One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel

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“I can deal with the fact she’s never been much of a wife to me. But the terrible mother she’s been to you? That has burned me for years. Don’t you remember what I was like when you were young? Before the war?” War was the word he used for divorce. 

It is a war, this ripping of the boys from their mother, the psychological warfare, the lies, the setting up of one parent through the guidance of another. Their father is losing his grip on reality. He is drug addicted, paranoid and brutally abusive, the  ‘one of the boys’ old attitudes about toughening up his sons. It is dark, disturbing and horrible what they go through. There is fear and hero worship of daddy here, a brotherhood that refuses to be separate. The youngest brother does not want to be left behind, he is a man too! He wants to go with them, even if it requires disturbing lies.

The adventure isn’t so glamorous. When everything spirals into a deeper seedy darkness, all they have is each other. The brothers watchful of a father who is cruel and addicted, they are exposed to things children shouldn’t be and the novel keeps the reader in a state of fear for the boys.  What’s scarier than instability of the person meant to be caring for you? When you are meant to ‘be my eyes’ and ‘look out’ for anything suspicious, forced into a game of drug fueled paranoia- what good can come of it?

The story is a heavy short read, a strong debut and the most frightening take away from it is that there are children that grow up in this seedy lifestyle. Each family is it’s own creature, and some are downright beasts.

Publication Date: March 14, 2017

Scribner

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