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One of the Boys: A Novel by Daniel Magariel
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One of the Boys: A Novel

by Daniel Magariel

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One of the saddest reads on family violence ever, with a tiny glimmer of hope at the end. Told by a twelve year old boy, he and his older brother are taken from Kansas to New Mexico by their father after their family is split apart. At first it gives the appearance of a liberating road trip, but as the father's weaknesses and cruelties are revealed, the dire situation for the boys becomes painfully apparent. No authority intervenes and the madness continues. The only possibilities for the brothers are their closeness and their valiant attempts to wrest control of their fate. Well written but an ordeal to read.

Quote: "My father equated the granting of privacy with respect." ( )
  froxgirl | Apr 30, 2018 |
One of the Boys, is Magariel’s debut novel and he is a heck of a writer. I read the gripping novella in one sitting and although some parts were difficult to take in, I found myself wanting to read more. However, this somber, dark story is not for everyone. If you are faint of heart and easily shocked, skip this one! The book deals with explicit language, abuse (verbal and physical), and drugs. On the other hand, it is not all gloomy. The love the brothers have for one another is powerful and uplifting. The flow of the novel was steady, but at times I had a hard time knowing if what was taking place was in the present or past. I did find it interesting the protagonists in the novel have no names, but don’t worry, this does not affect the story one bit. Though the ending was not my favorite, I look forward to future books from Magariel. I hope he can give us a story that is not as dark as One of the Boys, so other readers are willing to give him a try.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Scribner for providing me with an ARC copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review.

For more reviews, visit my blog: http://debbiesbooknook.com/book-reviews.html ( )
  debbiesbooknook | Apr 27, 2018 |
Daniel Magariel

One of the Boys (168 pages)

A story about a father who convinces his two teenage sons that living with him rather than their mother/his estranged wife is not just more fun but also the opportunity for a fresh start – and who wouldn’t want that? Soon, they move from Kansas to New Mexico and while the boys notice their father’s occasional strange and over-the-top behavior, things work out well in the beginning. It isn’t until they find out that they live with a drug-addict, whose craving for the next high makes him more and more unpredictable and violent, that the two brothers try to find a way out. Caught between wishing for a better life and the love they (still) feel for their father, the two find themselves unwilling to stay, yet unable to leave.

Magariel’s novel about a drug-addict and the effect his addiction has on his family is realistic, shocking, and brutal. What lacks though, is the deeper meaning of this short, yet unbelievably graphic and horrible story. While the two boys are very likable characters and one cannot help but root for them to get out as fast as they can, the circumstances they find themselves in are, unfortunately, nothing special or rare in today’s world. Many books have been written about it, and many will surely be written in the days to come. It is a topic that is as shocking as it is normal these days, but maybe that is what Magariel was aiming for when he wrote “One of the Boys”: to portray the normality, the despair, and fear that comes with living with an addict as a parent in today’s society. It is a brutal life, one that has no mercy on those living it, yet also one that is still filled with love and loyalty. A novel that will stay with you for a few minutes after the last page is turned but that is unfortunately forgotten soon after.

Note: coarse language, graphic violence, sexual references

Rating: ★★★☆☆ ( )
  mandkrue86 | Mar 14, 2018 |
This is a hard novel to read, and if there is anyone who finds it difficult to read about child abuse, don't go for this novel. That being said, this is a very moving novel. The author really shows the various different emotions that the two boys feel towards their parents and towards each other. The boys (whose names we never discover) feel deeply even while they don't express themselves fully; they are definitely not one-dimensional characters. The author not only depicts the pain and hurt they feel from the abuse but also takes the time to show the hope and desire for love that the boys feel. I think that the author really took the time to explore every emotion that is expressed in order to create a full picture of the boys and their emotional states before, during, and after dealing with abuse. It's definitely not a happy story, and it really reflects the reality of child abuse. It isn't always the case that children are rescued from a bad home and get their happy ending and perfect life. Oftentimes, the children have no support and must struggle in their circumstances and simply hope for the best. It's a harsh reality but it is necessary for us to see because it challenges the assumptions that people make about victims of child abuse and the "ease" in which they can "move on" from their experience. This was a short read but it dealt with a difficult subject in a respectful yet truthful manner, and I appreciated that very much. This is definitely a novel to read if you think you can handle this topic!

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  veeshee | Jan 29, 2018 |
Despite the fact that this was a really short book I couldn't make it more than half way through it. The father and his two young sons were united against the sons' mother and lied to ensure that the father got custody. Dad was a drug-addicted, misogynistic child abuser. This was too unpleasant to force myself to read any more of it. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. ( )
  fhudnell | Jul 13, 2017 |
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"A riveting and emotionally harrowing debut about two young brothers and their physically and psychologically abusive father--One of the Boys is 160 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. Set in the sublimely stark landscape of suburban New Mexico and a cramped apartment shut tight to the world, One of the Boys conveys with stunning prose and chilling clarity a young boy's struggle to hold onto the dangerous pieces of his shattered family. Harrowing and beautiful, Daniel Magariel's masterful debut is a story of survival: two foxhole-weary brothers banding together to protect each other from the father they once trusted, but no longer recognize. With the emotional core of A Little Life and the compact power of We the Animals, One of the Boys is among the most moving and remarkable debut novels you'll ever read"-- "A riveting and emotionally harrowing debut about two young brothers and their physically and psychologically abusive father--One of the Boys is 160 perfect, stunning pages by a major new talent"--… (more)

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