One of the Boys – by Daniel Magariel


One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel

Hardcover: 176 pages

Publisher: Scribner (March 14 2017)

ISBN-13: 9781501156168

Synopsis: 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.

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.

* * *

I have to start by mentioning the unique language and writing style of this book. I find many books that cover a serious matter (as this one does), try to make the writing style more sophisticated to match the serious themes of the book. One of the Boys does not do this; instead it has a more simple and direct style of writing, which was perfect for the voice of the main character 12 year old boy. And is what made this book so memorable.

The story is about this 12 year old boy, his father and older brother. The reader follows them on their journey as their broken family moves away from their previous life and then two sons watch as their father becomes abusive and an addict. This darker themed book is not usually my style, but the beauty in the writing it what made me keep reading (and very much my style).

By keeping the writing simple and the details short, Magariel creates a beautifully haunting novel of a brave boy trying to hold onto his better past. I could definetly see this novel going down as one of the classics becayuse of the real life issues dealt with (class, addiction, family, abuse) in beautiful prose.

Rating: 9/10

**I received this book from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review*

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