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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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Golden Boy: A Novel Hardcover – May 21, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Sixteen-year-old Max is a golden boy. The son of wealthy parents (both are barristers), he is the drop-dead handsome captain of the soccer team, an outstanding student, and one of the most popular boys in his class. He seemingly has it all. But he also has a closely guarded secret that only his family knows. He is intersex (the new clinical term for hermaphrodite). He is literally half male and half female. Max is comfortable with his circumstance, though, until something unthinkable happens, and his and his family’s lives begin to unravel; for the first time, Max begins to regard himself as freakish. “I feel like for years my family has been pretending I’m normal,” he thinks bitterly, “and I’m really not.” Told from six different viewpoints—those of Max, both of his parents, his younger brother, his girlfriend, and his doctor—the novel is a dramatic, thoroughgoing investigation of the complexities of sexuality and gender. Never overly clinical, this is not a case study, but rather, at its heart, a warmly human coming-of-age story, thanks to the fact that Max is such an appealing character. And so his desperate search for identity is gripping, emotionally engaging, and genuinely unforgettable, as, indeed, is this accomplished first novel. --Michael Cart

Review

“Abigail Tarttelin is a fearless writer. In Golden Boy, she balances a harrowing coming of age with a deeply compassionate portrait of a family in crisis, and the result is sometimes brutal, often tender, and always compelling. This is a gripping and fully-realized novel.” (Emily St. John Mandel, National Book Award nominated author of Station Eleven)

“Abigail Tarttelin has written an unforgettable novel. Golden Boy pulls you in from the very first page and holds you tight, gripping you by the throat and not letting go until it reaches its brilliant and masterful conclusion. Max Walker is the golden boy, and you will root for him, cry for him, fear for him, at times get angry at him but guaranteed you will never forget him. Not ever. The characters who make up Max's universe, from determined Karen, to distant Steve, to a deceitful Hunter, are all written in a perfect pitch. The dialogue is real, the pace is stealth bomber fast, and the plot never lets up. Tarttelin has blasted it out of the park in her first at bat here in the States. She has written a novel that goes beyond the page and reaches into a reader's heart and stays there, never to leave, never to be forgotten. Golden Boy is that good of a novel, and Tarttelin is that gifted of a writer. This book simply deserves to be read and treasured.” (Lorenzo Carcaterra, author of Sleepers and Wolf)

Golden Boy is at once meditative and swift, a coming-of-age tale about the difficulties of growing up amid shame and secrets and success. Abigail Tarttelin writes with a sharp-eyed grace in this fascinating, heartfelt gem of a novel.” (Dean Bakopoulos, author of My American Unhappiness)

Golden Boy is terrific. A poignant, brave and important book.” (S.J. Watson, author of Before I Go To Sleep)

“Gritty yet humane, startlingly modern yet utterly timeless, Golden Boy hits all the deepest, biggest novelistic notes—family, identity, tragedy and hope—without the merest hint of strain. In Abigail Tarttelin's American debut, she has already proven herself to be a writer of extraordinary empathy and incredible wisdom... and she makes it look so easy. Tarttelin is the real deal.” (Rachel Shukert, author of Starstruck and Everything Is Going To Be Great)

“A dramatic, thoroughgoing investigation of the complexities of sexuality and gender.... A warmly human coming-of-age story, thanks to the fact that Max is such an appealing character. And so his desperate search for identity is gripping, emotionally engaging, and genuinely unforgettable.” (Booklist (starred))

“Gripping and beautifully-written, Abigail Tarttelin's Golden Boy is a courageous and profound exploration of social and sexual identity and its world of manifold complexities and challenges." (Sahar Delijani, author of Children of the Jacaranda Tree)

“...gripping...” (Cosmopolitan)

“Tarttelin writes sensitively about how an intersex child might cope with the heightened emotions of adolescence.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“...intense and fearless.... With empathy and imagination, Tarttelin describes an adolescent search for identity made monstrous by Max's uncertainty over that self-identifier most of us take for granted: am I a man or a woman?” (Publishers Weekly)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476705801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476705804
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #927,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. I got sucked into the story right away and had a hard time putting it down. I enjoyed the format of the book - the way each chapter was told from a different characters point of view, with the whole story weaving together. The characters were well-drawn. The story itself was multifaceted. The book explored several themes, including the issues faced by intersex individuals - especially teens, the damage caused by lack of communication and the harboring of secretes, and the question of where parents draw the line between making decisions for their children and letting their children make decisions for themselves The book was at turns heartbreaking and inspirational. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
Firstly and as usual, I should note that I received this book via a GoodReads giveaway. Despite the kindness of receiving a book for nothing, my candid opinions follow below.

I won't bother to summarize as the book's description does quite a nice job of that on its own. It may be worth noting that I just picked up the book without the benefit of the summary so I was fairly surprised at the opening few chapters. In almost all ways I have come increasingly to believe that the less you know about a book going in the better off you are. As general note, however, one should know that this is a circumspect style narrative in which we hear from five different narrators. Our protagonist is the eldest son in a family of four and each of the family members (plus a love interest) take it in turns to give their side of the story. This can make for a sometimes fractured but very illuminating style of reading once you figure out who all the names are attached to.

It is usually somewhere around this point that I tend to go into a positives/negatives section but for once I'm rather at a loss for anything negative to say. This book deals with a very serious and intimate issue (again, no spoilers) but does so in such a candid and informative way that I found myself rather taken aback. I received this book almost a year ago but didn't really pay it much attention. I left it moldering on the shelf for a long time and now find myself disappointed that I didn't bump it to the front of the reading queue long ago. The whole thing just drips with realism and sincerity while asking serious questions about what exactly it means to be male or female in modern society.
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Format: Paperback
GOLDEN BOY

Intersex is a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't fit the normal definition of male or female. Such is Max -- a wonderfully, sweet, kind, loving, strikingly handsome sixteen year old who is struggling with living with being intersex. While trying to cope privately with these problems, Max does what he feels he only can do -- trying to be the perfect person in every possible way, thus, being the GOLDEN BOY.

This was a marvelous book. Set in England, Max is being raised by loving, concerned, over protective parents. While trying to protect Max, they are certainly doing him no favors. His condition is seldom discussed, decisions that should have been made years ago have been neglected. Max is very popular and active in school, the girls love him. Yet, he is afraid to let his relationships go too far, otherwise his 'secret' will be discovered. Max lives in agony, all the while striving to act 'normal'. His parents are caught up in their careers and while loving him and his younger brother, Daniel, they are not addressing the problems that are so obviously causing strife in their entire family.

Then, suddenly, something very awful and traumatic happens to Max. This event turns the entire world of Max and his family upside down and inside out. Consequences result and everyone's lives change -- but do they change for the better, stay the same, or does everything simply fall apart?

Author Abigail Tarttelin handles this sensitive subject with grace and respect. Max boils over with emotions, as do others around him. The book is narrated by all of the different characters. This is a format that I love and that totally works in this book. I simply fell in love with Max.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don’t think anything I write will give this book justice, but I genuinely loved this book and its characters and overall message. This isn’t just a love story. It’s a story about life.

I think the most important thing I took out of reading this was the fact that this was such a real story, besides it being technically fiction. The feelings were real. The inner turmoil that Max faced throughout the story was real. The events that took place were as real as they could get. That’s probably what scared me the most.

I’m fairly ignorant when it comes to gender binary and people who are intersex so GOLDEN BOY was definitely educational and left me thinking that people may not always identify with the gender they were born with and that’s okay. So long as they remember that they are a living person, their gender is not needed to classify who they are. We are all human in the end, regardless of what our gender may be.

I don’t want to give too much away, so I will leave you with this: GOLDEN BOY is an eye-opening, intense, and eloquently written story about Max and the problems he faces being intersex. I cried, I laughed, but more importantly, I felt empathy. I needed this story more than I thought I did. If a book can move me the way GOLDEN BOY did, it will more than likely stay with me long after I have finished it.

Abigial Tarttelin is an incredibly talented writer and is now one of my favorite authors. Thank you so much for wrecking me completely and for this story.

If you haven’t already read this book, please find the time to do so. I’m so genuinely grateful that I did.
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