Hello everyone and welcome to “Bookworm Wednesdays”!
I am not sure yet whether this will develop into a weekly or a monthly thing, but before I figure that out for myself and also for you, let’s just get started.
Even if it is already Thursday. 🙂
“Golden Boy” tells the story of Max Walker who indeed is kind of golden: almost “sweet sixteen”, Max is blond, athletic, handsome. He is popular with his pals, and due to his good looks also extremely popular with the girls. He’s the starring (and talented) captain of his soccer team at school. Could be that arrogant bastard you never liked in school, you think? Well, he’s definitely not. He’s the charming boy next door, outstanding student, always helpful and polite, and usually a smile on his lips. He also is a terrific older brother and kind of a model son. It seems he has it all.
But I would not recommend this book if it was about a boring teenage poster boy. Something is a little off. Max (and his entire family) have a secret that almost no knows about, and it is rather intriguing. Max is intersex, meaning: he is neither boy nor girl. And with (almost) no one knowing about this, and some unthinkable and unexpected things happening, the picture-perfect family imagine and the “Golden Boy” perception might soon be old news.
With the story being told from different perspectives, we do not learn about the nature of the secret right away. We learn that Max is special. Awesome, polite, cute for a boy, but somehow… special. Parts of the story are told from Max’s perspective, but we also encounter several other narrating characters: his mom, his dad, his little brother, his classmate/later girlfriend, and also his physician.
Even if this sounds confusing since there are a lot of perspectives, they all shed light on the development of the story, as well as on Max’s past/present, and once you have figured out who is who, you actually realize it all fits nicely together and the transitions from one “story teller” to the next are pretty smooth.
I don’t want to talk too much about how Max handles being intersex (he discovers a lot about it throughout this book, since he was pretty clueless for the first 15 years of life), and how he handles the obstacles he encounters, on his own and with the help of family and friends.
But be assured that this story is far from being a clinical study of what some people might perceive as a “freakish condition”. Some of it is brutal, some of it is unbelievable, some of it simply sticks with you even if you are not the average coming-of-age-novel-reader. I found that it really pulled me in, made me cringe when Max cringed, made me fear for him, laugh with him, cry with him. The author takes you along on his search for identity, and not once during the 352 pages did I question the path she chose for the story to unravel.
Being only 26 years of age, I admire writer Abigail Tarttlin for choosing such a (maybe) controversial subject for her novel. She did an admirable job with it, creating a fictional environment providing both the emotional framework pulling you into the book but also some of the necessary information to understand (a little) what “intersex” means and what the young protagonist is facing there.
After reading the last page and closing the book, it left me with curiosity how the journey of Max might continue and the warm feeling of having read something I cherished from page 1 to the end.
And it made me wonder if I really know who I am.
Read it too? Ordering it now to read it soon? Let me know what you think about it!
And also let me know what you think about this very first review, please!
Too detailed? Not enough? Want to know more?
Would you like a summary of book title/author/language/pages/publisher at the end?
Should I include a link to a place where you actually can purchase the book? Or no links at all?