Anna is raising her precocious 8 year old daughter on her own, living a carefree life when it suddenly gets turned upside down. While at a neighbour’s party, she becomes bewitched with the neighbour’s 20-something year old son. Full of snark and sarcasm, he intimidates her and arouses her at the same time. Caught between her duty as a mother and her want to reclaim her youth, Anna finds herself in an obsessive love affair that threatens to spiral out of control.
The Boy reminded me of Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader and Sarah Tucker’s The Younger Man in that the narrative explored the idea of an older woman with a younger male. This type of story would certainly tread a fine line between intriguing and uncomfortable, but Santoro does a great job at exploring this idea. She doesn’t go into lurid details as this book is not categorized as erotica, but delves more deeply into Anna’s life and mindset at wanting to pursue something so forbidden.
The dynamic between Anna and her young daughter is also an interesting one, and speaks volumes as to her character. The 8 year old is comfortable being mouthy and ordering her mother around, even cooking at times and while Anna is having this affair with the boy, it was an interesting juxtaposition to have the roles seemingly reversed. In a way, the boy forced Anna to take a look at her family life and reevaluate it.
I was initially surprised, yet found I liked the stance that Santoro took, that their affair would not be a secret. Often times, these types of stories with such taboo relationships are told as secret love affairs but the way this story unfolded, it worked really well with the fallout of people knowing about the two of them. At under 200 pages, The Boy is a quick read that successfully manages to give the readers a full picture of Anna and her situation. It is a compelling story about love, family and the consequences of the decisions we make in life.
The great people at Hachette had sent me a second copy of The Boy and I would love to share it with a fellow reader to enjoy.
- Open to residents of Canada & U.S.
- Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email to confirm win
- Giveaway ends March 12, 2013 at midnight EST.