Sunday, June 11, 2017

Book: "One of the Boys" by Daniel Magariel

An impressive debut from a first-time novelist, "One of the Boys" is an examination of the survival of the human spirit as told through the eyes of a young boy.

When a determined father removes his sons from their mother's clutches after a nasty divorce, the three jettison their lives, leaving memories of mental and physical abuse from Kansas as they seek refuge and a new life in New Mexico. For the youngest of the sons, this is a welcomed respite from a world he only knew existed as violent and brutal. But as the brothers slowly see their father succumb to the ravages of drug addiction, it becomes frightening clear that they haven't left everything behind. Imprisoned in an apartment made to secure and shelter them from the outside world, the brothers unite in triumph, tragedy and betrayal to find a way out of their own lives in hopes of finding peace and refuge. Alas, this too becomes fallacy.

Written with savage, intense and often times heartbreaking terseness, Daniel Magariel weaves a captivating tale of despair and depression. He enriches these characters with both hope and failure, pride and jealousy, family and isolation, anger and forgiveness, sometimes all in the same sentence. What emerges is a powerful behind-the-scenes look at abuse - how it is doled out, how it is handled (or mishandled) and how, despite everything wretched a child can experience, there can ever be any kindling of hope left deep within the human spirit.

I'm hoping Magariel continues to explore the savageness of the human condition, exposing more of that which makes us both saint and sinner.