One of the Boys

Books on Tape Jul. 2023. 8:04 hrs. ISBN 9780593684634. $76. THRILLER
Cowie’s (Curfew) latest is a look at biases, ethics, and parenting. In an imagined near-future world, boys can be tested for the “M” gene, an indicator that a child tends toward violence. Sisters Antonia and Bea each have a son. Antonia’s son Jack tested negative, but Bea chose to forgo the test for her son Simon. She would rather allow her son to become himself without burdening him with the results of a questionable genetic test. Then tragedy strikes, throwing the system and the women’s choices into doubt. Each will do anything to protect her boy, even if it means harboring a monster. Clare Corbett narrates the two sisters, conveying their desperation and love as they struggle to help their sons in a world that judges people on whether they take the test or not. Joshua Akehurst narrates the young boys as they struggle against expectations, trying their hardest to do the right thing, even if their efforts go against what society believes about them.
VERDICT Listeners will be riveted by this complicated family drama that wrestles with the ethical implications of profiling and experimental medical treatments. Share with fans of Delilah S. Dawson’s The Violence or Naomi Alderman’s The Power.
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