I had the privilege (??) of reading Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin liiiikkeee two months ago and completely forgot to write about it. Maybe that is a sort of prelude to the book, but I’ll let you judge for yourself.
Tarttelin brought up a lot of interesting. bold topics. She tried to cover intersexuality, rape, affairs/rocky marriages, autism, suicide with maybe a little of obsessive compulsive tendencies sprinkled on top. I think it’s safe to say that she tried to make this novel a bit TOO jaw-dropping. I was definitely shocked by some of the things I read, and IMMEDIATELY uncomfortable within the first ten pages, but I think she spread herself too thin honestly. It came off as a bit unpolished and cluttered. I think if she had tried to focus her attentions on maybe one or two of those topics, the end result would have been a lot more enticing and made her seem like less of an amateur.
It was very interesting how she chose to give points of view from certain characters, which I am a sucker for. However, some of the characters she focused on seemed a bit pointless to me. Reading those other perspectives is supposed to give me some sort of insight into the story that I otherwise would not have gained through a third person omniscient narrator. But with this novel I actually felt myself wanting the stability and consistency of just one narrator. What am I really able to take away from this story by reading the opinions of an autistic child? I didn’t think the kid added anything, and neither did the doctor. Archie the female doctor who takes SUCH an interest in one particular patient that she goes on a researching binge, even though she doesn’t trust those pesky computers. Uh. Who IS this woman? Is she 80 years old, because if so maybe it’s time to retire. Archie sucked, I didn’t like her obviously. And honestly a lot of the things that came from her REALLY didn’t add much to the story other than a little extra knowledge about intersexuality; and even then it wasn’t much that a third person narrator couldn’t have summed up quickly.
Of course there were some good parts of the book and I did pretty much like it. I just felt that it needed a bit more work and maybe a little rewrite makeover. Instead of trying to conquer so many issues, Tarttelin should’ve focused on the ones that were most important to her in this story. I’m sure that would’ve been the intersexuality which was the biggest shock factor – I think that in and of itself is enough for one novel without adding all the other petty dramatic crap.