in the book, Markus, the twelve years old boy, has matured before all. Markus is a strange kid, who is suffering with events of growing up, he is searching for his own personality and he is a victim of constant bullying and mocking and is struggling with his lack of parental guidance. His parents have divorced, and the boy’s world has cracked into two pieces: one half remained for all his past, his carefree childhood, for the second half focuses of his emotions, taking care of his mother, and daily problems. In his new school. Even school teachers regard him potty. After Fiona, mother of Marcus, broke up with her boyfriend, Roger, she falls into a deep depression, which affects her son. And after that she becomes very soppy and dispirited. It seemed that she had gone round the bend. She is irresponsible and he has to assumes a role of a Head of the family. He tries to support and cheer her up and he is afraid to remind her of suicide.
Will Freeman is shown as an antagonist of Marcus, a grown up men behaving like a typical teenager. Will is in his mid-thirties and enjoys a bachelor lifestyle in London. Despite his frequent dates and dalliances with women, he is happily single and maintains that he would not be able to share his life with someone else. Will believes that he is saving himself an awful lot of troubles related to children and solid relationships with one woman. Will lives off the royalties of a Christmas song by his father and has a luxury life. Essentially, Will is incredibly self-centered. Will often strike up a rapport with different women but he isn’t going to exchange the froth and frivolities for something more solid, his meaningless flings are leading nowhere. However everything changes when he meets Angie, a gorgeous woman with vaguely husky voice. After meeting her Will is ready to reassess his affinity to children but Angie isn’t looking for solid relationships. After a pleasant relationship with her, Will comes up with the idea of attending a single parents group as a new way to pick up women. For this purpose, he invents a two-year-old son called Ned. And through one of single parents meetings Will comes to know Marcus, the oldest teenager in the world.
The title itself could be inspired by the Nirvana song, “About a Girl”. This assumed because the author often refer to the band in the book. It can sensitize a reader to a theme, even to a situation. The novel is about two boys. That is why for a long moment we cannot understand about whom the title is: the 12-year-old actual boy Marcus, and the 36-year-old boy-at-heart Will. The synopsis makes it sound like the book is all about Will, but the book’s actually about both Will and Marcus. Each chapter alternates between their point-of-view (in third person). This also indicates the indefinite article «a», which does not name a specific character.
Thought provoking that Will and Marcus met first they misunderstood each other. Marcus thought Will a childish boy-at-heart man, who tried to be trendy and stylish. Meanwhile, Will found Marcus very odd person as the wasn`t interested in modern music and modern life in whole. Please, look at the chart on which you can see the differences between them. There flashed an in comprehension between them. We have learned that in the end of the book Will and Marcus get friend at last. But we haven`t read this book yet and as they didn`t like each other the question is looming - what have made them friends? We will learn it further chapter. Thank you!