A gripping, heartwarming story between laughing and crying
„When was the exact moment that I might have found some courage and for once in my life done the right thing?“ (Quotation page 341) Content: In 1945, sixteen years old Catherine Goggin gets pregnant. As she refuses to name the father of the child to the Catholic priest during Mass, she has to immediately leave her home villa... „When was the exact moment that I might have found some courage and for once in my life done the right thing?“ (Quotation page 341) Content: In 1945, sixteen years old Catherine Goggin gets pregnant. As she refuses to name the father of the child to the Catholic priest during Mass, she has to immediately leave her home village Goleen and goes to Dublin. After birth, she gives her baby to a nun who has found parents with money and status for the child, that adopt the boy, calling him Cyrus. He first meets Julian Woodbead in 1952, when he is seven years old. In 1959, they meet again as roommates at Belvedere College. He adores Julian but there are also strange feelings, which he thinks to be just some sentimental misinterpretation of a fourteen years old. However, neglecting the truth leads to many years of hiding his secret, misunderstandings, travelling, until he finds his identity and place in life … Theme and genre: This epic novel could also be a biography. Main theme is homosexuality in the years where it still was forbidden, especially in Ireland under the pressure of the very strict rules of the Catholic Church and society. Another topic is AIDS in a time when people believed that only gay people could get it. The story of Cyril is also about friendship, compassion and how a lie can have big consequences. Characters: Cyril, the main protagonist, tries to hide his feelings for Julian and his sexual orientation and it takes him many years to accept, who he is. Sometimes the situation makes him weak, deeply hurting other persons instead of just telling the truth. On the other hand, destiny bringst some twists and hazards into his life which are not his fault and which he has to handle. Therefore he remains likeable to the reader. This novel is full of interesting characters, their friendship, their struggles and especially the short scenes when Cyril and his real mother meet during the years without knowing who they are, are touching. Plot and writing: The novel is written like a biography, with Cyril as the first person narrative. He tells the story of his life in chronological order, beginning with the story of his birth 1945, which his mother many years later had told him, until 2015. There are many twists, changes of location that make the book gripping to read, very interesting how some of the characters in different times come into the story again. John Boyne shows a great feeling for the language and a fantastic ability of plot building. Conclusion: A gripping, heartwarming but also entertaining story, that gives the reader every feeling between laughing and crying.