Boys Don't Cry Paperback – 28 Apr 2011
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"An extraordinary book, and truly is Malorie Blackman at her best" (Guardian)
"Blackman's emotional intelligence is such that Boys Don't Cry should be read aloud in every secondary school" (Amanda Craig The Times)
"Her writing at its best, creating characters and a story which, once read, will not easily go away" (Nick Tucker Independent)
"Blackman grapples with contemporary issues without ever letting them overwhelm the story and characterisation. A winner" (Suzi Feay Financial Times)
"This is an adroit investigation of family relations, very clearly portrayed" (Toby Clements Daily Telegraph)
A hard-hitting teenage novel from the acclaimed author of the bestselling Noughts and Crosses sequence.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Without wanting to give too much away, Dante has a baby dumped on him, his daughter he didn't know existed. I thought the book was going to solely revolve around that, which I wouldn't have minded, but it turned out to be so so much more. I won't spoil it for you but I must demand you read this book!!!
Except, when he opens the door it's not the postman. It's his ex girlfriend Melanie with a baby. His baby. When Melanie disappears leaving Dante with the baby, he and his father and brother are drawn together in order to raise his daughter Emma.
As with many Malorie Blackman novels, this is told in alternating point of view chapters, split between Dante and his brother, Adam. Alongside the main plot of Dante learning to be a father is Adam exploring his sexuality and finding himself in an unsafe relationship.
This is a great novel that explores toxic masculinity and how societal ideals of masculinity and patriarchy couple together resulting in an inability to share feelings in men. Much of the situations presented in the novel are combatted by characters opening up and sharing their emotions, but it is a fraught, tense and emotional book. I read it in just a few hours, as it was near impossible to put down.
When Dante Bridgeman finds the biggest surprise in his life lying in a baby buggy, to say that his life is turned upside down is an understatement. Suddenly, he is no longer a typical student waiting for his A level results and university, but a single father to an eleven-month baby, Emma. With his ex-girlfriend and the baby's mother Melanie suddenly MIA, he finds his future veering dangerously towards the unknown. The changes in Dante's life - every minute details - is well described and highlighted. I'm familiar with the difficulty of babysitting, but not quite with the difficulty of single parenting. Dante's narration is vivid and so real it's almost like a first hand account. Nothing quite gets to you than the voice of someone who has really been there - I got that from Dante. His sacrifices opens the reader's eyes to the reality of being a parent - single, teenage or otherwise. His concerns starts from the basic (what about university? How do I stop her from crying?) and evolves to the bigger (will I be a good father? How will I provide for Emma?) questions. I am a lot like Dante in situation (A level results, university...) but it is his questions that makes him so normal, so average. That, more than anything, makes Dante real. His actions, his thoughts and his words show his flaws, but it also channels his growth as a person, as a brother, as a son and as a father to Emma.
Interspersed with Dante's life changing moments are his brother Adam's. My heart went out to Adam in this book - he's a cheerful lad who is neither ashamed nor afraid of his sexuality. The challenges that face him are not the easiest ones to face nor read. Despite that, he has an indomitable spirit that rises up and faces these challenges head on. Of course, Adam has his share of challenges, but with his family's support never once leaving his side, Adam's strength is clear for all to see. I'm not sure who between him and Emma I find more adorable - but both of them are near top of the list of characters I love hugely.
There are varying sub plots in the book in support of the main plot. These elaborates more on the characters and are very well ingrained with the narrative. Mostly, they are resolved and I am one happy reader with how everything turned out. The secondary characters are involved in these subplots and are also very important as they are foils to and frame the protagonists. Quite simply, I have no complaints! It's my first Malorie Blackman read and I sure will check out more of her works.
Boys Don't Cry is an eye-opener, a complex novel that is one of the few which effectively thrusts the reader into issues that matter most in the big world. It made me cry, it made me think and it made me want to read so much more. I love this!
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