Sunday, 10 October 2010
ARC Review: Boys Don't Cry - Malorie Blackman
Seventeen year old Dante is left holding the baby. His baby. Not only does he have to come to terms with the fact that he is now a father but he is also faced with the realisation that his life is about to dramatically change. He needs to learn how to raise his daughter when he still feels like a child himself.
Boys Don't Cry releases in the UK on the 28th October and is a book not to be missed.
Visit Malorie Blackman's website for more information
Dante is just seventeen years old and is anxiously waiting for his A level results to see if he can get a place at university to study journalism. He is an intelligent young man - proven by the fact that he has taken his A levels a year early - and he is looking forward to a glittering future. Everything changes the day his results arrive, but not in the way he was expecting. When his ex-girlfriend turns up out of the blue with a pushchair he is shocked and horrified - especially when she tells him the baby is his. Melanie asks him to look after baby Emma while she does some shopping and disappears before even giving him time to reply. When she calls him to say she won't be coming back Dante finds his life has been turned upside down. Although he scored top marks in his exams it looks like university is no longer an option - he is a single father now and his daughter needs him.
Boys Don't Cry is the first book I've read by Malorie Blackman but it definitely won't be the last. I've heard such good things about her Noughts and Crosses series and after reading this book I can't wait to get stuck into those books too. Boys Don't Cry is an amazing read and one I would recommend to anyone - adults and teenagers alike - it will turn everything you've ever thought about teenage parents on it's head. This book made me laugh a lot and cry a little - it really was a roller coaster of emotion and one I couldn't put down - I read it in just one sitting.
Dante is a great character - he is smart and ambitious, the last person you would expect to become a teenage father but that just goes to show how easy it is to get into a situation like this. After just one drunken, very forgettable sexual encounter at a party Dante now finds himself a single father - something he definitely wasn't planning and isn't at all prepared for. The emotions he goes through are so realistic that this book could easily be a personal account of a true story. At first he is shocked and then comes anger - he didn't ask for this & it shouldn't have happened to him - but his feelings for Emma gradually turn into love and he comes through for her in a big way. Yes he makes mistakes along the way but that just makes him more real in my eyes, I don't think anyone can say they've never done something they regretted in life. Human nature is flawed and it's how we cope with the challenges along the way that shows what kind of person we really are and as Dante becomes a man he becomes the kind of person anyone would be proud to know.
The story shows just how hard it is to be a parent at any age but it must be particularly difficult when you still feel like a child yourself. Dante is lucky to have the support of his father and his younger brother, both of whom throw themselves into helping him care for Emma. Although Dante's father is disappointed with his son he is an instant support and dotes on Emma from the beginning. Even with the support of his family Dante finds out just how difficult it is caring for a baby and gradually comes to realise how hard it must have been for Melanie who was completely on her own. Dante also has to face prejudice wherever he turns - he can't even go to the shops without people criticising him for being such a young father and he is treated even worse because of the fact that he is a single father.
Although I loved Dante I think it was Adam that stole my heart most - he is such a sweet character with a sunny attitude that you just can't help falling for. Adam is openly gay and proud to tell the world about it - a character to admire for sure and the challenges he faces along the way really were heartbreaking to read about. I just wanted to climb into the book and protect him (I'd have given Emma a massive hug while I was in there because she was just too adorable for words!). I was routing for Adam the whole way through and just wanted him to be happy.
Boys Don't Cry in no way glamorises teenage pregnancy, quite the opposite in fact as it shows just how hard parenting can be. Although it also shows the joys of parenthood I know this book would have made me extra careful as a teenager because I wouldn't have wanted to end up in Dante's situation. I really think this book is a must read for all teenagers and their parents - it would be a great way to start a discussion about using protection and being careful. I love the way the story shows that it isn't just up to the girl to take responsibility for using protection. This coming of age story may be written from the male perspective but it is relevant for both boys and girls and I think anyone would find something they can relate to in the characters. I found this was a heartwarming read that really shouldn't be missed and I'd strongly recommend you order yourself a copy of this book now.
Source: Received from RHCB in exchange for an honest review
Other reviews of this book:
I Was A Teenage Book Geek
Girls Without a Bookshelf
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.