Boy A Paperback – 25 Oct 2007
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I reads this book almost immediately after watching the film. The film whilst great does not get you into the mind of the characters as much as the book does. Read morePublished 14 months ago by P. J. Steptoe
Engrossed from cover to cover. Painful and thought-provoking.Published 22 months ago by Mrs E L Knight
An excellent and thought provoking book, sad on so many levels, so not one to read if you are depressed.
All parents and adolescents should read it... Read more
I was torn with emotion whilst reading this book, I swung from loathing of the child that killed, to pity for that same child, a desperate sadness for the horrors that he had faced... Read morePublished on 13 Feb. 2014 by ali cat
It's a testament to this book that I read it over a year ago and there are full passages that I can still recall almost verbatim. Read morePublished on 3 Jan. 2014 by SarahJOL
Trite, 2-dimensional treatment of what should have been a fascinating issue. Poor characterisation and what was that ending? Read morePublished on 21 Oct. 2013 by James Love
It is a very touching book. He killed some one young. He cannot replace that soul, but they should give him another chance. Read morePublished on 26 Sept. 2013 by Indra Dayaseelan
A great read with an interesting angle to ponder. Do you give someone a second chance for having messed up badly in their childhood. Once a crimminal, always a crimminal? Read morePublished on 8 Jun. 2013 by Sarah
Thought provoking and relatively controversial! It invited a very interesting mix of emotions towards the main character and demonstrated well the complexities of our modern... Read morePublished on 23 May 2013 by David H Mcelroy