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What disappointed you about Golden Boy?
Max is a teenager who, on the surface is the golden boy at school, but lurking behind his Y-fronts is a secret to all but his immediate family: Max is intersex, an hermaphrodite.
I don’t know where I heard this book being highly praised but I had many problems with it and can't believe all the plaudits and five stars.
- There’s a rape in the opening pages of this book. But the author refuses to mention the word rape once throughout the whole book. This seemed like a major cop out to me. I got the impression she was afraid to get into the “blurred lines” and call a rape a rape.
- There’s a 10-year-old boy in this book. And the author clearly knows no ten year olds and didn’t bother to check any out. The ten year old acts like a five year old throughout the book. There’s even a line where he’s whinging about "story time" in school. Story time! Ten year olds do not have story time. They read full novels on their own. This was so sloppy that it made me lose all confidence in the author. And then later on this 10 year old, who acts like a 5 year old, has these small bursts of intelligence that are way above his station. Wildly inconsistent.
And I have to say the whingey/whiney/childish narration of the 10 year old really sealed the deal for this character to ruin the book.
- There’s a part where a doctor suggests to Max that when he talks to himself in his head, it might actually be a unborn twin talking to him. I repeat, this was said by a doctor, a specialist. This is the kind of badly researched nonsense that popped up now and then.
- This really came across to me as a YA book. I’m constantly annoyed at hearing of a book getting really high praise, without mentioning the context of YA. In my experience YA books often lack depth, maturity, authenticity, and intelligence.
- I couldn’t help comparing this book to Middlesex. Which is such a better book in every way. Golden Boy is Middlesex-Lite. If you’re curious about the subject matter, do yourself a favour and read Middlesex instead.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Any additional comments?
Having said all that, even though I was often very frustrated, and driven demented by the 5-year-old 10-year-old, I was never bored, and at times I even found it to be a bit of a page turner. But this definitely doesn’t deserve the 5 stars everyone else is giving it. Abigail Tarttelin definitely has potential but she will be cringing at this book when she has a bit more experience under her belt.
Where does Golden Boy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
The BEST. A story so beautifully told and compelling, I couldn't put it down.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The story told from various points-of-view gave significant depth to the thought processes of each character.
Max's story-line will always remain with me.
What would you do if you had a child like Max? This theme is brilliantly explored in this tale of a young man struggling with a condition that makes him feel apart from the world. Max has reached the point in his life when he has to come to terms with himself but this is brought prematurely to the fore by a single brutal act of violence.
This book could have followed a predictable route but instead it is a thoughtful and fascinating exploration of a life almost ruined by the not always good intentions of others. There are no easy answers and it is hard to side with the two diametrically opposed parents. What holds this all together is the very wonderful Max. He is a true heartbreaker with the looks and achievements of a real Golden Boy but has such endearing qualities that I almost cried when awful things happen to him. This story may be grim at times but it is filled with hope and optimism and I thought it was really uplifting.
This really challenges the traditional views of gender, identity and how we fit into the great scheme of things. As one character says, 'we are really just ideas and when we die, the idea dies with us.'
This is a very good book and I can't believe the author is such a young woman. I really look forward to reading her future work.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about Golden Boy?
This book is about a subject I've only been vaguely aware of. I was interested because my own father is transgender and I have struggled with aspects of gender which most of us take for granted. We could all do with thinking about these subjects sometimes so that we become aware of our own preconceptions and assumptions.
What other book might you compare Golden Boy to, and why?
Like the characters in books like The Casual Vacancy or The Slap these characters are flawed and at times frustrating to the reader. You sometimes want to shake them or shout at them to get them to sort themselves or those around them and to see things as they really are. It makes the book 'real' though and more human and believable.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
I most enjoyed, strangely, the scene in the hospital when Max and his mum are caught in a very tense and fraught interaction. It was very moving, intense and full of suspense.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
This book is best listened to in stages to allow you to absorb and digest the various revelations. The plot keeps you guessing and wanting more information but the intensity and rawness of certain parts needs a break.
Any additional comments?
A good book for thinking and testings ones presumptions. A novel topic for a book and rarely if ever considered.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful