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Alluring Reads

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Golden Boy

Golden Boy - Abigail Tarttelin GOLDEN BOY is by far the most thought-provoking, eye-opening novel I have read in a long time. I was hit straight off the bat with an unflinching realism and thrown into a family who was dealing with issues that I knew barely anything of. Back in 1999 I watched the movie Boy’s Don’t Cry and it was the first I had ever heard of intersex (back then it was hermaphrodites) individuals. This book took me back into a mind frame where I was curious, emotional and almost in awe at the same time. Not only do we meet Max, who is intersex, but along with him we meet his family who is trying to do their best to find him his place in the world.The part of this story that stood out to me the most was the family dynamic of the Walker’s. None of them were perfect and they all had incredibly selfish thoughts here and there but in the end they were truly looking out for one another. In the beginning I questioned Steve’s (the dad) devotion to his family, he seemed to be putting his career before everything that was going on at home and he did for much of the novel. But once we start to see all the sides of the story (through the very well done multiple POV’s) we see that there is so much more to his actions and intentions. The mother, Karen, was a difficult person for me to come to understand but once again, once my eyes were opened to everything that was going on I’m not sure I can say I would have been much different if thrown into the same situations. Daniel and Max had a wonderful relationship and seeing the story through Daniel’s eyes was great. He was the innocent onlooker, I felt. He didn’t have all the details of what was going on with his brother or why he was feeling the way that he was, and he didn’t really care. He just wanted to know that he was OK and to get on with life. All of these characters came to life for me because Tartellin mastered their voices. Each one felt so distinct that I always knew whose perspective I was reading without question. This was done to the point that I was annoyed with Daniel’s POV at first because of how juvenile and repetitive it was, but that’s because it was so perfectly a 9-year olds way of thinking and speaking about things. The character that I connected the most to was Max. His struggles in finding out who he was were heartbreaking and I felt so incredibly sad for him as he forged his way through everything that was thrown at him. Not only did he have to make it through some rough patches but all of it brought to light that he didn’t know who he was or where he fit in the world which no one should ever have to feel. This novel was an eye opening experience for me as I saw first hand the struggles that an intersex individual can go through in their life. The feelings of displacement, of shame and of a disconnect to things such as sex and marriage really took their toll on Max and it was hard to read at times. As I said before I don’t know too much about the “condition” (for lack of a better word) but I found myself googling a lot throughout the story and finding real life stories that paralleled his in many ways. I also appreciated how we would get a doctors perspective at times which made it possible to teach the reader at the same time that they are reading.A strong novel that will get your emotions going and leave you wanting to talk about it for hours, GOLDEN BOY does not disappoint. The voices of the characters are strong and the relationships are ones that jump off the page. If you are in the market for a rather unconventional novel with a New Adult feel, this is the one for you.An Advanced Reader's Copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.--You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.