Happy Birthday Golden Boy!
Today is a big day.
Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different–light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists. Habo is strange and alone. His father, unable to accept Habo, abandons the family; his mother can scarcely look at him. His brothers are cruel and the other children never invite him to play. Only his sister Asu loves him well. But even Asu can’t take the sting away when the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame.
Seeking refuge in Mwanza, Habo and his family journey across the Serengeti. His aunt is glad to open her home until she sees Habo for the first time, and then she is only afraid. Suddenly, Habo has a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt Albinos in Mwanza because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck. And soon Habo is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete. To survive, Habo must not only run, but find a way to love and accept himself.
I first came into contact with Golden Boy during a course in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction at Grub Street, and was blown away by the prose. When Tara asked me to be a part of her critique group, I felt so privileged to just be working with her. I fell in love with Habo as the manuscript grew, and it was no surprise that this book has made it onto bookstore shelves and has caught the attention of reviewers, including Kirkus, who gave it a started review.
I am so excited about this launch and so proud of Tara. Golden Boy is a masterfully written tale of hope in the face of incredible darkness. It is about defining one’s own self-worth in the face of societal condemnation. It is about not letting those who view you as a threatening “other” or as subhuman hold you hostage with derision, deprivation of basic human rights, or violence. Its a book about courage. In other words, it’s a book that we all need to read.