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Theresa R. (Sierra Madre, CA)
this was just ok
I had a really hard time getting into this book, but finally managed to finish it. I'm not sure if it was the writing style or the story. I just found myself not really caring about what was happening.
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.
Susan P. (Boston, MA)
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.
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.
Beverly J. (Huntersville, NC)
Golden Boy is the story of Max who is considered a perfect golden boy because of his good looks, smart, compassionate, and he strives to be the perfect child to his parents. But, Max is intersex, and this secret has caused his family to be as normal and successful as possible by avoidance and politeness to each other. But the seams that hold the secret (and the family) together will burst open when Max is violated physically and emotionally.
Wilhelmina H. (New Port Richey, FL)
The author writes with both sensitivity and detached consideration and except for the emotional opening scene I often felt I was reading a clinical report. The multi-narrator worked for me to understand who the characters were and how Max and his family ended up at this place. The subject of intersex, social expectations regarding sexual identity and the importance of communications within a family will make this a good book club discussion.
I found this book to be a fast and easy read. The storyline was different and held my interest, but I thought the characters could have been a bit more developed, especially the parents. There wasn't much layering to their relationships with each other and their children, making their interactions feel superficial to me, but perhaps that was the author's intention. The book does make you think about a topic that is not commonly discussed.
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.
Ann S. (Shenandoah, IA)
I found the opening very disturbing. It was however a riveting story. Max's character was realistic in the way he tried to deal with his situation. I was stunned that the parents were unable to help him. Without Sylvie and the doctor, Max would have had no one to turn to.
Alexandra S. (Chicago, IL)
Golden Boy is Gold
I feel that the ending was contrived and forced. Max is after all still a teenager; he still has so much to deal with, (as do his parents) but he may be on the right track.
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.