Book Review: One Of The Boys- Daniel Magariel

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“Family is all we have,” my father said.
“Yes,” I agreed. “Family is all we have.”

As ‘the war’ rages on two brothers decide where their loyalties lie. After their parent’s divorce, the brothers decide to join their father in a move to New Mexico, they’ll do anything to be ‘one of the boys’. In the face of poverty, uncertainty and the pressures of growing up this is a story of the bond between brothers.

This isn’t a cheerful or happy read, instead, it’s a short novel that focuses on struggle and family loyalty. That said, I struggled to connect or even like the father and son that narrates the novel. Neither of the boys has a name, I took this to show that in life they are deemed unimportant, disposable and lost, this kind of detail really adds to the story, but I fear that it could easily be overlooked. While the main boy, a 12 year old, is our narrator I felt that he was portrayed as having a much younger mindset, I don’t know if this was intentional. By the end of the novel, the only character I felt a connection with was his older brother.

I definitely feel that the novel had been written well, however, I would liked to have seen it play out through both of the boys eyes due to their differing ages and attitudes towards the situation. Similarly the novel ends on an incredibly confusing note, in fact I’m not too sure what actually happened, after looking online it seems that a lot of other people were also unclear as to what happens.

I gave the novel 3 stars, there is some brilliant description, to the point that I can clearly see in my head the dingy rooms and wide open road. Magariel is a good writer, but I honestly felt that the novel was too short to really be fully invested, I would have liked more understanding on the ending and more context about what lead the boys to be in this situation.

Thank you to the publishers for providing me with this copy for a fair and honest review.

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