Boys Don’t Cry
Standalone or series
First time reading this author?
Why I picked this
I liked the sound of a story of two brothers from Dublin.
Review copy or purchase
Thank you to the author, publishers Faber & Faber and online book club Pigeonhole for the chance to read this for free. This is an honest and voluntary review.
What it’s about
Joe has opportunities to live a different kind of life than his father who works as a low level gang member. He is an artist and has a place at a school which offers him the chance to get out and make a new future for himself. He loves his brother Finn dearly, although would never show it. But, then tragedy strikes and Joe has to reassess his priorities for the future.
I adored this book. Brothers Joe and Finn have a wonderful relationship as they face up to the trauma of terminal illness, local gang life, their dad being in prison and their mum being downbeaten by all the negativity in her life. Throughout it all Finn has a sense of hope and optimism, and helps give his brother a focus.
The whole story is beautifully written. I had a Dublin accent narrating the book in my head, with Fiona Scarlett’s wonderful ability to write dialogue in a clear accent without it coming across as trite or contrived.
I was also totally caught up in the plot. Joe has the chance to be something more, a talented artist and with a place at a prestigious school the future is looking bright. Younger brother Finn is full of life, his optimism and joy shines out from every page. Even though it is clear from the opening chapters that Finn is gone, this story is as much about his life as it is about his end. That Joe, in his grief and his commitment to friend Sabine, is tempted with giving up on his own future to protect his family, is just heartbreaking. This book had me laughing, crying and smiling through the tears throughout this beautiful tale of family, grief, loss and celebrating life.