I entered the giveaway for this book because I remember reading the Boy in the Striped Pajamas when I was in the 9th grade and crying like a little bitch so I was like I trust John Boyne to deliver another good book.
BOI DID HE.
I honestly didn't know what to expect from this book because the summary doesn't give anything away and I was like mehhhhh there is a small chance I might not like it. I'm glad I read it, maybe I wouldn't read this as often as I read some of my other books but there'll be one of those days where you're in one of those moods and I'll pick this up and read it again.
I think it's an important book, you don't see a lot of novels out there with gay characters, or one that go this in-depth into that character's life. And it talks a lot about the atrocities and struggles that gay people suffered in Ireland and perhaps still endure to this day (I can't say for sure as I'm not an expert on Ireland or even really keep up to date with Irish news). And the amount of detail that was gone into had me shook but I think that was mostly due to the fact that I've never read a book like this before.
I really liked Cyril as a character, he did some shady things throughout his time but considering the fact that the story is told from his point of view, it was pretty understandable. He's really funny, and sometimes makes really morbid jokes and then you find yourself laughing at what he says and thinking dear God does this make me a bad person for laughing. I liked the ways that he so openly made fun of certain people to their face and the clueless response from those people who hadn't picked up on the fact that he was mocking them.
Some of the shit happened to him was honestly so wild (view spoiler)
And you feel for Cyril, and it's kind of hard not to considering he's a gay man living in 60's Ireland. He struggles with his sexuality and his feelings, and he has a lot of realizations about himself when he meets Bastiaan. The relationship that he had with Maude and Avery was a very strange one but it appealed to me, they got along well, and to be honest his interactions with them were hilarious.
Maude was probably one of my favourite characters just because she was so out there and had the most inappropriate of reactions at the most inappropriate times.
And it brought me great happiness to see that in the end, Cyril had a large family that cared about him and that he was happy because damn it he deserved it for all of the shit that happened to him throughout his life.
TL;DR: Give this a book a shot, maybe you won't like it, but you probably will.