I was wrong, though, and I'm glad I've given it a chance. It's fantastic and I've actually read it three times since it first published in English just over a year ago.
MY BOY is the story of Satoko, a 30-year-old office lady, single and without friends (or, apparently, family) living a very quiet, soul-crushingly mundane and lonely existence. At 30 years old, she's only had one romantic relationship in her life, a very brief one at that, during her last year of college, eight years earlier. At the time, it didn't bother her when her boyfriend (whom she confesses she never really much cared for, anyway) broke up with her, but now she suspects it's the moment her life went off the rails, though she couldn't say why.
MY BOY is also the story of Mashuu, an ostracized, bullied 12-year-old boy who suffers from family neglect (including lack of new clothing--he's been wearing the same shirts and shorts since he was in early elementary school and the shorts now barely come down to his thighs--and haircuts--his hair is down past his shoulders, leading people to think he's a girl--and even lack of baths), who spends most of his time outside of school alone, practicing soccer, which he isn't very good at.
The two characters' lives intersect when Satoko, reeling from a particularly unpleasant interaction with her boss (who, through an unlikely stroke of fate, is the same man who briefly dated, then dumped, her in college), sees Mashuu practicing soccer alone in the park and, on a whim, decides to give him some pointers, having played futsal in college. Mashuu is thrilled to have anyone, especially an adult, pay attention to him and share in his passion. From there, a very unlikely relationship builds between the two.
The author, Hitomi Takano, says in her afterward that this manga is intentionally a gender-reversal of the typical onee-san/shota (young miss/boy) manga trope, in which a young girl finds an companion in an older boy or man. In fact, the story started out that way, but, she says, she lost interest in it right way until she decided to flip the switch. I'm glad she did because I've enjoyed it a lot so far.
Not only is the manga beautiful, but the interactions between the characters are very realistic, which you often don't find in this types of comics. Both Satoko and Mashuu are hesitant, unsure of themselves and how they can/should interact with one another. Satoko, because she has no experience with children and isn't sure what's appropriate; Mashuu because he has no friends to speak of and no real parental figure. Both are extremely lonely, extremely vulnerable people and watching them find each other is powerful and moving as Satoko's motherly instinct and desire to matter to someone brings out aspects of herself she didn't realize existed while Mashuu finds that he can be himself and have value, rather than simply trying to keep his head down and stay out of everyone's way. Together, they compliment each other's weaknesses and build each other's strengths. It's really, truly both heartbreaking and beautiful to watch each of them as their relationship develops.
The TL:DR version: this series is a tremendous read. As I said, I almost didn't buy this (and in fact almost cancelled my pre-order once I had after having second thoughts), but I'm very, very glad I did. I truly enjoyed reading something outside of my normal reading wheelhouse and I look forward very much to reading more about these characters.