Golden Boy (novel)
|Genre||Novel, family saga|
|May 9, 2013|
|Media type||Print (Paperback and Hardback) and E-book|
Conception and influences
Tarttelin has described how she explores intersex to look at gender roles, expressing the view that, "I don't particularly think men and women are very different". In discussion with Interview Magazine, Tarttelin comments that gender is arbitrary, but "a lot of it is socially constructed". She is concerned that some mainstream analysis of trans children exhibits a narrow world view and limited expectations of gender roles. Nevertheless, she argues that gender determines "whether you are physically intimidating vs. being physically intimidated". Interviewed at Goodreads, Tarttelin says, "I could explore gender through the eyes of someone who had no need to define themselves as either male or female, but was pressured to do so by their family and community". She deliberately placed her protagonist within an "'average' community and a loving family", saying, "I often feel characters with alternative genders and sexualities are treated as outsiders in art, when in fact they are us, and they belong inside our communities. I wanted Golden Boy to take place in a town that readers could see as their own town".
Max Walker is a golden boy: athletic, attractive and intelligent, from a well to do family. A family with secrets, because Max is intersex. When a childhood friend abuses his trust in a horrific way, the family starts to unravel and, ultimately, seek to try to come to terms with its secrets.
The book has been well received by most reviewers, particularly for young adult audiences: "A warmly human coming-of-age story... An important novel, which gives an appealing face to a seldom-seen minority. [Max's] desperate search for identity is gripping, emotionally engaging, and genuinely unforgettable, as, indeed, is this accomplished first novel. Clare Calvet of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Nightlife radio program chose Golden Boy as Book of the Week, "Golden Boy" is an amazing coming of age story. Unique. A dramatic, emotional read. And teachers, please read this powerful page turner." Writing in the Austin Chronicle, Jeanne Thornton writes how the "mainstream" character dealing with problems of secrecy, rather than anatomy, is "way better than some meditation on a mysterious shamanistic figure who has lots to teach us all about gender".
Golden Boy has also been well received by intersex audiences. Hida Viloria, director of Intersex Campaign for Equality, describes the book as a "thoroughly engrossing novel with a pioneering perspective ... The novel explores heavy, complex these with a disarming wholesomeness that elicits nostalgia for the novels of adolescence, making it a perfect fit for teen readers as well as adults. Morgan Carpenter at Organisation Intersex International Australia wrote that the story is "realistically and eloquently described"; it "accurately portrays the difficulties in negotiating issues of conformity and autonomy, and the very human need to be true to one’s self" but also, "it’s arguably “intersex lite”, the easily comprehended, mainstream, middle-class introduction to intersex that maybe we need it to be."
- * 10 Dazzling Debut Novels to Pick Up Right Now, Oprah's Book Club
- Meet Max, 16, a Golden Boy and intersex, GayStarNews, 31 May 2013
- Abigail Tarttelin's Golden Age, Lianne Stokes Interview Magazine, 2013
- Abigail Tarttelin and Golden Boy, Goodreads, April 29, 2013.
- Interview with Abigail Tarttelin, Mandy Huckins at The Washington Independent Review of Books, May 16, 2013.
- Booklist review
- Clare Calvet's Book of the Week: Golden Boy - Nightlife - (ABC), Australian Broadcasting Corporation, June 19, 2013.
- Book Review: 'Golden Boy', Jeanne Thornton in Austin Chronicle, May 21, 2013.
- Three Reasons This Intersex Lesbian Loved Abigail Tarttelin’s “Golden Boy”, Hida Viloria at Autostraddle, August 6, 2013.
- "golden Boy" by Abigail Tarttelin, Organisation Intersex International Australia, 25 May 2013.
- They asked me to name my price: how Abigail Tarttelin went from waitress to hot young author with a £100,000 advance, Evening Standard, 23 May 2013.
- 不能說的病歷書 / Bu neng shuo de bing li shu, WorldCat, 2013
- El chico de oro, WorldCat, 2013
- Menino De Ouro, Livraria da Folha, 2013
- "YALSA's Alex Awards. 2014 Winners". Retrieved 2014-01-31.
- "SLJ Best Books 2013 Adult Books 4 Teens". School Library Journal. November 13, 2013.