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Boys of Alabama: A Novel de Genevieve Hudson
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Boys of Alabama: A Novel (edició 2020)

de Genevieve Hudson (Autor)

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» Mira també 9 mencions

Es mostren totes 4
This book features a quadruple-whammy of otherness. The struggle with sexual identity, supernatural powers, immigrant status and atheism all combine to make the main character "a stranger in a strange land," trapped in a small Alabama town. Utilizing this otherness in stark contrast to the prevailing milieu makes for an interesting read and a blistering critique of those that would smother the uniqueness of youth. Most troubling is its portrayal of the destructive power our society risks exacting in its demand that we fit it.

Warning - SPOILER ALERT.

In the final scene, the relentless ache to conform is pitted against that which would otherwise heal. There is a glimmer of hope: Perhaps in reaching out we can validate our resilience and our humanity. Perhaps, as Faulkner suggests, we can not only endure but prevail. An important book. ( )
  dbsovereign | Feb 22, 2021 |
Literary fiction about a teenaged boy from Germany who moves with his parents to Alabama because of his father's job. He then gets wrapped up in the world of the other boys at his private school and seduced by the charm (?) of a religious fanatic running for office. Threads of sexual questioning and homophobia run throughout the story. I was perplexed by this novel, which I never really found any footing with. And the end was ambiguous and deeply unsatisfying in a way I associate strongly with certain kinds of literary fiction and generally find annoying at best. ( )
  lycomayflower | Dec 6, 2020 |
Max and his family have relocated from Germany to Alabama and Max is feeling like a fish out of water but is determined to somehow fit in with his overly religious school. Football seems to be the thing that will do it but not because he has any talent for it…but because he can run fast enough to keep from being killed on the field. Max has another gift…he touches dead animals or withered plants and they return to life. Max thinks of it as a curse. It works on animals, bugs…everything he’s ever dared to touch… but the question remains…will it work on dead people? That is a major part of the story’s suspense….and you just wait for it happen. Of course there are pitfalls to this “gift”…migraines… cravings for gobs of sugar as well as fear and guilt. Max is tempted to give it a try on people as he is troubled by his love for his dead classmate, Nils. He is also drawn to Pan, a witchy boy who wears dresses and believes in auras and incantations. Pan is the only person who knows about Max’s power…and he desperately wants Max to try it out…and eventually will demand it of Max as an onerous test of loyalty. I guess good descriptive words for this book would be brutal, potent, sad and passionate. The story is a little too heavy on the religious theme... but then the setting is the deep south and a boys school run by one of the local churches ( )
1 vota Carol420 | Jul 1, 2020 |
This book has a lot of things going on in it... but I will say that it kept me coming back. Each time I had to put it down, I was anxious to get back to it. I'm new to Genevieve Hudson so I'm not sure if this book is representative of her work. I would encourage you to read the warnings for this book, there is some really heavy subject matter.

The main character in this novel is Max. He has recently moved from Germany and relocated to a small town - Delilah - in Alabama. Immediately, he is immersed in the world of toxic masculinity and organized southern religion. There's one exception to all of that... and it's Pan. Pan is a new-age, "witch" according to the other boys on the football team.

As I said, there are a few things going on in this novel, let's being with the main relationship. Max and Pan become friends, probably because Max's german background has led him to be more open-minded than his new friends. Pan dresses however he wants, fishnets, feminine clothing, and he wears makeup. I loved that Max accepted him from the beginning in spite of what the other "jocks" said about him. Their relationship has many ups and downs throughout the story but I loved it. Their interactions seemed very realistic to me: flighty, emotionally motivated, swinging between extremes.

What's interesting about Max, in addition to his coming of age, is that he has a special power. Max can bring dead things back to life. It's a strange thing to have an ability like this, and it's never really explained in the novel. One day he just discovers that if he touches a dead animal or plant it will come back to life. An event in Max's past has left him confused about his ability so he has a strange relationship with it.

Another plot point running through the story is the religious community in the south. There is an election going on and "the Judge" is also a revered leader in the religious community. There's a story in the community that he once drank poison and lived through it... so he too has a "magical" quality about him. While Max is struggling to determine where he fits in, he seems to be torn between the world of the Judge and the world of Pan.

Ultimately, I feel as though this book is about coming-of-age and learning to be comfortable in your own skin. I didn't have a real clear understanding of why Max had a magical power. I suppose his special abilities enabled him to explore the more ethereal and faith-based beliefs of some of his friends. I feel as though this book would have been just as beautiful without the super-power.

Max is a complex character and I grew very fond of him throughout this story. He's an authentic character, struggling to find his way in a world of conflicting messages. His family is very open-minded and forward-thinking, his football friends are focussed on masculinity and bonding, Pan is a free-spirt, and the religious people he meets with have definite beliefs about the "correct" way to live. Max doesn't seem to fit firmly with anyone and often finds himself pulled in multiple directions. I was touched by his emotionality and the weight of his worries.

There is no punctuation for the dialogue in this story. Normally, I wouldn't read a book that had no punctuation as I find it really difficult to adjust my thoughts to it. But, as this was a review copy I gave it a go. While I did get used to it, I sometimes had to re-read passages to understand if characters had spoken aloud.

The ending is a bit abrupt. I found myself wishing that the story had continued for a few more chapters. There were a lot of plot points that I found weren't resolved enough for me to be completely satisfied. Kudos to the author though, for creating a character that I cared so much about - I really wanted to continue my time with Max.

There were a lot of things in this novel that were difficult to read, but I'm not sorry that I read it. This is one of those stories that will stay with me for a very long time.
( )
  KinzieThings | Jun 16, 2020 |
Es mostren totes 4
Hudson writes tenderly about cultural displacement, toxic masculinity, and friendship. This complex tale achieves a startling variation on the theme of teenage rebellion.
afegit per aspirit | editaPublisher's Weekly (Feb 12, 2020)
 
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