Publishing Date: May 21st, 2013
Genre: Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 352 pgs
Source: Received from NetGalley for an honest review
Summary from Goodreads:
The Walker family is good at keeping secrets from the world. They are even better at keeping them from each other.
Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he’s the perfect son, the perfect friend, and the perfect crush for the girls in his school. He’s even really nice to his little brother. Karen, Max’s mother, is a highly successful criminal lawyer, determined to maintain the façade of effortless excellence she has constructed through the years. Now that the boys are getting older, now that she won’t have as much control, she worries that the façade might soon begin to crumble. Adding to the tension, her husband, Steve, has chosen this moment to stand for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.
The Walkers are hiding something, you see. Max is special. Max is different. Max is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won’t his parents talk about it? What else are they hiding from Max about his condition and from each other? The deeper Max goes, the more questions emerge about where it all leaves him and what his future holds, especially now that he’s starting to fall head over heels for someone for the first time in his life. Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Will anyone ever want him—desire him— once they know? And the biggest one of all, the question he has to look inside himself to answer: Who is Max Walker, really?
Written by twenty-five-year-old rising star Abigail Tarttelin, Golden Boy is a novel you’ll read in one sitting but will never forget; at once a riveting tale of a family in crisis, a fascinating exploration of identity and a coming-of-age story like no other.
This book is unlike anything I have ever read before. It follows the story of Max, a boy who is actually intersex. The book starts with a very disturbing scene and it is not for the faint of heart. It pulls on your heartstrings and you can't help but feel for Max. He is stuck in this world and while to everyone else he is male but he knows that he has parts for both male and female. This is something that has not been all that difficult in the past but as Max is coming of age and beginning to explore his sexuality it has become more difficult.
I loved the author's writing and it is amazing to think that she is only 25 years old. The writing is mature and well researched. She writes in a way that you can't help but be empathetic to all the characters (well perhaps not Hunter).
This book not only focuses on the intersex aspect but also shows how difficult being a teen can be when it comes to dating and relationships with parents and siblings. It can be a tumultuous time and I can only imagine what growing up with this family "secret" would have been like. It is something that would be incredibly difficult to deal with. It would make you question core elements of your identity.
This novel makes you think about gender and identity. How much does your gender shape who you are? Many people say that gender can be fluid while others argue that gender makes up a large part of who we are and it is a core element to our identity. I'm not sure which camp I belong to but I can see both sides of the argument. I can't imagine who I would be if I wasn't female but I don't think that I necessarily fall into every gender role that society tries to prescribe to me.
I have to say that this is one of my favourite books of the year thus far and I will definitely be pimping this book out to my friends and family. If you get a chance to read this novel it is definitely worth the read. You will be hooked from the start to the finish and you will be wishing that there was more to read. I would rush out and buy this one as soon as you can because I have a feeling this will be a big hit.