Golden Boy

A Novel

Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Golden Boy
"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 fac̦ade 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 fac̦ade 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?"--Jacket.

Published: New York :, Atria Books,, 2013.
Edition: First Atria Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 1476705801
Branch Call Number: F TAR
Characteristics: 347 pages ;,24 cm


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Mar 13, 2015
  • armstp rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Having read this book, I found myself wondering how likely is the confluence of circumstances surrounding the central incident. They may be extremely rare and perhaps improbable, but the author has conveyed a realistic, believable, and moving portrait of a person in such circumstances. The picture created is a highly engaging coming-of-age story, albeit one to which some readers may have trouble relating.

Next day: I felt compelled to re-read critical scenes in the book from start to finish. The author's development of the story's arc is masterful. Her selection of narrators and creation of their voices was well thought out. The dialogs and monologs between critical events may seem talky but the latter realistically represent the whirl of internal voices I remember from being an adolescent. Perhaps most impressive of all is the timing of the switch of parent narrator from mother to father and its effect on the tone of the story. I highly recommend this book.

Jun 03, 2014
  • moviefan01 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This book certainly packs an emotional punch. If I had to list a couple complaints, I'd say it's too talky, and the mom doesn't seem like a sympathetic character. Max is an intersex or hermaphrodite who becomes pregnant as the result of a sexual assault, and the book focuses on this issue as well as what's going on with his family, i.e.,
his parents' jobs, dad's decision to run for Parliament. Certainly a thought-provoking read, as I don't recall reading
much about intersex/hermaphrodite issues in fiction.

Feb 24, 2014
  • mawls rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This story is so touching and heart-wrenching in so many different ways. Max finds his voice through unimaginable, yet believable events in his life. Really this is a story about relationships, society's views of people who are different and coming of age.

Aug 27, 2013
  • jazpur rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This is a sad book all round. Abigail Tarttelin is clearly a fringe writer of talent.This one borders on the voyeuristic and I question its necessity.

Jun 08, 2013
  • tdmenten1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A+ for writing on a subject that is rarely mentioned, let alone the entire focus of a novel. A protagonist who is intersex makes for fresh new fodder for storylines. However, I would give the book a C for character development outside of Max, the protagonist. The reader doesn't really get to understand the parents, the decisions they made at Max's birth, or Hunter's extremely violent treatment of Max (right at the book's opening).

Jun 04, 2013

Good read.
The author had a great sense of how each character should be portrayed and how they would act and feel.
I felt the ending was a little weak, but all in all a well told story.


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