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10 thoughts on “Boy A

  1. Nancy Nancy says:

    Posted at Shelf Inflicted If I hadn’t come across Mariel's review I’d probably never have found out about this chilling story To my surprise it won multiple literary awards and was adapted to film I really need to get out from under my rock often Boy A is Jack newly released from prison for the brutal killing of a young girl He was a child himself when the crime occurred Now he is 24 years old and trying to adjust to a world that has passed him by while he was imprisoned This story is not an exploration of the criminal mind or about life in prison It is about Jack’s life as an adult living under an assumed identity while he works makes friends and finds love Jack has the support of his “uncle” Terry who helps him adjust to life on the outside while protecting him from those who would not let him live his life if they knew about his crime I am reminded of Walter Mosley’s Always Outnumbered Always Outgunned a gripping story about a black man released from prison for a murder he committed while in a jealous rage This story is different because the man is an adult when he killed There is no awkward transition between childhood and adulthood He must live the best life he can while enduring poverty and prejudice Because Jack was a child when he killed public outrage and media hysteria are at its worst It is not enough for a criminal to do his time He must pay for his mistakes the rest of his life While Boy A is Jack’s story it is also a commentary on the inadeuacy of the prison system how media can damage lives and the influences parents friends and others can have on impressionable young livesI want to believe that Jack made it to the boat safely

  2. Mariel Mariel says:

    This isn't a spoiler tag but a longwinded tag I'm embarrassed tag Words are not my first emotional language I'll think without words and later try to come up with some that fit what I was feeling if enough of it sticks by me through the thickness and thinness The way I understand assuming I understand what I believe I understand things is feeling out what people mean based on whatever I can get out of posture tone facial movements eyes that don't smile spaces between words and silences My social retardedness definitions I can't be right 'cause I do the wrong thing a lot What is around them what isn't I'll want to match it with my own Bittersweet smile? Heartbroken movement of lips with words unsaid? It probably comes out of being shy The watching is from hope that there's to life Sometimes it is nothing I get and another part of my life disappears from me like one of those time eaters from Stephen King's The Langoliers not even with their sharp teeth It isn't important enough to be painful Sometimes it'll later occur to me that something that happened before reminds me of something else most of the time that something is movies or built up stories I've made up to make my own surroundings feel vivid and worth getting up for What I really live for is to take a start of something I've watched to feel I might have slipped inside some kind of ellipsis mental space of someone else and shared something real and enhance further experience A posture that goes beyond what they are saying He looks nervous that something good might happen She feels like she's a kid again Anything that's than distanced strangers talk I'm not going to know MOST people I'll encounter very well That's one of the wonderful things about stories the knowing Not to mention they give me the experience to understand how I might've felt some other time let alone imagine how someone else felt Not in the We both knew that Kevin Arnold voice over Wonder Years way He's a jerk He didn't KNOW anything they knew Just maybea hope? That something special happened Maybe There's a failing with me I've been feeling It's words with a real meaning It is harder for me to get out of words what I feel drawn towards in people spaces Words come last What's the definition? I've said all this before probably The experience feels less like experience of my own if I don't feel like I was there to listen to something I'm almost there I can imagine it and then I try to imagine the faces in my mind and if they look happy or sad which shade of it how long did it last was there regret It doesn't feel alive like a twist in one way it wouldn't have happened It's different when the writing feels like the words were born in their brain already and they didn't have dark search for them Nabokov is one of those Elizabeth Bowen reads to me like a mind reader There's talk about psychological novels? It's better than that Mind reading novels that fit in the way that psych labels never could Those feel homogenizedSometimes I feel like everything I know is forgotten like the times you can't remember your own phone number and the harder you try to get it back the further away it gets I don't know which one Boy A fits into Jack spends all his brain trying to live as if one moment a murder happens forever and he's a kid forever He's not a kid forever It didn't happen forever Where's the space that's your own brain and no one else can ever take it away from you? It is lost in different ways In the eyes of everyone who didn't believe he could be anyone else in freaking hindsight There are words It didn't do it That wasn't me and there are words that should be ignored This is all I'll ever be and listen to the dark searching for who he is There isn't only darkness inside a person Possibilities? What about hope? What about thatAnyway it's a weird space of no thought and trying to convince which feels to me like too much thinking when inside the irises of those who don't not feel around in the dark in a way that feels natural to meThe 2007 film Boy A is one of my favorites I saw it before I read the novel The film is one of the most faithful adaptations I've seen Many of the events are the same It's different like walking into the same room with lights on or off The film has flashbacks to childhood than the book The film doesn't have the scenes of Jack's time in prison What I read off of Jack in words and off of Jack of flesh played by Andrew Garfield in the film was different Jack of the book is words spoken by people in his life and past Often words spoken by people who did not see him at all Jack was afraid to be seen even as he was desperate to be seen If I were in that room I would have been looking for that I wouldn't have been looking to see if I could write someone off or notIt was a suspended feeling for me to try and see past those visions to something I could believe Is it my failing and I don't get how others see other people? Stories are all from different eyes and yet I felt like this time it was less my eyes Maybe I'm weird The film felt like reading Jack from Andrew Garfield His shame to continue living and the desire that might beat past that to live anyway The potential for violence that had happened tragically killing himself as he helped kill someone else When he was a kid that is dormant what happens to bring out that side of him how it might have happened differently if something else had happened differently People are capable of all sorts of things The people who were out for blood to kill Jack like they were the law themselves were no less violent than he who did not set out to kill anyone that morning If people are capable of anything they are capable of anything Do they get to say that when something bad happens and never for the good? His struggle to live with the guilt and shame make a new life It was in every afraid to raise his voice word that Garfield spoke as Jack His afraid to be happy smiles Grateful for anything good at all There's a discussion uestionnaire in the back of the book that is good I liked the one about why kid killers are considered to be evil than adult killers The book showed Jack through different eyes Jack's clinginess towards Terry He loves him maybe he needs him What if he had had that love sooner in his life? Is it need only? It is written that he feels guilty that Terry spends time with Jack than he does with his son Zeb It was written yet that was all I could see Terry feels it is okay to like Jack when someone else he likes Jack's new landlady also seems to like Jack she does not know who he really is It was telling to me that he does not talk about his part in the killing of how he fears losing Terry than it did when it is stated how he feels The unsaid says to me because it feels it is there to see weighting words Son Zeb feels that Jack stole his father in reality he himself chose not to see his dad blaming his parents divorce on his dad's work with inmates he tried to help adjust to life outside The pride Terry feels in how far Jack has come shows in the eyes on the screen in how he puts his arm on his shoulder Zeb must hear it in his dad's voice and wonder how a murderer could ever do anything to be proud of He cannot forgive something that happened years ago a divorce How could he ever understand that a whole life isn't made up of one event? It wouldn't have occured to me to read fear in Terry of getting too close because of who Jack was Because the media whips up frenzy over new cases? Adults killing kids would be old unless they were blonde and pretty How was he any different than any other inmate Terry would have worked with? Terry who says that he is a new man now Says says says I need to look into the eyes and see which is true Film Terry I believe had hope that he was a new man Jack of the book is rooted in a rootless way to the childhood he didn't have His childhood before the murder before prison A childhood of disgusted neglect at home brutal neglect at school Bullies and fear and unforgivingness No one would stand up for him and say that they didn't see it coming all along Boy A ceases to have a name in the film he is Eric He's the killer of the little girl loved by all who did not know her when she was alive If Boy B had been born several months earlier Boy A would have taken all of the blame himself As if they didn't purposely not see him at all After the murder well he grows up in prison Boy A's prison therapist notes that he is childish for someone of his age when he is seventeen He tells her what she wants to hear that he killed the girl as much as Boy B did so that he will be allowed to continue seeing his case worker Terry This is what we want you to know right? The eyes of a note taking shrink desperately desirous of awards were not ones I would have chosen I believed he was childish when Jack reacts to his situations as if he had no experience in which to judge anything by He has the fear of letting on that he has no experience Jack feels he is not allowed to live past what had happened to him before because he does not deserve it The hesitation a hopeful look closed mouth again If he could admit to his new friends especially his new girlfriend who he was Is lying about who he is another crime another betrayal of trust? The happiest time he has ever known Is it a lie because they don't really know him? After he is exposed and the wrath of England is upon him once Jack leaves Chris a message imploring him that it was really him all along as if a plea for it to be true to be seen as something else than a child murderer I felt the plea in the words It wasn't what was true because it couldn't be the truth or untruth He was Boy A He was also Jack who saved a little girl from a car wreck with his workmate Chris A guy who wanted to be someone FutureTerry was wrong that he could just be a new man I think the whole point was that one man isn't one thing only The point of the film was also a message to England who go blood crazy and want to hang and imprison for life regardless of sentences and time served Vigilante justice People there have had to hide for being falsely accused of being killers by the media I know that's the point too not one that goes over very well if hatred for Samantha Morton playing Myra Hindley in Longford tv movie was any indication That was about the lawyer fighting to get her released when she was kept past her sentence I'm sure Garfield got some hatin' too I'm sure Trigell got some hating uotes on the book jacket talk about Trigell building sympathy for Boy A maybe as if it were a magician's trick and Jack wouldn't have deserved it otherwise I think the point is paying attention to people and trying to listen enough to find out why people do anything If anyone had cared that Boy A was beaten up on or that Boy B was raped by his brother that the two never went to school any That they gave themselves up to abandon because that was the only time they felt free But people don't want to think about why pitt bulls who are trained for violence attack kids either They'd rather put down the dog and ban them from city limits They were written off as dogs There was potential for good as well as violence in Jack I pay attention better by watching than by what people say If I hadn't seen the film I might have seen Jack as a young man who thought about what other people thought of him than as a man who was afraid to live with himself as he truly was if he wasn't capable of being than he had beenDo actions speak louder than words? It depends on what kinds of words and how they are spoken True spoiler ahead Jack kills himself in the end What speaks the loudest? Did he die because he was afraid to live with people once they knew what he had been? That the words that would always be the loudest were those?What would his eyes have said? Did he reconsider right after he jumped? What life flashed before his life? That might tell him once and for all what he decided his own life was Or did he hope that someone understood? I would want to understand I would want to read and hope for hopeStats are a dangerous thing I hate seeing stats and end results and those words

  3. Mike Puma Mike Puma says:

    Sometimes award committees get it right—often they don’t The Pulitzer committee may leave you puzzled; the Caldecott or Newbery committees do what they must to arrive at some sort of consensus often the lack of consensus is apparent in the staggering number of Honor books they also award With Boy A the 2004 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the 2005 Waverton Good Read Award committees got it rightTold with a relentless dread the novel presents the story of a damaged youth Boy A as a steady relentless pursuit to the inevitable Readers are asked to identify with a protagonist whose past is defined by a horrible crime his own as well as the crimes committed against him by people who couldn’t know how they hurt him didn’t care what effect their behavior might have on an already suffering youth and those whose moral arrogance overrode any opportunity for compassion or understanding some readers may feel the same way While not an overly optimistic book or a fairy tale everything will be alright story Boy A does leave readers—some readers—with the hope that those who can pick themselves up those who do start all over again will succeed in whatever capacity they can and with whatever strength hasn’t been crushed out of them What begins with rather hokey A to Z chapter headings which ultimately make their own sense—think A to Zed not A to Zee Americans through a fragmented text like Boy A’s life and with many British references and much British slang will help Boy A is one to read ponder and pass on to others Not for everyone perhaps but definitely worth the time

  4. Jasmine Jasmine says:

    Okay I went back and took stars off some of my other reviews because this is one of those pieces of art that reminds you that most people are not hitting the ideal Yes art is subjective but somethings seem to just have something special that other pieces don't have This is one of those pieces Out of five stars I give it 7 and 12 This book has a format that makes it flow Instead of a few long chapters there are a lot of short chapters named for the letters of the alphabet such as A is for Apple Bad Apple Things that I think we tend to subconsciously ignore but when you are paying attention add interesting layers into the book This is by far the most moving book I have ever read All of the characters come off as real without any defined evil or at least leaving this up to interpretation As the book states at one point people are complicated Even with the devastating plot of the book I found myself wishing that this was true In addition to the fact I think that this book should be forced upon every person on the planet I think it is especially important for people interested in literary and cultural theory as well as writers as an exemplary example of an author molding the classic format of literature to modern subject matter and beliefs The book provokes uestions about society family prisons and innocence The concept behind the story is fascinating before you even pick it up and the writing is fantastic to compliment the story itself

  5. Amanda Amanda says:

    Hello there FEELINGS how are you today?I was ready to give this two stars until the 50% mark The story moved along a little too slowly for me a little too haphazardly Sure the characters were maybe great isn't the right word but intriguing Ever so intriguing Still I thought this will probably get two stars Man was I wrong Boy A will be on my top reads of 2015 I'm considering bumping up my rating to five stars Because that last half Emotions Scattered all over the place I'm not sorry to say some of my friends literally told me to take it easy not ramble so much incoherent gushing Right now I'm still not done gushing out my feels for this book so I apologize if this review is a mess Boy A is the story of Jack who after years in prison is now released to the real world His crime? When he was in his early teens he and another boy murdered a young girl Angela and it became a national tragedy The boys were hounded terrorized by media and generally what you'd expect When Jack is released from prison he gets to choose his own name which he decides will be Jack In the real world he is nobody a new person and almost no one knows his history or birth name He's free from the people who bullied him when he was young free from all bad childhood memories and most importantly his crime although that still haunts his mind But now he can experience friends having a girlfriend living on his own If Jack had been nine months younger he would have been innocent simple as that How can you have definitions and scales about murder? Why was it all right for the CIA to kill Che in cold blood a man who really might have changed the world? Or the innocent people in Chile Argentina East Timor Congo Nicaragua El Salvador Haiti Guatemala Turkey Brazil the Philippines Political mass murders that are lucky to make the paper at all Crimes committed by mercenaries men who kill for money not seen to be as bad as someone who acts from some nameless sickness shameless sudden impulse? Let me tell you this Jack's character isn't the most important part of the story It's about how people are affected family and friends the country people involved with the crime It's about who is guilty and what guilt is It's about power and desire It's about so much Does that mean he's evil? Or is it without those urges he could not be good? If being good is a denial of the bad then those we deem evil are not worse they are weaker And if goodness means anything at all surely it means the strong helping the weak In the end thought it's hard to say who is right and who is wrong A tragedy will always be a tragedy but there can always be to the story Maybe it's impossible to win Only the young die good And Angela Milton died young enough to be perfect A martyr to modern society Evidence that we are fucked Though records suggest we always have been

  6. Jackie Jackie says:

    It mirrors the tragic story of Jamie Bulger We meet Jack as he is released back in to society secretly after spending all his young life in institutions and prisons He is supported by the child like faith his support officer Terry has in him to be a functioning member of society Everything is difficult for Jack as he hasn’t had a life yet and he suddenly has a freedom to experience what for others are ordinary things Of course inevitably events catch up with him and through the unrelenting spite and resentfulness of Zeb Terry’s son he is exposed once again to the anger of society for his wicked child hood crime of murder of a young girl Without Boy B you feel sure he would never have had the nerve to do this but there are many influences on him leading him inexorably to this path in his lifeJack starts very warily and as events progress it might be alright He lives very much in the present as his experiences unfold Every character is understandable as the author tracks heir thought process I didn’t really feel a strong like or dislike for any one as they are all just people at the mercy of their own wants and character flaws Zeb brings it all down eventually but even he is understandable in his rage at his neglectful father Terry It’s funny that never really feel revulsion for Boy A it is a head shaking sadness that any of it ever happened Such an evil mix of circumstances makes it all feel so inevitableIt is a very creditable plotline having basis in reality Boy A haunted and hunted by demons one of which is the press which hounds him mercilessly His life was ruined while he was still innocent which seems the source of the tragedy the murder of the girl is strangely slightly less emotive It unfolds with a sense of hopefulness that then becomes impending doomI approached this book with a certain amount of reluctance as I still cannot bear to think about the fate of Jamie Bulger The story progresses at a decent rate Whilst dipping back into the past to give the platform for what is happeningThe characters are all very real in all the range of human weaknesses impulses and good intentions The interaction of the characters does make for compulsive readingThe whole book is somewhat uncomfortable reading because of the subject matter It is very a very difficult subject to write about and Jonathan Trigell writes it very well in deed If anything It re enforced to me how your life can get out of control and take a totally different path as a result of events and people that you don’t know about impacting on you And how people can work against people for no particular good reason just spiteThe ending was rather escapist leaving you uncertain as to the actual fate of Boy A but feeling he jumps and disappears Frozen in time like the last still of ‘ Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’

  7. Viki Johnson Viki Johnson says:

    It was an interesting idea Sort of though the author denied it based on the murder of Jamie Bulger in the early 1990s by two young teenagers Was their horrific crime nature or nurture can imprisonment really be the best way to deal with the actions of a child I really wanted this book to provide some thoughtful and deep insight in what he imagined had happened and what it might be like to emerge from prison entering as a young boy leaving as a man? I was hugely disappointed It was an exploitative book published to coincide with the boys release from prison again the author denies any connectionThe characters were shallow undeveloped some were pointless It tried to present a authentic and realistic view of what the situation might have been like for boy A but the relationship between boy a and his dedicated officer was ridiculous and don't even get me started on the love interest I was a good idea but shame it wasn't written by someone else a someone else who had the skill and imagination to write a great piece of fiction whilst tackling some of those big uestions that are begging to be addressed Such a shame

  8. Barbara Elsborg Barbara Elsborg says:

    What a book A heart rending story of a young man released from prison after a horrendous crime did he do it or not? and how he copes with life outside The way the book is written with sections set in the past made sure the reader gradually became aware of Jack's past and the actual crime I liked the background info I like the labelling of the chapters I liked the different points of view I did feel though that Jack had a voice beyond his years Yes his manner was of a boy who'd only just come into the world from prison but he seemed older in his thought processes but it's a minor point I couldn't put it down I was desperate to know what happened to him The book seems to be based on the Bulger case in the UK though the victim in this story was female and ten years old but the boys themselves did seem similar Though not completely I liked Jack I wanted him to succeed in his new life and I thought the writer did an excellent job of showing us the sort of problems that he'd have

  9. Jelena Milenković Jelena Milenković says:

    Maybe I would’ve rated this higher if it wouldn’t be the story that is currently written if it would’ve be about Boys A and B when they were children before the “incident” and if that period wasn’t written so clinical and devoid of all emotions Just maybe But as it is 2 indifferent stars

  10. Lindsay Lindsay says:

    Given the challenging subject matter Boy A is a surprisingly easy book to read Jonathan Trigell's prose is literary poetic in places always compelling and never obstructive Jack the Boy A of the title is the central figure of the book but throughout its 26 chapters Trigell explores the lives of the people around him from those who helped shape him into the man he is at the novel's beginning and those he meets during his new life outside prison Jack is an immensely sympathetic character brutalised and occasionally brutal but the reader has no doubt that he has been fully rehabilitated; that the crime which landed him in juvenile detention was an aberration the product of a particular set of circumstances rather than something 'evil' inside himThough Jack makes friends and finds a girlfriend he cannot escape the truth of his hidden past nor the reality that many people urged on by the tabloid press want nothing than to see him back in prison for the rest of his life The themes of justice and forgiveness runs strongly through the novel and we wonder whether either is truly possible in this case The two boys are irredeemable monsters or so the papers say because to admit the possibility of rehabilitation is to admit that any child could potentially become a murdererBoy A is a very powerful moving novel I read it in one evening but I know that I will be pondering the issues it raises for a long time to come

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Boy A ➲ Boy A Read ➺ Author Jonathan Trigell – A is for Apple A bad apple Jack has spent most of his life in juvenile institutions to be released with a new name new job new life At 24 he is utterly innocent of the world yet guilty of a monstrous A is for Apple A bad apple Jack has spent most of his life in juvenile institutions to be released with a new name new job new life At he is utterly innocent of the world yet guilty of a monstrous childhood crime To his new friends he is a good guy with occasional flashes of unexpected violence To his new girlfriend he is strangely inexperienced and unreachable To his case worker hes a victim of the system and of media driven hysteria And to himself Jack is on permanent trial can he really start from scratch forget the past become someone else Is a new name enough Can Jack ever truly connect with his new friends while hiding a monstrous secret This searing and heartfelt novel is a devastating indictment of societys inability to reconcile childhood innocence with reality.