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2513782,192 (3.95)24
This searing and heartfelt novel is a devastating indictment of society's inability to reconcile childhood innocence with reality.
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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
I have wanted to read this book for a long time. It was well written; there was nothing in the writing that made me feel uncomfortable or irritated. The story was interesting and had echoes of the story of two boys in the UK who abducted and killed a young child. I really felt for the main character - I wanted him to succeed in his new life. He had appeared to have moved on and that prison had done its job. It has provoked my thinking in relation to how I would feel about being close to an individual who had committed a really terrible crime in their youth but had since 'done their time' and become an adult. ( )
  Fluffyblue | Oct 12, 2017 |
Boy A participated in the commission of a heinous crime at the age of 9. Fifteen years later, he is released from custody, given a new identity, Jack Burridge, and sets about to build a life for himself.

He gets a job, makes friends, and gets a girlfriend. He keeps reassuring himself that he is 'normal,' but the tabloids, knowing only that he has been released, but not his identity or location, scream that the public deserves to know where he is.

The book raises interesting issues about crimes committed by children and about the role the media plays in crime and punishment. It is a very quick read. ( )
  arubabookwoman | Apr 25, 2017 |
thoughtful and wistful...

Spoiler alert... I am not sure how much of the narrative is carried by the insinuations of innocence of Boy A in the story, how much you want to believe everything will work out for him as the story describes Boy B's character. I just finished Scaredy Cat by Marc Billingham which had a similar childhood folie a deux at it's heart; and the discovery that Boy A was guilty after all was not a real surprise, as I felt that he would not have seemed so repentant a character if he had not been guilty.
Despite the subject matter, an enjoyable read. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Harrowing. Heartbreaking. Fabulously discussion-worthy. All these are apt ways to describe Jonathan Trigell’s lightning bolt to the nervous system, ‘Boy A.’ It would be pretty accurate to say I loved this book, and even when I hated it, I loved it, because I realized when it was making me edgy and mad it was actually making me think. You don’t have to agree with it’s political viewpoint, but you will have to allow your beliefs and preconceptions to be challenged for the sake of the experience.

Jack is not an orphan, but he might as well be. After years locked away for a ghastly childhood crime, Jack has been reintroduced to society under a different identity, hiding from the media and potential acts of vigilantism. Jack’s Liberal social worker, Terry, believes he is essentially good. But can Jack really start his life over? Can he fall in love? Does he deserve to be given a second chance, considering what he did to another life?

Throughout the book Jack is portrayed to be a bit childlike and naïve, without coming off a saccharine or eye-rollingly idiotic. His romance with Michelle, a more experienced young woman, is touching and real. Finally a love interest with more reason for being than simply saving a troubled young man from himself. Michelle is not a manic pixie dream girl. She reminds me of the character from “Silver Linings Playbook” (the movie.) She’s made up of parts- strength, shrewdness, vulnerability. And she likes all those bits, even the dirty ones.

‘Boy A’, above all, a meditation on growing up, the possibility and unpredictability of change, and the horrors of living under the scrutinizing eye of the media. The writing is incisive and laden with layers of meaning. The ending is bleak, but also leaves us to contemplate how such a pay-off could’ve been avoided.

The only thing I really didn’t like about this book is the snide judgment with which the author portrays Angela, the victim of Jack’s adolescent crime. Angela is ten, but the author seems to treat her as responsible beyond her years, while the blame is displaced from Jack and his unnamed, delinquent friend. Once a bitch, always a bitch, the novel seems to say, which really didn’t sit well with me. I think less time could be spent on portraying Angela as a spoiled princess that ‘bad things just didn’t happen to’ and more time showing the grief of her family at such a senseless crime should have been incorporated. While focusing almost entirely on Jack’s pain is novel, it also seems kind of inappropriate considering the subject matter.

Although I found that aspect of ‘Boy A’ somewhat reprehensible, the rest of the book was so beautifully written and psychologically complex that I cannot help writing a glowing review. The shifting perspectives (though fully grounded in third-person) give a darker, deeper look into the events that make up the book’s chapters. I also highly recommend the film adaptation with Andrew Garfield. Garfield gives a beautifully realized portrayal of Jack, and the most important aspects of the book are retained in the film version. Happy reading! ( )
  filmbuff1994 | Jun 11, 2015 |
Jack at twenty four years old has just been released from prison, he is in the company of Terry, his long assigned care officer, ahead he has a new life invented for him; only the name Jack did he choose for himself. But can he make a success of it? He has grown up in juvenile institutions having committee as a child, along with an accomplice, an horrendous crime. All seems to go well, he has work, makes good friends, even a girlfriend who loves him; yet he finds it a struggle to live as this invented person, and of course there are those, including the tabloid press, who cannot forget what happened in the past.

By introducing us to Jack as a young man before we know the extent of his crime, it is easy to accept him without judgement, and he comes across as a friendly, slightly naïve, but very likeable young guy. As we learn more about his unhappy upbringing, for we jump back and forth in time chapter by chapter, we are even more endeared to him. Having so endeared Jack to us, what subsequently transpires is all the more involving, for our heart goes out to the youngster and especially when everything appears to be falling apart for him.

The other characters are well drawn and very believable, including Terry, his devoted carer, his fun loving friends and workmates, and his attractive and slightly voluptuous girlfriend.

Jonathan Trigell writes eminently readable prose which captures just the right intimate mood. It is a thought provoking, cleverly yet subtly constructed story, with a touch of irony, and great humanity. Boy A is heart rending tale that could as easily be fact as fiction, and all the more moving for that. ( )
  presto | Apr 24, 2012 |
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