10 April 2013

Golden Boy; Tara Sullivan

Golden BoyGolden Boy by Tara Sullivan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A disturbing book about the hunting of people (specifically albinos) in Africa because their body parts bring "luck". There are all manner of superstitions about luck charms out there, from four-leaf clovers to rabbit's feet to rhino horns to this one, apparently prevalent in Tanzania. Life's not difficult enough for Habo as an albino (living in Africa with a body unsuited to that much sun and poor vision in addition to poverty) in his village - his family is evicted from their home and they trek to Mwanza, where his mother's sister lives. It's there he learns that albinos are more than merely odd: they bring good luck, particularly their hands and legs. Fleeing for his life, he ends up in Dar es Salaam, living with a blind sculptor and starting to make friends with the sculptor's great-niece. Of course, trouble follows him there.

For me, the problem was the one of the Issue (albino hunting) being squashed into the story. That rarely leads to a good story being told, as the Issue has to continually be referenced and railed against, sometimes to the detriment of the plot. That's not as bad here as it's been in other books, because Habo does stand out as a person. Still, it did intrude enough to drop this from what could have been a higher rating.

ARC provided by publisher.

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