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Book giveaway: Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

(20 Posts)
Magicstars Mon 31-Mar-14 19:13:29

I found this a compelling and thought provoking read. I have since recommended it to my book group and we start discussing it tomorrow. It has really opened my eyes; I had never really seriously considered how the world treats people who are intersex, or who don't fit in to the expected 'male' and 'female' labels. I hope that books like this, where the reader is able feel for the character and see their humanity, rather than focus on their 'differences', encourage a kinder and more understanding society. Thank you for giving me to opportunity to read it.

jameela1 Tue 11-Mar-14 10:20:33

This one is very much a story of consequences, and the effects a rape has on a family, especially in a situation like this, where the complications are so much more severe. And, dear lord, the attack scene made me cringe so bad. Rape scenes are bad enough, but considering the mechanics of this one, and the anatomical difficulties� horrible.

And it's worse because of the guilt max feels afterward, like maybe he was leading the attacker on, unknowingly. Having been treated like a boy his whole life, and identifying as a boy, he never had to learn the perils of teenage girl-sexuality. With his numerous make-out partners, he was never the initiator, and he let things happen without having to exert any effort. And the attack was similar. Like many victims, he froze and afterwards, he blamed himself and it's just freaking gutting.

The story is told in a multi-narrative format, where voice and perspective are given to max, both of his parents, his brother, one of his doctors, and a girl who may be the best thing to ever happened to max. But it's everything - it's the struggles of parents between trying to protect their children but still allowing them autonomy, and the many mistakes that can occur along that path. It's about love and fear and self-perception. It's about the narrowing of options and the fear of being left behind. It's about secrets being kept and the sense that everyone knows these secrets but you.

And it's just powerful stuff, all around. I definitely recommend it for anyone interested in gender and identity, or just a story about an unusual situation and the way it crashes through a family and what is left at the end.

casthom Mon 10-Mar-14 18:27:40

I finished reading this book today. I thought it was great, very easy to read and very hard to put down! The scene near the beginning was distressing but I think it was necessary to build emotion. This book has taught me lots of things I didn't know about intersex children. I also liked the way the chapters were told by different characters to give different sides to the story.

lorka Mon 10-Mar-14 15:07:07

A very gripping read. I've not finished it yet but enjoying it so far. The scene at the beginning was rather horrific though and I found myself thinking about it for days afterwards. I will come back to the thread once I've finished the book.

violetwellies Fri 07-Mar-14 21:37:47

Like BookwormMummy, I put this down after the rape scene. However, after a break of a couple of days and some thinking round the issue, I went back to it. Sooo glad I did, simply the best read I have had in ages.

I had some prior knowledge of intersex children and had been angry at the time when I discovered scissor happy surgeons asked confused parents whether they wanted a boy or a girl and then took away the surplus bits.

This novel managed to be educational whilst remaining eminently readable, well written and with some complex characters, loved the little brother, wanted to give the mother a shake. Am looking forward to the next book, but she has given herself a hard act to follow.

pielady Tue 04-Mar-14 14:34:36

Thank you very much for the book! I did find this a really gripping story and quite hard to put down. I didn't know much about the issue of being born intersex before so it was a fascinating subject and an intriguing story line. I did have some small reservations though, mainly I felt it fell between two audience groups. Although dealing with an unusual issue, the story was very much focused on teenage problems and anxieties and seemed to be aimed at a YA reader (my 12 year old read the blurb and was really keen to read it) but some very disturbing elements of the story made it totally unsuitable for this age group which was a bit confusing. Nevertheless, a very engaging and memorable book, I would definitely recommend it as a good read.

emylou1982 Thu 27-Feb-14 20:13:08

I have recently finished this book that I gratefully won in the recent giveaway. It was a fantastic read and very unlike anything I would normally pick up. It does make for some uncomfortable reading at times, especially the scene at the start of the book but I think it is very relevant in the story as this was the trigger for Max to start to really question who he is and what he wants from his future. I very much enjoyed how the story unfolded by being told from each characters perspective and I found myself empathising with each one. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to discover a new talented author who I shall be recommending to my fellow readers.

iwantavuvezela Tue 25-Feb-14 14:32:58

sorry, pressed to quick, I would change the blurb, "blue eyed boy or girl next door" - this is not really relevant as Max presents as a male character to all his friends and family ... the book deals with, at a later stage, whether he could also take on the role of female or not. It is also this been male for Max that is what he has to think/content with. So misleading I think. I've mentioned the colour eyes as well, i think something else would be more accurate.

iwantavuvezela Tue 25-Feb-14 14:30:22

Firstly thank you for sending me a copy of the book.

I found it very readable, and read it over 2 days. As others on this thread have said I liked the way the book switched between different characters, but I liked that the story kept continuing, so no matter who was "teling" the story it kept moving forward.

I particularly enjoyed Max's brother as he added that dimension almost of innocence, and although the mother was my least favourite, in many ways the writer made her the most complex, and fleshed out more for her (than the father) what her difficulties were, choices she had made.

I thought that the impact some of the mother's choices had made on Max, and how his character had developed was a universal theme to consider.

My only point of contention is that on the cover it says "blue eyed boy", yet the book refers to his green eyes!

I will definatley recommend this book and will probably pass my copy on to a friend as i would like the chance to chat to her some more about it.

I imagine that this book on been intersex fills a valuable void in novels around what it is like for a young person coming to terms with been intersex, and also gender roles, sexuality as well.

Rhimchugh Sun 23-Feb-14 09:24:22

I wish this book had come with a warning about the graphic scene that occurs very early on in the story. It took me by surprise and I actually put the book down after that chapter, unsure if I wanted to carry on reading. I did eventually finish the book but did so by flicking through most chapters as I just wanted to know how it ended rather than wanting to get really stuck into the story. The way the narrative was shared among lots of characters was interesting and worked well. The subject is quite specific and not one that a lot of people can relate to and although it is generally an interesting topic for discussion, I think it could have been dealt with just as well without the thing that happens early in in the book. Welll-written bit a bit too graphic for my liking. I felt quite uncomfortable reading the key event scene.

cavylover Sat 22-Feb-14 17:27:18

A very brave and original thought-provoking novel with chapters dedicated to the thoughts of the main characters in the book. The book is extremely well written with just the right amount of characters appearing in it and the subject matter well researched beforehand.

I notice the film rights have been bought and would be interested to se who would possibly direct the film in the future.

One criticism is I found it slightly too long but overall I found the book a very entertaining read with engaging characters.

BookwormMummy Fri 21-Feb-14 16:16:24

Hmmm.. I am probably going to go against the norm here but having just read quite a horrific scene right at the beginning of the book I don't really feel that I want to read any further...
I read instead of watching TV so I've always got my head in a book and I am aware of the fact that bad things do happen in books as they do in life but I do wonder whether this scene (and I won't spoil it for others) couldn't have been put a bit further on in the book after we had built up a picture of the characters involved.

Just not my cup of tea I'm afraid.

LindseyandMatthew Thu 20-Feb-14 17:44:39

Well what can I say, I didn't really think this was the sort of book that I would enjoy but how wrong was I?! I absolutely loved it and read it over 2 day, the first day I literally couldn't put it down, I was reading it in bed until I was that tired I had to stop!

I loved they way the story was told though the voices of Karen, Steve, Daniel, Max, Archie and Sylvie.

I loved the friendship between Max and Sylvie and was so happy that Max had a good friend as he did in her, I think she was one of my favourite characters at the end although I did like them all.

I couldn't imagine the turmoil Max's parent's faced when he was born and the difficult decisions that faced them which would affect them for the rest of their lives. I think they did what they thought was right which is all any parent can do in the end.

The story was really well told and opened your eyes a bit to the struggle of being intersex and how even though we are all different we all deserve to be loved and happy.

I highly recommend this book it was amazing and I am so pleased I had the opportunity to read it, thank you

CarolLesley Thu 20-Feb-14 11:20:27

Thank you so much for this book. 17 year old DD has devoured it (a great way to spend half term) and said that she really enjoyed it - she thought it was very readable and a fascinating topic. It's my turn and so far I am gripped.

ummlilia Tue 18-Feb-14 20:50:33

oh my gosh..read this over the course of today..I won't write about the plot as I guess most people are still reading..but I found it compelling,intriguing,and thought-provoking . I loved the way the writer gave us all the different viewpoints; the mother,father,the brother , the girlfriend -as well as Max .. I will definitely be recommending this to friends.

coffeecups Tue 18-Feb-14 20:24:46

Oh my. Got my copy on Saturday and finished it this morning. Found Max a totalling compelling character. I don't want to write any spoilers although you don't have to read much of the book to know how it will pan out.

The story in itself is intriguing as intersex people are such a hidden part of our society and still seen as disordered/ill/incomplete. This seemed to build on the novel Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginides but it was really good that it was based in England instead.

It really took me back to my teenage years and the difficulty of fitting in, negotiating sexuality and indivuality, of wanting to be noticed and wanting to hide at the same time.

coffeecups Tue 18-Feb-14 20:22:05

Oh my. Got my copy on Saturday and finished it this morning. Found Max a totalling compelling character. I don't want to write any spoilers although you don't have to read much of the book to know how it will pan out.

The story in itself is intriguing as intersex people are such a hidden part of our society and still seen as disordered/ill/incomplete. This seemed to build on the novel Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginides but it was really good that it was based in England instead.

It really took me back to my teenage years and the difficulty of fitting in, negotiating sexuality and indivuality, of wanting to be noticed and wanting to hide at the same time.

iwantavuvezela Tue 18-Feb-14 11:44:42

Thank you for sending me this book. I am really looking forward to reading it, I will come back to this thread in a week to 10 days to discuss .....

AliceMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 10-Feb-14 10:19:49

This giveaway is now closed. We will notify those who have been selected to receive a free copy via email. We would love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to discuss the book or post a review.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 03-Feb-14 14:55:40

We have 50 copies of Abigail Tarttelin's Golden Boy. A 'poignant, brave and important book' (S.J. Watson) about a young boy coming to terms with being intersex. It was voted one of the School Library Journal's best adult books for teens as well as one of The Booklist's First Novels of 2013.

Find out more about this compelling novel, watch the trailer and apply for a free copy. We'll let you know next week if you've been chosen to receive a copy -come back and let us know what you think on this thread, or post up a review.

This book giveaway has been sponsored by Orion Books

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