Kathleen B. (Las Vegas, NV)
Emotionally Good Story
What a nice way to start the new year. I couldn't put this book down. I liked the way the author wrote every chapter with a different voice. Every chapter was the first person of a different character.
Max is sixteen years old and until this time has never had a problem with being intersex. His parents didn't discuss his intersex with him and the ramifications of the changes of becoming older. His intersex has always been a secret. He needed someone to discuss his feelings with, and his parents weren't available.
There was foreshadowing in this book which let you know what was coming. I'm afraid to go into a lot pf the details of the plot because I don't want to reveal too much. This is a great YA book and has good info for book clubs.
Linda W. (Summit, NJ)
Parenting Highs and lows
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is definitely a page turner with unexpected twists in the plot. The development of the parents - Steve and Karen - unfolds all the way to the end of the story with an interesting reversal of roles. The framework of the book and the topic of adolescent crisis initiated by a unique health issue reminded my of Jodi Pichoult books.
I have worked with teenagers and the issues and thought processes revealed in Max, Sylvie and Daniel ring true. The ups and downs of their relationships provided a realistic backdrop to the primary plot of Max dealing with his sexuality and his parents denial of his need to assert control over his life.
I would highly recommend this book to parents and even young adults as it will spark discussion about what constitutes gender identity and how do parents deal with children who are 'different'.
Daniel A. (Naugatuck, CT)
Before I wrote this review, I peeked at the other reviews on this website and found out I am the only male. Are you ready for this male's perspective? I thought so. Here it is: I enjoyed this story a lot. I liked the writing, especially the writing style; each character gets to narrate the story, and pushes the story forward, never backtracks. The subject is tough to write about, so the dialogue is key, and it is filled with emotion, misunderstanding, and frustration. Overall, I highly recommend this book because it finally gives intersex people a voice.
Angela S. (Hartland, MI)
Golden Boy is a book with powerful subject matter and rich characters. The book jumps from one character to the next, so you really do get to know each one fully. However, I found the format a little jumpy and in some ways it does break up the flow of the storyline. I really did enjoy the book for the original plotline, but I felt that some of the internal dialogue of the characters was monotonous. My biggest complaint was the way it ended without addressing a major development late in the book! The author wrapped the story up in a bow when the reader expects a few more answers. The book would have benefited from a few more pages and a complete ending. Overall, an intriguing read lacking a complete finale.
Michele W. (Kiawah Island, SC)
Better than Defending Jacob
Golden Child is the story of a nearly perfect child whose caring and successful parents, confronted by a dilemma involving this child and which has implications far beyond their family circle, disagree on what should be done to the extent that the family fractures.
So far this sounds much like Defending Jacob, and it is very reminiscent, but Golden Child is better in that the parents are not totally blind and deaf, the science is not ridiculously exaggerated, the child's feelings are included along with those of the sibling, a friend, the doctor involved, as well as both parents, giving a much more balanced and complete picture, and finally, the resolution is not insane. I liked the writing style and the structure, which I thought opened up the characters and made them much more three-dimensional. The resolution of the problem is nuanced as well as complicated and has the advantage of being possible in the real world assuming the essential normality of the characters involved. If you like Defending Jacob, you'll like this better!
Priscilla M. (Houston, TX)
An interesting read...
This was an interesting read on a complex subject. Max Walker is a sixteen year old boy, popular, obedient, and seemingly normal in every way. The secret his family holds close is that Max is intersexual. He was born with both male and female anatomical features. As he reaches puberty, the inevitable problems arise. I thought the author developed the character of Max well enough, but the other characters seemed stilted and trapped in their roles. The family dynamics were too predictable for most of the story. Having said that, this was a compelling story, and I found myself rooting for Max as he tries to sort out where his true sexual orientation lies. There are no easy answers, and the author wisely does not provide a cliched ending.
Barbara K. (Brooklyn, NY)
Looks Can Be Deceiving
This well written, yet heartbreaking story is told from the different , first person, points of view of each parent, a younger brother, a doctor, a girlfriend, and teenage Max, born with & labelled as intersex.
Max's perfectly groomed, educated parents focus on the outward behaviors of their 2 children & don't deal with the deeper issues each child is struggling with, especially Max. Daniel is difficult but Max is the 'good boy'. He gets good grades, is popular, good looking, obedient,athletic. Yet, when something tragic happens to him, they are clueless about his distress & shame.
On a general level, Golden Boy is about being different, keeping secrets,denial & self acceptance. It highlights how little the scientific community knows about sexual variation. It also deals with rape & the mind of the rapist who is often a person close to the family & the 'least likely suspect'. Golden Boy might be an important book for a high school class to use as a springboard for discussions on feeling different, tolerance, living with secrets & shame, sexuality, etc. Perhaps it would prevent a suicide. Abigail Tarttelin gave life to Max & I find the book's details haunting me despite having finished it.