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The God Boy (1957)

por Ian Cross

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745280,464 (4.29)26
I'm a God boy, Sister, 'I said. 'You don t have to worry about me, I'm a God boy.' Jimmy Sullivan believed he was protected by God until his parents 'unhappy marriage finally broke down, with tragic consequences. Now a disturbed thirteen-year-old at a Catholic boarding school, Jimmy rages at God for failing him as he tells of his own violent and obsessive reaction to the turbulent events of two years before. Through his uncomprehending and often humorous voice of tough indifference, a very adult drama emerges of marital strife, drunkenness and illicit abortion. Ian Cross vividly evokes life in a provincial New Zealand town in the 1950s, in his tale of the crippling of a bright and hopeful young mind.… (mais)
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Mostrando 5 de 5
It has taken me almost 50 years to return to this book as when I read it as a child it resonated too closely with me and I found it distressing. So yes the author captured too well, the feelings and reactions of a vulnerable 11 year old boy. This is a disturbing but powerful book.
. ( )
1 vote HelenBaker | Feb 5, 2015 |
Ever since I saw this book published in the Penguin Modern Classics editions (silver spine) I have had it on my radar. Somehow, seeing it given the status as a modern classic, I was able to apply to it the attention it deserves, by actually seeking it out and reading it.

Set in 1950s provincial New Zealand, it is narrated by a young boy who has a troubled home life. His sister who is older, lives away at school, and Jimmy Sullivan is left to struggle with his parents increasing tension and arguments without her support. He cannot understand his feelings about his parents and their relationship, he has no one he feels he can turn to to talk about things. Because of this, he is confused and scared and this manifests itself in anger and eventually violence. All this, alongside his parents deteriorating coupledom, leads to a dramatic, life-changing event that leaves them all reeling.

Jimmy is a great voice. He is 13 in the book, and is looking back to events when he was 11 and manages to capture childhood so well. As a tough nut boy, he is able to get into the nitty gritty complexities of life, without really dwelling on them or going into lengthy descriptions. Clever clever restrained writing. ( )
  LovingLit | May 13, 2013 |
At the age of thirteen, Jimmy looks back to when he was eleven years old, and the traumatic events that resulted in him being where he is today, his permanent home, a Catholic boarding school.

At the age of eleven Jimmy lives with his parents in the New Zealand town of Raggleton (perhaps based on Ian Cross' home town of Wanganui?). He is loved by both parents, but his mother and father constantly argue, a situation Jimmy considers as not unusual until he sees how the parents of his friend behave towards one another. Eventually the situation between his parents reaches a dramatic climax, and while at the time only partially aware of events this profoundly affects Jimmy causing to act very much out of character.

Jimmy looks back at events with the eye of the now more mature thirteen year old boy - although still clearly a youth from his expressions - trying to distance himself from events by protesting he does not care, while clearly he cares very much. Along the way he frequently reconsiders his relationship with God, often blaming him for what happens.

This is a captivating novel; Jimmy immediately wins one over which makes his trauma all the more affecting, a very rewarding read. ( )
  presto | Aug 17, 2012 |
It seems that Ian Cross's "The God Boy" isn't terribly well-known outside of New Zealand, but it deserves a much bigger audience. There are plenty of coming-of-age novels out there whose protagonists are forced to learn about the uglier parts of life the hard way, but few are as intense, or as moving, as this one. As with lots of novels of adolescence, there isn't much plot to discuss: a few boyish misadventures, a marriage coming apart, a crime. Still, the voice that describes them, which belongs to a thirteen-year-old named Jimmy Sullivan, rings clear as a bell: it's honest, plaintive and sometimes painfully funny. Best of all, the author keeps Jimmy's own limitations in mind while writing his story. Jimmy has seen more than he can describe, feels more than he can express, and struggles to use a literary language he can't quite understand. More than Jimmy's quirky antipodean argot or the luminous, sensuous scenes he shares with his sister,it's this carefully calibrated interstitial quality that makes "The God Boy" really exceptional: Jimmy's emotions fairly bleed through the spaces in the text that he's too young or too hurt to fill in. I was never quite convinced that anything lay beneath Holden Caufield's youthful cynicism in "The Catcher in the Rye," but there isn't much room for doubt in "The God Boy." When Jimmy tells the reader that he "doesn't care," you know that he's still plumbing the depths of the trauma he's suffered. This is a wondrously accomplished heartbreaker of a book. ( )
1 vote TheAmpersand | Sep 18, 2011 |
One of the best books written. ( )
  kiwi42 | Apr 7, 2007 |
Mostrando 5 de 5
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» Adicionar outros autores (3 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Ian Crossautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Blackman, GaryArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Robinson, RogerIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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I'm a God boy, Sister, 'I said. 'You don t have to worry about me, I'm a God boy.' Jimmy Sullivan believed he was protected by God until his parents 'unhappy marriage finally broke down, with tragic consequences. Now a disturbed thirteen-year-old at a Catholic boarding school, Jimmy rages at God for failing him as he tells of his own violent and obsessive reaction to the turbulent events of two years before. Through his uncomprehending and often humorous voice of tough indifference, a very adult drama emerges of marital strife, drunkenness and illicit abortion. Ian Cross vividly evokes life in a provincial New Zealand town in the 1950s, in his tale of the crippling of a bright and hopeful young mind.

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