“Marcus couldn’t believe it. Dead. A dead duck. OK, he’d been trying to hit it on the head with a piece of sandwich, but he tried to do all sorts of things, and none of them had ever happened before. He’d tried to get the highest score on the Stargazer machine in the kabab shop on Hornsey road – nothing. He’d tried to read Nicky’s thoughts by staring at the back of his head every maths lesson for a week – nothing. It really annoyed him that the only thing he’d ever achieved through trying was something he hadn’t really wanted to do that much in the first place. And anyway, since when did hitting a bird with a sandwich ever kill it? People spend half their lives throwing things at the ducks in Regent’s Park. How come he managed to pick a duck that pathetic?”
About a Boy is an allusion to Nirvana’s song About A Girl. Author Nick Hornby mentions the band several times throughout the novel.