Marcus (continued)

Not very self-aware

How is Marcus like this?

Marcus turns up on Will’s doorstep regularly, without considering that Will might not want to see him.


Nothing in Marcus’ face or voice suggested that he had been in the least bit inconvenienced or bored during his thirty-odd minutes of buzzing.


This adds some humour for the reader, as the image of a small boy ringing the doorbell for half an hour and not being put off is very funny. Meanwhile, Will carries on as usual inside his flat. It shows that Marcus is childlike in that he thinks that the world revolves around him.

Loyal to his mother

How is Marcus like this?

Marcus is aware that his mother is not like other mothers but he is still loyal to her.


His mum looked good, Marcus thought. She was wearing her best leggings and a baggy, hairy jumper.

Marcus knew he was weird, and he knew that part of the reason he was weird was because his mum was weird. She just didn’t get this, any of it.


Again, there is some humour here, as the reader can see that what Fiona is wearing is not particularly stylish. It reinforces the way that Marcus is always prepared to see the best in people. As the novel progresses, and Marcus becomes more worldly-wise, he is able to see that his mother is rather strange, but he still supports her.


How is Marcus like this?

Marcus agrees to do something he does not want to do for Will’s sake.


Marcus glanced at Will and Will nodded once, while Rachel’s back was turned towards him.

Yeah,Marcus shrugged, and for a moment Will loved him, really loved him.


When Will is trying to impress Rachel, and is pretending that Marcus is his son, he wants Marcus to play upstairs with Ali, Rachel’s horrible son, so that Will and Rachel can be alone downstairs. Marcus knows that he and Ali are not going to get along, but he agrees to stay with him to help Will.

Hero-worships Ellie

How is Marcus like this?

Marcus has never met anybody like Ellie, and cannot stop talking about her to Will.


Marcus was even more smitten than he had been before, and Will feared for him.

You don’t mind being treated like a … like a gerbil?No. Course not. That’d do me. I just want to be with her.

Suddenly Marcus could see a problem… school was full of walls and rules and she could just bounce off them; but out in the world, where there were no walls and rules, she was scary. She could just blow up in his face at any time.


Will is concerned that Ellie will not feel the same way about Marcus; after all, she is three years older than he is and far more confident. Will does not want Marcus to be hurt.

Will has never seen Marcus so infatuated before. He is quite happy just to be in Ellie’s circle, but Will knows that you cannot put all your trust in one person. It is also ironic because Marcus himself has found out that this is the case, but he forgets that with Ellie.

Towards the end of the novel, Marcus understands that Ellie is too unstable for him – he needs somebody who is calm and unlikely to flare up for the slightest reason. Therefore, Ellie is used in the novel to illustrate how Marcus gradually learns to work people out for himself.

Analysing the evidence

But one thing had changed. Back in the first breakfast crying time, hundreds of years ago, he was on his own; now, there were loads of people. He had Will, he had Ellie, he had… Anyway, he had two people, two friends, and that was some kind of improvement on before.


What does this extract tell us about the way Marcus feels, and how things have changed?

In this passage it is evident that Marcus feels that there has been a big improvement in his circumstances. At the start of the novel, when he and his mother had just moved to London, Marcus had no friends or support network in case anything went wrong. When his mother attempted to kill herself, Marcus was terrified that it would happen again and he made an effort to ‘collect’ people who could be there for him in the future. Now that there have been warning signs that his mother is depressed again – the breakfast crying – he is relieved that he has Will and Ellie to support him. He no longer feels isolated and he realises that he is in a better place than he was initially.