One of the main characters in Nick Hornby’s novel About a Boy and the eponymous film based upon it is Fiona. Fiona is Marcus’ forty-year-old mother, who tries to raise Marcus as a perfect person into a falling world on her own, ever since she divorced Marcus’ father several years ago. Until the very end of the story, Fiona is incapable of seeing her own wrongs, and thus, she raises her son as a boy who seemingly is every parent’s dream, but also is unfamiliar with social norms in areas such as clothing, music and speech, and all this results in that he’s being bullied at school. Even when she finally hears about the social slaughter he experiences every day, she’s still of the opinion that everything that matters is that he is himself, and that he shouldn’t care about them and what they think. This whole side story about Fiona slowly understanding how the world works, and the difference between theoretical and practical ideologies, has an obvious moral: Ofcourse you should always be yourself, but you should also adjust after the world; if everyone goes as they want, nothing will work. Another moral of the story can simply be that you can’t always save everyone; sometimes you just have to help yourself and try not to think of the others. Fiona’s life was already a mass of grief and sorrow because of herself, so when she tried to help Marcus as well, it all fell apart for both of them. Her suicide attempt was ofcourse the biggest break-through, leading Marcus to worry much more about her for a long period of time, leading the two of them into an evil circle where neither could help themselves simply because they cared too much about the other.
Even though she in the beginning of the novel sees herself as the perfect mother as she doesn’t raise her son to be a sheep, she realises more and more throughout the story that she’s wrong, and that she has been too ignorant to understand that everything she does isn’t always right. Towards the end of the end of the film, for example, she has totally change her mind about forcing Marcus to be a vegetarian, even suggesting that they should go eat at McDonald’s. To simplify, I can explain how she sees herself in three states: in the first half of the book, she sees herself as a perfect parent doing nothing wrong in raising Marcus. When she at last realise that everything after all isn’t perfect, she sees herself as an awful human being. When she’s gotten over the shock, she instead focuses on trying to better herself, and again she sees herself as a good mother, which she is, in the very end.
It is hard to tell how other characters see Fiona, as this varies a lot. Marcus obviously cares very much about her, but love can also turn into temporary hate, as for example when he lost respect for her after her suicide attempt. He cares for her and tries to help her, but when he realises he can’t help her, he instead ignores the problem, going home to Will instead of coming home to face the problem. Will finds himself annoyed by her and how ignorant she is towards the norms that destroy Marcus, and how she simply won’t listen to him when he tries to help Marcus.
Even though Fiona is one of the less important main characters, she is the obvious connection between Marcus and Will, as well as what sets the entire story of with her attempted suicide, as it makes Marcus start going to Will’s house after school, instead of home, where he would be forced to face her depression. Her suicide attempt was ofcourse not a good thing, yet it was what started the entire story, changing her, Will’s and Marcus’ lives forever.
To me, About a Boy is a happy ending-story, in which I mean it seems like everything goes fine in the end, and thus, I don’t think that much could happen to change this. I would believe her life continues without a sign of her depression again, and that she soon finds a boyfriend to live with her and Marcus, and well… live happily ever after.