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The three of them - a 12-year-old boy, his older brother, their father - have won the war: the father's term for his bitter divorce and custody battle. They leave their Kansas home and drive through the night to Albuquerque, eager to begin again, united by the thrilling possibility of carving out a new life together. The boys go to school, join basketball teams, make friends. Meanwhile their father works from home, smoking cheap cigars to hide another smell. But soon the little missteps - the dead-eyed absentmindedness, the late-night noises, the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters - become sinister, and the boys find themselves watching their father change, grow erratic, then violent.
Set in the sublimely stark landscape of suburban New Mexico and a cramped apartment shut tight to the world, One of the Boys conveys with stunning prose and chilling clarity a young boy's struggle to hold on to the dangerous pieces of his shattered family. Harrowing and beautiful, Daniel Magariel's masterful debut is a story of survival: two foxhole-weary brothers banding together to protect each other from the father they once trusted but no longer recognize. With the emotional core of A Little Life and the compact power of We the Animals, One of the Boys is among the most moving and remarkable debut novels you'll ever experience.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kate M. on 03-16-17
Not a bad debut, but not earth-shattering either
What did you like best about One of the Boys? What did you like least?
I liked that it was a book I was able to listen to in one sitting, and I felt that the first person point of view of the youngest son was a good way to show what it is like to live with the instability an addicted parent can cause. Personally, however, regardless of point of view, it's hard for me to relate to characters who are unnamed, as this family was. I also feel that the epilogue would have been better in the story, if for no reason other than to give a sense of the time period.
Would you be willing to try another book from Daniel Magariel? Why or why not?
Absolutely. While this book was not exactly what I expected it wasn't bad, and Magariel does have talent. One of the Boys is a debut and I'd love to see where his career goes and what other stories he has to tell.
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
There were times that the performance was very good and you could feel the anxiety and fears of the main character. At other moments it felt rather detached and emotionless.
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
I might. I think this book would work very well as a movie, however seeing abuse on screen is more difficult for me than listening to a book or reading one.
Any additional comments?
It's more like 3-3.5 stars for me. I don't feel it was a waste of my time and I did enjoy it, but I think it could have been greater than it ultimately was. A good book, but not a spectacular one.
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