Wednesday 21 March 2012

Boy Toy - Barry Lyga

Boy Toy
Barry Lyga
Houghton Mifflin Company
ISBN 9780618723935

In the week before writing this review I have read three of Lyga's novels. Each looks at a different element of human nature and is about a man struggling to understand himself, of a boy struggling to become a man. Each was an incredible read. But this one was so dark, so gritty, that a few times I had to step back and put the book down. It was so intense that I needed a break from the story.

Josh Mendel is eighteen, a senior at South Brock High in Brookdale. He is an incredible hitter in baseball, he has a short fuse, and when he was 12 and 13 he was seduced by his history teacher Evelyn 'Eve' Sherman. His name was never in the papers but everyone in this small town knows his secret. Just as he thought he was a few weeks from graduation and leaving town to pursue baseball and mathematics, his life gets turned upside down again. Rachel, one of his best friends growing up, whom he assaulted, is back in his life and determined they need to work things out. Eve has gotten out of jail and he is worried he will run into her around every corner. He punches out his baseball coach and serves a three day suspension. Life is pretty topsy-turvy for Josh right now and he doesn't even know the half of it. But what is the truth about what happened, and what people know or think they know?
Barry Lyga has probed the depths of what abuse does to a person's mind and psyche. He has examined the results of systematic progressive abuse and how it ensnares the victim and confuses the victim. He also shows the lasting impact that something like this can have, even after years of therapy. I have known a number of survivors and Lyga does an incredible job of capturing that experience but also creating a story with hope and light at the end of the tunnel. The book was a little disturbing to read, but only because of Lyga's penetrating insight and also his compassion in presenting such a story. Very well done!

Books by Barry Lyga:
I Hunt Killers:
I Hunt Killers (2012)
Game - I Hunt Killers #2 (2013)

Blood of My Blood - I Hunt Killers # 3 (2014)

I Hunt Killers Short Stories:
Down Time (2018)
Lucky Day (2014)
Career Day (2012)
Neutral Mask (2013)
Blood Boy (2014)

Brookdale High:
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (2006)
Boy Toy (2007)
Hero Type (2008)
Goth Girl Rising (2009)

Bang (2017)

Archvillain #1 (2010)
The Mad Mask - Archvillian #2 (2011)
Yesterday Again - Archvillian #3 (2013)

The Flash Series:
Hocus Pocus (2017)
Johnny Quick (2018)
Tornado Twins (2018)

Other Books By Barry Lyga:
Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: A definitive Guide (with Alison A.W. Lyga - 2004)
Wolverine: Worst Day Ever (2009)
MangaMan (with Colleen Dorren 2011)

Unsoul'd (2013)
After The Red Rain (2015)
The Secret Sea (2016)
Thanos Titan Consumed (2018)
The Hive (2019)


Short Story Project 2017
The Ghosts at 95
Loving The University
The Ideas of March
Four Minutes
Pulse vs. the Killing Fiend
Her Decade
The Life Cycle of Stars (Ignition)
Trading Worlds
When I Die
The Autopsying of Michael Edward Morgan
Meet Me Tonight

Contributed to:
Geektastic (2009)
Who Done It? (2013)

Author Profile and Interview with Barry Lyga

Author Profile and Interview with Randall Banner

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