Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: Golden Boy

Title: Golden Boy
Author: Abigail Tarttelin
Published: May 2013
Publisher: Atria Books

The first few chapters of this book were so difficult to read. Whether I'm watching it happen in a movie or reading about it in a book, sexual assault is hard to stomach in fiction. Because if you're investing yourself in a story, placing yourself in a character's experiences, then why would you want to experience something so terrible and violent? Many people read as a form of escapism. If that's the main reason you read, steer clear of Golden Boy. If, however, you read to experience empathy, then this is the book for you.

I'd say the main purpose of this book is inciting the experience of understanding and compassion in the reader. For my own part, before reading Golden Boy, I knew nearly nothing about hermaphrodites. Through reading this book, I not only learned the biology behind intersexuality, but grew a lot of understanding and compassion for people who lie somewhere on a spectrum of sexuality and must live in a world with a limited conception of gender. Never before have I understood so well the meaning of "boy" and "girl" and what they DON'T mean. The book had heart-hurting moments, but also moments of poignancy and triumph. There is a sweet romance that is excellently played out.

Highly recommend for those who enjoy YA fiction for its complexity and worth as a genre, those interested in conceptions of gender, and for those who seek to understand other human beings through reading literature.

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