Its A-Level results day for Dante, a bright future at university and then a career as a journalist await him but then his ex-girlfriend Mel turns up on his doorstep holding a baby and his whole world turns upside down. Mel claims that baby Emma is his and asks Dante to mind her while she nips to the shops to get her a few things. Dante's left reluctantly keeping an eye on Emma so Mel can get what she needs and come back and tell him what the hell's going on, but when hours pass and Mel still hasn't shown up Dante's future suddenly looks less sparkling and more nappy filled...
When I first heard about Boys Don't Cry many months ago now I knew I just had to read it. Teen parenting is a topic that I've read a fair few books on but never have I even heard of a book told from the father's point of view never mind a mother who has abandoned her child leaving the dad holding the baby. I feel like teen dads get a lot of slack from society for "getting the girl pregnant" not wearing protection and for them then running away and not taking responsibility for their child but that's not always the case. I also feel like there's a stereotype for teen fathers as being dossers living off benefits not working or supporting their kids without any real thought for how hard that would be for a young man with no qualifications. Not because he doesn't work hard, but because he's unable to get a job or study because he has a child to look after, to try and do right by, and sometimes as with Dante's case a lot of young fathers have to bring up a child alone.
The idea for this book is genius and gives readers a chance to experience what it's like being a teen dad in today's society- a society that's quick to judge. Running alongside the main story is the subject of homosexuality and homophobia. In Dante's younger brother Adam's alternate chapters he experiences severe homophobic bullying. Both brothers stories join together to create a book about what it truly takes to be a real man hence the title Boys Don't Cry.
I loved both Dante and Adam as characters and related to them a lot despite being a 20 year old girl. I think this is book both sexes can enjoy and for that reason predict it to be insanely popular. Both boys may be in their teens but they handle their situations with maturity earning them both my utter most respect and making them hugely likable.
This was my first book by Malorie Blackman and I'm definitely interested in reading some more of her work. This is the kind of book I would recommend to everybody. Teens, adults, male, female readers will all enjoy this book it really gets you thinking about fatherhood, homophobia, teen parenting and how society behaves towards them. But ultimately? This is a book about family, male relationships, and what it really takes to truly be a man. 4 stars.
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