Almost against his own wishes, the boy has grown up. Hornby tells all this in a thoroughly engaging and very funny fashion.He manages to be both wise about the problems of modern culture and hip to what's cool.
The bad news was that he hadn't ever had sex with someone whose photo had appeared on the style page of a newspaper or magazine (minus two), and he did still think, if he was honest (and if Will had anything approaching an ethical belief, it was that lying about yourself in questionnaires was utterly wrong), that owning a fast car was likely to impress women. Marcus desperately wants to save his mother but he recognizes that he's just a naive and very confused kid, so he needs an adult's help.
Unfortunately for him, and for Will, the only adult, the only person for that matter, other than his mom to show interest in him is Will.
So he begins showing up at Will's apartment every afternoon and, having figured out that Will was faking being a father, has sufficient blackmail material that Will's stuck with him: When Will had conceived this fantasy and joined SPAT, he had imagined sweet little children, not children who would be able to track him down and come to his house.
He had imagined entering their world, but he hadn't foreseen that they might be able to penetrate his. He's living this whole life I can't control, which means you have to." "I'm not going to control anything." "In which case, it's best that he doesn't see you." "We've been here before. " "Don't let him in." "Fine." "I mean, if you're not prepared to think about how to help me, then keep out." "Right." "God, you're a selfish bastard." "But I'm on my own. I'm not putting myself first, because there isn't anybody else." "Well, he's there too now.
And, unhappily for Will, that was exactly the kind of assistance he was qualified to provide.
He wasn't able to tell Marcus how to grow up, or how to cope with a suicidal mother, or anything like that, but he could certainly tell him that Kurt Cobain didn't play for Manchester United, and for a twelve-year-old boy attending a comprehensive school at the end of 1993, that was maybe the most important information of all.
"Will Freeman" changes from someone who is quite happy to someone who is quite unhappy as the book nears it's end, and it's because he's letting someone in!
At the end, Will even thinks, for the first time, about committing suicide himself!
By Eric Drooker (Nick Hornby, NY Times Book Review) -INTERVIEW: Tales of ordinary madness: Nick Hornby's book 'Fever Pitch', the best-selling account of being a depressive-obsessive soccer fan, is now a film.
(Helen O'Neill, August 16-17 1997, The Australian Magazine) -INTERVIEW: Laughing all the way to the cemetery: Nick Hornby has built a career on depression and the things that help him survive - football, music, books.