Abigail Tarttelin’s Golden Boy tells the story of Max, an intersex teen whose entire life and sense of self are completely upended after he is brutally raped by a childhood friend. When I say brutal, I mean it–the entire book provides a graphic and unflinching look at the depression and terror that comes with surviving a traumatic experience, and with suddenly not knowing who you are.
I loved this book because it actually made me feel…everything. (All the best books do.) My heart broke over and over again for Max. His family members were infuriatingly real, in a good way. They were loving and terrible and lost and just trying to do the best they could, which was often not enough. And Max was real, too. I can’t speak for what it is like to be intersex, but in my limited opinion I felt that Max was written with compassion and sensitivity. (If anyone feels otherwise, I would be more than happy to hear your opinion.)
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel–as much as you can enjoy having your heart torn to shreds. It was a very raw and moving story of searching for one’s identity and healing after trauma.