Gail I. (Delray Beach, FL)
Timely Twist on Adolescent Angst
So many novels have been written about adolescence angst and family relationships, but Golden Boy puts a timely twist on this genre. Like most teenagers, Max feels different. However, his difference is something that is kept secret due to societal taboos.
Having read the book Middlesex which is also about someone who finds out they are intersexed, I found Golden Boy to be more engaging and readable for both young adults and adults of any age. It is one book you don't want to put down as you become involved in the secrets and lies of the intricate family unit Max is a part of. I am honored to have had the opportunity to read such an interesting and thought provoking book prior to publication thanks to Bookbrowse. I highly recommend it.
Susan P. (Boston, MA)
Written in the first person by 6 narrators in alternating chapters, this novel tells the story of an intersex 16-year-old boy who lives in an Oxford suburb. His life, which is very comfortable, is shattered by someone close to him. His life appears to be golden to people who are not dear to him but everything starts to break apart and it doesn't help that his dad (who is decent) is running for MP. The most well-done aspect is the narrators sound true to the characters; the little brother especially. Extremely appealing to people who like stories about families, gender issues, and teenagers (good and bad). Sounds far fetched but it's in fact very compelling and hard to put down.
Laura G. (Buffalo, NY)
An Eye Opening Read
I wasn't sure how comfortable I would be reading this book because of its subject matter. I was right. It wasn't always comfortable, but that was the genius of it. This young author has done an amazing job conveying the feelings of each character as he or she deals with the situation presented. No matter whom you are, and what your experiences have been, this book will give you a lot to think about. I'm very glad I read it.
Alexandra S. (Chicago, IL)
Golden Boy is Gold
I sat down on Saturday morning to read a few chapters and realized that I hadn't stopped for four hours. Golden Boy is a gut-wrenching novel about an Intersex boy coming to terms with who he is after an extremely traumatic event.
Tarttelin weaves a beautiful narrative of a seemingly perfect family that has been hiding a deep, dark secret and how that secret is forced into daylight after their intersex son, Max, is raped by a close friend.
Golden Boy is told through first person narratives, so we as the reader see into the minds of each of the characters. We feel Max's pain and shame, we understand why his parent's chose to hide the problem, why everyone in the Walker family is constantly seeking perfection. The novel is gut-wrenching and at times you want to put it down, I found myself crying on several occasions, you just can't stand to feel the pain these characters are feeling. But it is so beautifully written and compelling that you can't walk away.
My one criticism is of the voice of Daniel. While I understood why Tarttelin wanted to bring another voice into the book, one who wasn't completely entrenched in the secrets, I felt as though Daniel's character was a little off-putting. Initially when I began the book, I thought that he was somewhere on the spectrum of autism, I realized that he was just emotionally immature with some behavioral issues. Max's character needed a brother, or at least someone that he could just sit with an be, but at times I thought Daniel's character didn't fit.
I loved this novel and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great book.
Linda D. (Williamsburg, VA)
A Must Read!
Golden Boy is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I sat down intending to read a few chapters and found myself putting everything else off until I finished the book. The story is about a family that has hidden the fact their child is intersex and has to deal with his and their own feelings regarding this as well as their fear of being exposed as "imperfect" when the boy is abused by an old friend. The story is told by alternating viewpoints of each of the characters which, along with the subject itself, drives the readers' curiosity to learn more about both the characters and their story. The book addresses many issues including our need to project perfection, family secrets and communication, personal identity and acceptance, and sexuality and it is hard to do it justice in a brief summary. Suffice it to say that I found the story to be riveting and the characters to be realistic and ones that I really cared about. The author does an extraordinary job dealing with a serious subject with skill and empathy and doing so in a manner that is both thought provoking and entertaining. This is a book that should not be missed and I cannot wait to see what this young author creates next
Mary J. (La Quinta, CA)
I received The Golden Boy this past Thursday and finished it yesterday morning! This may be a debut book but Abigail Tarttelin can certainly weave a tale. I could not put it down. The story line is one I have never heard of but she nails it. This is an absolute must read!
Gail G. (Northbrook, Illinois)
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.