Book Review: Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

Golden Boy

Rating: 5 / 5

Everybody thinks that Max Walker has it all.  He’s good looking, gets good grades in school, is popular, attractions the attention of many girls, and is loved by his soccer teammates.  Both his parents have successful careers, and even though his younger brother Daniel, is a handful, Max is the perfect doting older brother.  What people don’t know is that Max is intersex.  The only person outside his immediate family who is aware of this, besides the countless doctors who have offered advice and observed him, is Hunter.  Hunter is a year old, a close family friend, and Max’s best friend.   The Walker family’s facade begins to crumble when one night Hunter destroys his friendship with Max.

I found Golden Boy incredibly shocking and intriguing.  I know next to nothing about intersex people, and while the subject matter is disturbing, Tarttelin does a great job with the story and the characters.  Golden Boy is told not only from Max’s point of view, but also through his mother (Karen), the girl he likes (Sylvie), his younger brother (Daniel), and his doctor (Archie).  It seems like a lot of characters to juggle, but each voice is clear and distinct.  As stated earlier, the topic is disturbing, and in order to keep Golden Boy from being too tragic, depressing, or overly heavy, there is Daniel.  Daniel is my favorite character, mainly because he brings necessary comedic relief with his stark observations and common sense 10-year-old attitude.

Although Golden Boy is not classified as YA lit, I think given the subject matter, it would be beneficial for teens to read it since Max is a teenager.  I honestly think this would be a great book in teaching people tolerance and acceptance.  Not just for YA, though, Golden Boy is a must read for adults, especially parents.  I loved the differing perspectives of Max’s parents, Steve and Karen.  Both would do anything for their children, and both are kind and loving, but view Max’s situation differently and strongly believe in different courses of action.

I picked up Golden Boy after seeing many people recommending it.  And now I am joining them-go read this book.

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