Book Review: One of the Boys – Daniel Magariel

Release Date: 6th April 2017
Publisher: Granta Books
Pages: 160
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: Granta kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.


The three of them—a twelve-year-old boy, his older brother, their father—have won the war: the father’s term for his bitter divorce and custody battle. They leave their Kansas home and drive through the night to Albuquerque, eager to begin again, united by the thrilling possibility of carving out a new life together. The boys go to school, join basketball teams, make friends. Meanwhile their father works from home, smoking cheap cigars to hide another smell. But soon the little missteps—the dead-eyed absentmindedness, the late night noises, the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters—become sinister, and the boys find themselves watching their father change, grow erratic, then violent.


This was a really fascinating book that stayed with me long after I’d finished reading it. The book follows the lives of two young brothers as they move to a new town and a new life with their father. This book really doesn’t hold anything back, and shines a light into the deepest parts of this dysfunctional family dynamic. One of the Boys is quite a short read, it’s only around 160 pages, and yet there is so much contained within those pages.

One of the Boys is a wonderfully written book, and the characters are what truly brings the book alive. You definitely get attached, feeling a whole range of things – at times I felt anger, at others pity and sadness. It is a heartbreaking story, and one you aren’t likely to forget. Told from the perspective of the youngest son (the characters are not named), the book is a fast paced and hard hitting read. I read One of the Boys in one afternoon and I think that made the story even more intense, as the tension continued to build and build. If you’re planning to read this one, definitely set aside some time to read it in one go.

This book is by no means an easy read – you question how a father can treat his children that way, and the bleak reality of this story, but nevertheless it is a fascinating read, and one that touches on so many subjects – drugs, abuse and relationships to name but a few. If you’re looking for a book you can read in a single sitting but will stay with you long after, One of the Boys is definitely the captivating book you’re looking for.

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