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Boy A Paperback – 25 Oct 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; Film Tie-in Ed edition (25 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846686628
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846686627
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Creepy and involving... From the beginning, Trigell weaves a sense of drama and a disturbing feeling of inevitability (Independent)

Trigell brilliantly depicts the pressures of living with a terrible secret... written with a naive clarity which evokes the unfamiliar wonders of the outside world (Guardian)

A challenging novel of atrocity and redemption... [A] fast-paced, thought provoking read, perhaps all the more significant for the questions it can't answer (Big Issue)

From the Publisher

"'Boy A' won the Waverton Award for best first novel of 2004; the prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, for best book in the commonwealth by an author under 35; and The World Book Day Prize 2008 for the most discussion worthy novel by a living writer."

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was very surprised to find that this is the first novel from Jonathan Trigell, Boy A is a very powerful & hard-hitting book, written in a very easy to read style and totally unputtdownable!
Boy A, or Jack as he is now called, is a young man released from prison after being locked up for most of his life. The book charts his release in to the real world and how he deals with everyday situations that we all take for granted. He also has to learn to cope with the aftermath of the horrific act that got him sentenced. One minute a monster, one minute a boy who just did something very bad when he was young, Jack really gets under your skin and causes you to think – what if?
Totally different to any other book that I have read recently it is also very refreshing to read a book where the ending did not disappoint! I can not recommend this enough.
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Format: Paperback
Reading the publisher's blurb gives you an idea of the plot but reading the book is something different. Boy A is "reborn" following a spell in various prison establishments and is let free. This is his story - but as we go through the chapters of the novel, each one starting with a letter of the alphabet, his backstory is revealed - it seems that Boy A can never escape his past, despite having done the time for his crime.

The reader is made to feel something of a voyeur - because the shame of Boy A (now called Jack) is so deep. There are indications that Boy A is in the same position as one of the killers of Jamie Bulger - of being described by the media as a monster who has done something unforgiveable and inhuman. The reader is put in the position, frequently, of the public. There are allusions to the publicity surrounding the crime in the tabloids, and the role of the media in Jack's life is fundamental to the plot: despite the theory of crime and punishment, it seems that there can be no redemption, and no new rebirth.

The author intends us to feel not only pity for the protagonist, but also to explain how he has come to be this way - exploring through the medium of the old case files and the history of Boy A how he has never received the love and attention that would have led him to grow up as a socially responsible member of society, and thus how Boy A has lacked the appropriate stimuli to develop properly. There is even the possibility that Boy A was the accomplice to the crime committed by the other boy, and that he was unaware of the extent of the crime caused. As a child he has been tried in an adult court, and both prior and post sentence, he has never really been cared for by adults. Only his cell mate and his probation officer have a link with him.
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Format: Paperback
Boy A by Jonathan Trigell was first published in 2004 but reissued this year as being filmed for Channel 4. Despite its title, it is not of the "I had an awful childhood but survived so that you could feel good" genre. It's a fictional account of Jack (Boy A) and the events that lead up to and from his release from prison on license. He was a child murder of a child...or was he? Think of the 10 year old child murders of James Bulger in 1993 and the consequences should one of them try and rehabilitate back into society as adults. The crime paid for...but can the murder of an innocent ever be paid for? Is revenge more important then justice or forgiveness?

This is not a fractional account of what if, rather it explores the notion of what is evil and that love need actions for it to be love. However, it does this not by heavy moralizing and cut out figures that act as pegs for this or that idea. But is a post modernist novel in that we jump into other characters heads, and go up and down time over 26 chapters that follow the alphabet. But fear not, you don't have to rush back to your Agatha Christie as this creates a sense of foreboding and suspense.

During the course of the story we get inside Jack's head as he struggles to understand the world he has not seen since he was 10, and adjust to having a best friend (Chris) and even a girlfriend (Mitchell). But all the time his secret holds him back so he can never be truthful, never real with them. He is helped by his probationary officer (Terry), who genuinely cares for him and stands by him but at the expense of his own son's welfare with tragic consequences. In and out of this story we also find out what Boy A and Boy B did and the if's and what's of Boy A's deeds.
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Format: Paperback
The idea of creating a book trying to draw sympathy for a suspected child killer is bold, beautiful and brilliant.
The book is absorbing, drawing you into Jack's new world while never letting you forget his past.

I read this after seeing the TV special (which I usually try and avoid doing), and for a change they stick very closely to each other - the only real difference being that the book contains much more backstory to the characters in Jack's world: his mum, Terry, Boy B, etc.

Would recommend this book to anyone, especially mature teen readers who can always do with a bit of a moral grey area to get them thinking.
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By Benjamin TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
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.
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