One of the Boys: A Novel

One of the Boys: A Novel

by Daniel Magariel


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One of the Boys 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure why I expected Daniel Magariel's One of the Boys to be a thriller; perhaps it was the publisher's references to "late night noises," "the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters," and violence. As it turns out, One of the Boys is not a thriller in the sense of a novel which elicits feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, or anticipation, although the sense of anxiety is palpable. Instead, it is something much richer and deeper. The family at the center of One of the Boys is a textbook example of dysfunctionality, with rampant physical and emotional abuse battering the two brothers who, along with their father, are the "boys" of the title. What made this book stand out for me was Magariel's decision to use the younger boy as a first-person narrator recounting events as they occur. I don't think I've ever seen such brutality described in such a matter-of-fact tone by a child, as if he sees nothing that happens as particularly surprising. To him, his life is just "business as usual." My response as a reader was disturbingly visceral; I just wanted to snatch him up and run with him as fast and as far away as possible. Parents especially should brace themselves before opening this book, which insists upon being read in a single sitting. I also recommend that you have your children nearby when you reach the end; I guarantee that you're going to need a hug. This review was based on a free ARC provided by the publisher.
ecr More than 1 year ago
What a disappointment. My impression of this book is nothing like the 4-5 star ratings posted for this book. The author does a satisfactory job of describing the family dysfunction - but by itself - that does not make for a good story. The writing style is ordinary at best. Pass on this one.
ecr More than 1 year ago
What a disappointment. My impression of this book is nothing like the 4-5 star ratings posted for this book. The author does a satisfactory job of describing the family dysfunction - but by itself - that does not make for a good story. The writing style is ordinary at best. Pass on this one.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
The boys were confused, they don’t know who to trust or what the truth any more. All they knew was that they wanted to be together. It was the stronger one, the one who could drive their message in, that won and in this novel, it is the father who comes out the winner. Unfortunately, it was the boys who lose. This was a short novel but it had all the feels and the power of a very long story. It was like sliding down a long tunnel, the story becoming more desperate the more that I read. I saw his boys, his own children being held captive by their father, a man who was strict and out-of-control most of the time. His own selfish pleasures took center stage while his boys paid the price. The father played the boys against each other, for he was always the winner, for he had to be, there was no other way. This novel was shocking but it is reality. To think this occurs behind closed doors and no one knows, is mind-blowing. The author holds nothing back as this story comes at us full-force and shows us the power that one adult figure can do over innocent children. It’s a powerful story, one that you cannot walk away from without being changed. 4.5 stars I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Scribner in exchange for an honest review. 13
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
Boy oh boy, did this book have me going. If I have to put up with the dad, I don't even want to be one of the boys. Uh, huh, no how, no way. This man was an absolute psycho and that's on a good day. There is no way you can put this book down. You have to know what's going to happen next. It's like a train wreck. You know you shouldn't look. Your not supposed to look. However, you have to, you just have to, you can't help it. This book is like that. The author has you in his grips and he's not going to let you go. No friggin' way, he's got you trapped. There's lots of things going on in your mind, your thinking, "surely not". Yet you keep reading, just to see, did he? You keep reading, and "oh no, he didn't", but yes, he did. This is one book of 2017 that I soon won't forget whether I want to or not. Kudos to the author for such a memorable, thrilling, despicable (in a good way) book. Thanks to Scribner for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel is a very highly recommended debut story of survival that focuses on a father's physically and psychologically abuse toward his sons. The unnamed 12-year-old narrator, his older brother, and their father have survived a brutal divorce and custody battle referred to by the father as "the war." After the narrator participated in lying about his mother's negligence so his father could gain custody and the narrator can be "one of the boys," the three leave Kansas and move to New Mexico to begin a new life. The boys go to school and join basketballs teams while their father works from home. At first it seems that they have a chance at the good life their father promised. Soon it becomes clear to the narrator that their father will be just as violently abusive toward his sons as the father was toward their mother. He also figures out that his father is covering up a serious drug addiction. Their father is quickly headed downhill and the boys are increasingly exposed to an increasingly odd group of strangers in their home. The boys have only each other to lean on for support while they try to carefully maneuver around their father's erratic, violent drug-induced mood swings. Magariel's carefully written prose manages to capture the boys' loss of trust in their father, and the hopelessness they feel trying to figure out what to do next to survive life with him. The way the charismatic father manipulates his sons and their response is chilling. He is their father and wants what is best for them, right? Because they are "one of the boys" it's their job to protect and look out for him, right? The mixed emotions the boys experience is heart-breaking, yet realistically portrayed. This is a remarkable, stunning, brilliant, extremely well-written debut novel. At only 176 pages it can be read in one sitting, but the modest size of the novel belies the huge emotional impact on the reader. That is going to last much longer. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Scribner.