Beth T. (Savannah, GA)
It's not often that I am compelled to read a book in one sitting, but it happened today, when I picked up GOLDEN BOY. This is a fascinating story with many layers. It's about a family with a secret, and how that secret affects each member, but it's also about identity, and what really makes us who we are. I love how the story unfolds, as events and thoughts are revealed from the viewpoints of the main characters. The characters are beautifully drawn, believable and (for the most part) sympathetic even if you don't agree with their decisions. It's very difficult to believe that this is Ms. Tarttelin's first novel, and I highly recommend it. It's a book I will not soon forget.
Shelly B. (Staten Island, NY)
I found this book wordy, overblown, and too long. I thought the author got very preachy especially towards the end. I understand she definitely had a message about gender, which I understand, although I disagree with her message. I have 4 grandchildren, a girl and three boys. I definitely see differences between the boys and the girl. More than she noted about Max. I think there is something inborn or pre-wired for most boys and girls, in my experience. I just think the message was too pushy.
The author's writing did not ring true, it was not age appropriate to Max, especially. For instance, in some chapters he was child like, and in others he was not. I found the language static, showy, overblown and pretentious, in most cases.
Although, I found two very lovely metaphors that I noted in my notes: "autumn summer's dying cousin" and "the raindrops race each other to the bottom (car window) of the glass" These were the best parts of the book.
Overall, I would not recommend this book. I would not use it for my book club discussion.
Nan G. (Mazomanie, WI)
Difficult subject handled with grace
As a mental health professional who has worked extensively with trangender clients, I was curious, and more than a little apprehensive about reading Golden Boy. Curious as to how the author would approach a subject not often addressed in any form, apprehensive for the very same reason. Twenty pages in and I was hooked. Tarttelin's grasp of the subject, the sensitivity and grace with which she created characters (in particular Max), her portrayal of a young person coming to terms with who he is and parents whose love for a child takes them in different directions--all combined to create a highly readable and ultimately, a very moving novel.
Kathy M. (Neptune Beach, Florida)
Just couldn't wrap my head around this.
I really tried to like this book and I see that many people did. However, I simply could not get my head wrapped around the ridiculousness of this situation. Being in the social work field the idea that this circumstance of the duality of sexes would continue into adolescents was just not realistic. I can't see any parents allowing this to happen to their child. As far as young adult fiction I would say maybe but only if it is categorized as a fantasy or very unrealistic.
Susan H. (Chappaqua, NY)
For the most part I enjoyed this book but as a parent I could not understand how the parents in this book chose not to do anything about the child's sexuality at birth. How can you leave this to a teen when teens have enough "stuff" to deal without extra body parts!!! I also thought the book got a bit out there with the pregnancy and whether to keep the baby... A little much.
Joanne V. (Towanda, PA)
A very interesting read
I read this book in two days after returning from Christmas vacation. It was one of the most interesting reads and it stays with you. It is told from several perspectives, which normally I don't care for, but in this case it just made the story more compelling. I felt so much for all the characters, especially Max and how he grows and learns to cope with being "different". I would recommend it for high school reading as well as for a book club. I think there would be a lot of good discussion since so few are familiar with the issues in this novel. I certainly learned a lot! Highly recommended!
Malinda N. (Wheeling, WV)
This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. As a reader you will "fall for" Max just as every one else in the story does. There are so many turns and twists to the story that one is immediately captivated and remains so until the last page. The relationships and dynamics of this family are heartbreaking as they struggle to deal with the "uniqueness" of Max's intersex condition. The decisions and turmoil that weigh on Max provide ample room for discussion. Fantastic book!