If someone could have warned me that starting this book would put my weekend projects at risk…. Well, who am I kidding: I still would have started the book! One of the Boys broke my heart, it frustrated me, it’s one of those books that you want to reach into and rescue someone from it. Here is the publisher’s blurb then I’ll continue with my thoughts.
A riveting and emotionally harrowing debut about two young brothers and their physically and psychologically abusive father—One of the Boys is 176 perfect, stunning pages by a major new talent.
The three of them—a twelve-year-old boy, his older brother, their father—have won the war: the father’s term for his bitter divorce and custody battle. They leave their Kansas home and drive through the night to Albuquerque, eager to begin again, united by the thrilling possibility of carving out a new life together. The boys go to school, join basketball teams, make friends. Meanwhile their father works from home, smoking cheap cigars to hide another smell. But soon the little missteps—the dead-eyed absentmindedness, the late night noises, the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters—become sinister, and the boys find themselves watching their father change, grow erratic, then violent…
The voice of this book is that of the youngest child. We experience firsthand; the rage, the hope, the fear, the utter volatility that is living with an addict. I truly couldn’t put this book down. I NEEDED to know if these two boys would make it out alive.
Page after page, Daniel Magariel faultlessly paints the father’s control and manipulation. There were moments I felt hopeful that things would turn around, only to be heartbroken again… Yes, it’s a tough read, yes you will be angry but it is also a book about survival. Experiencing the abuse through he eyes of this child is eye opening. Children shouldn’t have to be this strong.
This 176 page novel is an outstanding debut for Magariel. It knocked the air out of me.
Having read Room by Emma Donahue, I’d recommend this book to anyone who was touched by her novel.
One Of The Boys by Daniel Magariel
Published by Scribner an imprint of Simon & Schuster
A copy of this novel was offered to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.