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Golden Boy

Golden Boy

A Novel

  • reading group guide
  • 1award
"This is a gripping and fully-realized novel." —Emily St. John Mandel, National Book Award-nominated author of Station Eleven


2014 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD FINALIST
WINNER OF THE 2014 ALEX AWARD
BOOKLIST TOP 10 FIRST NOVEL OF 2013
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2013

Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he’s the perfect son, the perfect friend, and the perfect crush for the girls in his school. He’s even really nice to his little brother. Karen, Max’s mother, is determined to maintain the façade of effortless excellence she has constructed through the years, but now that the boys are getting older, she worries that the façade might soon begin to crumble. Adding to the tension, her husband Steve has chosen this moment to stand for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.

The Walkers are hiding something, you see. Max is special. Max is different. Max is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won’t his parents talk about it? What else are they hiding from Max about his condition and from each other? The deeper Max goes, the more questions emerge about where it all leaves him and what his future holds, especially now that he’s starting to fall head over heels for someone for the first time in his life. Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Will anyone ever want him—desire him—once they know? And the biggest one of all, the question he has to look inside himself to answer: Who is Max Walker, really?

Golden Boy is a novel you’ll read in one sitting but will never forget; at once a riveting tale of a family in crisis, a fascinating exploration of identity, and a coming-of-age story like no other.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476705835 | 
  • May 2013
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Golden Boy includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

Max Walker is a true “golden boy” in everyone’s eyes—his mother’s, his brother’s, his teachers’, friends, and the girls at school. His parents are also very successful and are local celebrities in the affluent suburb where they live, especially now that Max’s father is standing for a seat in Parliament. But Max is hiding something: he is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won’t his parents talk about it? Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Who is Max Walker really? Told from multiple perspectives, including Max, his brother Daniel, his mother Karen, his father Steve, his doctor Archie, and the “kook” Sylvie, who has stolen his heart, Golden Boy is a riveting tale of a family in crisis, a fascinating exploration of identity, and a coming-of-age story like no other.

Topics & Questions for Discussion see more

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About the Author

Abigail Tarttelin
Photograph by Diego Indraccolo.

Abigail Tarttelin

Abigail Tarttelin is a writer, an actress, and the book editor for Phoenix magazine in the UK. Her novel, Golden Boy, received a 2014 Alex Award and was a finalist for the 2014 Lambda Literary Award. She lives in London. Find out more at AbigailTarttelin.com.

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