Stories are everything.  They are born before us and if they ever die, they die long after us.  Stories allow us to retell history, recall a special memory, invent an idea, and are sometimes even combinations of the three.  Stories change over time, depending on the need for them.  And we truly need them because we desire to know who we are and where we came from, so that it might help us to figure out how we fit into this great big world.

In Abigail’s Tarttelin’s Golden Boy, many stories are told from different perspectives of each of the novels’ characters.  Max Walker – the perfect child, student, athlete, son, and brother – is intersex.  It’s a secret of course, as his mother is a successful lawyer and his father is standing for Parliament election.  Max’s’ younger brother, Daniel, is a brilliant but troublesome child who sometimes seems to understand things better than most adults – and he idolizes Max with all his heart.

Writing more about the novels’ details will only spoil its beauty, so this will be a short review.  This book absolutely broke me apart and it is one I will not ever forget.  It’s one of those stories that you want to read quickly to find out what will happen but you’re afraid for it to be over because the next book you read will not compare.  I am inspired by each of these characters that an author my own age has created, and I find myself wanting just a few more minutes with each one of them – just as Max suggests of those we are fascinated by.  Though Gender Studies was my favorite class during my undergrad years, one needs no background in it to read this.  I was not even sure that I wanted to read it because it might be a challenge – something different from the norm.  And it was exactly something different – but how beautiful, indeed!  It gets right to the “you” – just underneath your heart, as Daniel would say.  And the stories that can linger long after they’re read or heard – those that creep up under your skin and just make you ache… well, those kinds of stories make it pretty damn wonderful to be human.

Gary gives it four paws, and all 18 claws.  He’s hooked.


Songs to accompany this book:

Gang Starr – Take it Personal (of course)

Sarah McLachlan – Adia

Ray Lamontagne – Are We Really Through?

Ingrid Michaelson – Ghost

Coldplay – The Scientist


2014 Alex Award

Booklist Top 10 First Novel of 2013

School Library Journal Best Book of 2013