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Golden Boy

By Abigail Tarttelin

Golden Boy
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  • Published in USA  May 2013,
    352 pages.

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There are currently 65 reader reviews for Golden Boy
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Gail G. (Northbrook, Illinois) (01/21/13)

Golden Boy BY Abigail Trattein
Terrific story with mostly well developed characters. I became so emotionally involved with the main character, Max Walker , and all that he went through, I couldn't read through to the end of the book, I had to go to the book's end to see if he came through all he experienced ok. It would be very difficult to place myself in Karen's (mother) and Steve's (father) position and make the decisions that had to be made for Max. Their reactions were totally understandable but not necessarily correct.The brother's behavior was normal in the considering that his brother was "perfect" and could do no wrong so he thought his parents loved him less than they did Max

The story was unique in its content and very gut wrenching for the reader. The character I found difficult to believe was Sylvie, the girlfriend,She was too wise for her age but very good for Max in his troubled life. The bad boy Hunter's behavior was expressed so realistically it almost made me sick to my stomach to read it.

I would recommend this book to teens as well as older readers and book clubs.
Susan B. (Rutledge, MO) (01/21/13)

Moving, maybe too heartbreaking?
I found this book well-written and thought-provoking, but also painfully, often needlessly, heart-wrenching. If you are interested in gender issues you should certainly check it out, but know that the story is driven by intense drama resulting from secret-keeping; secrets I think shouldn't have been kept. The issues involved are compelling enough that had the characters told the truth about themselves and the situations they found themselves in, how they dealt with it would still have made a fantastic story, but one far less agonizing. I assume the author wanted the reader to understand how intense and difficult these issues can be, but the secrecy element severely diluted the impact for me. Despite this, I think it is quite worth reading.
Rosemary C. (Austin, TX) (01/20/13)

Perfection and Normalcy
Abigail Tarttelin has written a thought provoking, in your face novel about a boy born "different" and how he and those close to him navigate in a world that probably won't understand. The characters are well-developed and sympathetic, moral and ethical issues are presented and debated, and we come away informed about the interest condition. Tarttelin is a good, bold writer, frank yet compassionate. I wasn't sure at first if I'd get into the novel with the story told segment by segment by each main character. It didn't take me long to get hooked, however, and this book was definitely worth the read. The ending may not satisfy everyone, but as I thought about it a bit after finishing the book, it was the best decision for Max at his current age and circumstances.
Iris F. (Defray beach, FL) (01/20/13)

Golden Boy
It's a rare treat to come across a novel that is as well written and compelling as Golden Boy. From almost page one I was hooked and found myself sneaking away to read. Though there is a scene early on that is not for the feint of heart, and the subject matter is emotionally heart rending, it is handled with sensitivity and intelligence. There are moral issues regarding matters we don't usually have to deal with, all are handled beautifully by this author.

If I have any negative criticisms it has to do with Daniel, Max's younger brother. Dialogue and thoughts assigned to him were much too mature for a ten year old. I believe this character was used to make many moral statements the author wanted to pass along.

Although at times gut wrenching it was wonderful to become absorbed into something of this quality.
Edie M. (Kennett Square, PA) (01/20/13)

A Golden Novel
I found it very difficult to put this book down! I loved the characters and truly felt pain/joy when they did. I can not imagine living with such a secret but I can relate Karen in the book who wanted her family to be "normal"

Sometimes us moms try to fix everything and think our way is best when in reality, sometimes it is not.

Very touching and thought provoking, I will recommend this book to my book club.
Shelly B. (Staten Island, NY) (01/19/13)

Golden Boy
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.
Beth T. (Savannah, GA) (01/19/13)

Simply Amazing
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.
Kathy M. (Neptune Beach, Florida) (01/18/13)

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.

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