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Nancy C. (Newton, KS)
Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin
This is a book I would not have picked out to read on my own. That said, I am glad that I did. The story is an emotionally wrenching look into a subject I was totally unfamiliar with. Max, the golden boy, lives what on the surface seems to be a charmed life. Athletic, handsome and a genuinely nice teen; his life begins to unravel quickly as the facade his parents have created comes apart. Born with both male and female organs, his parents chose to raise him as a boy and defer any decision for surgery until he is older. The supporting characters round out the story in a satisfying manner. Daniel, the brother, provides an anchor for Max through his unwavering love. Wise beyond his years, he was my favorite character. Both parents love Max but make some devastating decisions regarding him. Hunter, his childhood friend, is so flawed that he is the perfect villain you can love to hate.
Linda D. (Williamsburg, VA)
A Must Read!
Tarttelina, a first time novelist, begins her story with no holds barred and at first I was not sure this was the book for me. I am glad I persevered and I find that Max, Daniel and their parents still occupy my thoughts long after the book concluded.
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
John P. (Timonium, MD)
A very interesting and difficult dilemma
Max, an intersex adolescent confronts a very difficult situation. The decision is compounded and complicated by the careers of his parents and his own popularity. At times the path is predictable but it is not without twists and turns that startle, inform and educates as your race to the conclusion.
Kristen H. (Lowell, MA)
Just when you think you had it hard
This story took me for a ride right from the first page. Most of us think we have hard lives for one reason or another but not too many of us can imagine how hard it must be for those in the world who struggle with trying to figure out who they are just like Max did in "Golden Boy". Max's parents also had trouble during his struggle because they had made the initial decision for him when he was born which is what caused his "problem". Imagine being in their place having to make the choice for your child. I can't imagine being in any of these positions and I think that Abigail Tarttelin tells a great story from many different perspectives and calls into question the motives of those around Max and the struggles they must have gone through.
Nancy F. (Carmel, IN)
Not my "cup of tea"
I have read a number of books on the issue of sexual identity. I was looking forward to reading this story as described. I felt the first third of the book was interesting however, the author's style of sharing the intimate internal conversations of all the characters was too much dialogue. I wanted plot to be to move faster and a desire for more interpersonal dialogue. I appreciate the importance of this topic and I do hope authors will continue to shed light on this important dilemma.
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!
Amy F. (West Roxbury, MA)
Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin
Max's story of an intersex teenager takes all the teenage angst and magnifies the issues. I thought the story was amazing. I liked the shifting vantage points in the book, which allowed you to see things through Max's eye's, his brother Daniel, his mother, his father and his girlfriend Sylvia. Despite the rareness of being XX/XY intersex, the angst, trauma and emotion felt extremely really especially for Max and his mother. I am not sure that based on the description I would pick this book up at random to read, but I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read it because it is wonderful.
Jill M. (Petaluma, CA)
Something tells me Golden Boy is going to be widely read, debated and discussed. I needed to take some time to think about the impact and meaning of the book for a while after finishing it. It came to me that no one in the story was "wrong" in what (s)he did in dealing with the challenging intersex anatomy of Max--except of course Hunter, his former best friend. What a great book for discussion at book clubs. This is a tremendous work for such a young author. The wordiness bogged down for me in the second half. I'd love to know if this was the case for others.