09 March 2012

Book Review: Boys Don't Cry

Book Details
Author: Malorie Blackman
Paperback: 301 pages
Publisher: Corgi Children's (April 2011)

In "Boys Don't Cry", bestselling author Malorie Blackman explores the unchartered territory of teenage fatherhood. You're waiting for the postman - he's bringing your A level results. University, a career as a journalist - a glittering future lies ahead. But when the doorbell rings it's your old girlfriend; and she's carrying a baby. Your baby. You're happy to look after it, just for an hour or two. But then she doesn't come back - and your future suddenly looks very different. Malorie's dramatic new novel will take you on a journey from tears to laughter and back again.

Rating: 5/5

Boys Don’t Cry is my first Malorie Blackman novel and I am in awe. This coming-of-age story is about a 17-year old boy, Dante who had his life planned out. He just received his A Level results from the University and set to study Journalism when his ex-Girlfriend shows up with a baby. She told him it was his and left it in his care.

His bright future suddenly becomes bleak and he didn’t know what to do with the baby who was dumped on him. I must admit, I hated him at first. He was quite an ass in treating Emma and questioning his paternity – but as a teenager who has his full life ahead of him, it was quite understandable. Blackman’s portrayal of a teen-father was very realistic. You can actually feel the denial, guilt, anger and confusion of his current predicament. You will witness how his anger dissipates, and he no longer thinks of himself and instead he thinks what is best for Emma and how he can become a good father.

Not only this, but there are family problems surrounding him as well. When his mother passed away because of cancer, his father was never the same again. He had a strained relationship with both his sons and he's not really good in expressing his emotion. Then there's Adam who lives with a family who is in denial of what he really is. I like his sunny disposition and his honest acceptance of himself. 

The fact that it is Dante (the father) who is left with the child made this book interesting. With hundreds of other YA novels having single (teenage) moms - this book stands out. We see how boys turned into men and how they can excellently cope with whatever life throws at them.

This does not only discusses teen-parenthood but it touches sensitive topics such as violence, homosexuality, post-partum depression, alcohol drinking, importance of safe sex and contraceptives and last but not the least, the value and significance of family. 

Told in alternating narrative between siblings Dante and Adam, Boys Don't Cry is touching tale of coming of age is a captivating and inspiring read for all ages.

Favorite Quotes
“Boys don't cry, but men do.” 

“The point is, you have family and friends who love you. You have a world out there just waiting for you to conquer it. You have a life that will be anything you make it. That's the point.” 

“A backup plan means somewhere in my head, I think I might fail and that word is not in my vocabulary. Plus I'm too talented to fail.” 

“The truth isn't going to bend itself to suit you.” 

“Sometimes the things you're convinced you don't want turn out to be the thing you need the most in this world.” 

“Five years off my life... 
I wondered with a wry smile, would people be immortal if they didn't have kids?” 

“Did you love Melanie?" asked Adam unexpectedly. 
There was no pause before I shook my head. 
"That's a shame," said Adam. 
"Well, someone as special as your daughter should've been... made with love.” 


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