Max is a cute, sporty and popular 15 year boy living in Oxford and enjoying school, football and girls. He is living a lie though, as he is neither boy or girl. Born intersex, his parents have hidden this fact form all but their best friends. It has never really been a major issue in Max's life until something happens which turns his world, and that of his parents, upside down. All of a sudden, Max finds himself lost and alone in a world where no one is even aware that he is different.
Let me start by saying that I have not read many accounts of intersex, and therefor started this novel with a very open mind.
I was gripped by the end of the first chapter, and read it in a day. I literally could not put it down. The story is intense and heart wrenching and the writing style made it even more enjoyable. The book is split into chapters, with each one alternating between Max, his parents, his brother, his doctor and his girlfriend. I like how this was done as it gave each character a voice and gave the story more depth. Luckily, the medical jargon was not overdone, as often is the case with these types of novels, and the details were neither too much nor too little.
When Max's mother looks back at the period when her child was diagnosed as intersex, the reader may question her judgment in relation to surgery, but this decision was one she couldn't make at the time and then the years seemed to slip past, making the decision an even more difficult one.
My only qualm with this book was the character of Daniel, Max's little brother. He was annoying, spoilt and not a bit likeable. The book would have worked equally well without him.
I couldn't believe the author was in her twenties.....she is a very talented girl and I will keep my eye out for more of her work. This would be an ideal read for a book club who really enjoy getting a discussion going.....I will certainly recommend it to my own club!
Golden Boy will be published by Orion Publishing on 30th January 2014