I read Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin last summer.
Now even a year after reading the book the story is still fresh in my mind.To me that is a sign of quality.
Golden boy in my words:
On the outside Max is a boy, but biologically he has both male and female reproductive organs. Max is born intersex(there are various kinds of the condition this is just one of them). Even if he might be different underneath a few layers of clothing Max leads a life no different than other teenagers. That is until one day when his best friend from childhood oversteps all boundaries. A friend who knows everything about Max turns his world upside down and shatters it. To Max intersex has been his normal, as well it should, and he lives just fine with the condition. Now Max starts to doubt himself and wonder if he is a freak of nature.
A golden boyFirst of all my heart bleeds for those who in real life experience the difficulties of feeling that they are born different and those struggling coming to terms with the fact that we are not all made the same way. Luckily each day shows us that 'normal' is a concept far broader than the world perhaps initially defined it as. Max is intersex yes, he happens to be biologically parts boy and girl, but that does not define who he is as a person. Max is portrayed as generous, loving and kind - if he were a living, breathing human, and not letters on paper, I would love to have Max in my own life.
In the news:
As I am sure you have picked up on by now Abigal Tarttelin made sure that Max is a character the reader cannot help but fall head over heels for. Max is such a sympathetic and strong boy, even when people try to break him down. When Max is brutally forced into learning more about his condition he is quite shocked by what he learns and also to discover what has been kept from him all his life. Some of the people in Max life,that loves him dearly has made some less than wise choices in the name of love and for what they thought would protect him from harm.
Multiple point of view
The story is told to the reader through the eyes of Max and those closest to him and that makes it possible to view things from several angles and to understand some of the choices that was made. I am glad for it and in my opinion it works quite well. Everything is illuminated, so to speak. Things have been said, done and kept from Max out of love and good intentions, but there is a time and a place for everything. A parent cannot protect his or her child from difficulties forever, especially not when the problems are related to the child's physical and psychological well being. Sometimes on has to face the difficulties and work it out in the best possible way, teenagers has a right to be heard in matters concerning his or hers future.
Golden boy was an excellent novel, one I cannot do justice by mere words from the English vocabulary of a Norwegian. I enjoyed the writing and the theme(s) addressed in this novel, it makes a person more able to understand and empathize with the difficulties that can arise concerning gender identity. In addition this book is important for those who might be intersex, you are not alone and you are not abnormal. Like I said I cannot do this story justice but I will treasure it forever. One of the best books I have read in the past year. I recommend this book to young adult and adults alike.