Book Review: Boy Toy – Barry Lyga

6359279 This book was an eye-opening piece of literature. The New York Times Book Review said,

Boy Toy is an unsettling read, but that’s exactly what it ought to be.”

This story is about a boy called Josh Mendel, who was molested as a twelve year old by his twenty-five year old teacher.

Now. Here we go. Isn’t that the stereotype, that all boys would love a hot, young, but still older teacher to teach them a few things? So rape of boys, just isn’t real. Right?  I have to tell you, I HATE people who think this way. Rape is rape, regardless of gender. And Boy Toy illustrates this perfectly.

I read a review on Goodreads. The reviewer felt that Josh feeling he was in love with his teacher was repulsive. They felt that Josh’s attraction and his general being unaware of the wrongness of the situation, was unrealistic. Or that it was glorifying and fetishizing the rape. But this book was not about that. Josh endures crippling flashbacks and an inability to love because, well, the adults in his life are so beyond warped in their senses of love, that he has no idea how to do it. He tells us he is or was in love with his teacher because these warped ideas of love are so ingrained in him that he cannot separate true love from what he was told love should be, from adults in his life.

This book realistically brings us though how Josh felt as it happened, to how it affected his life. Between love, decision making, trust, and all the other traumatizing issues, we get the picture society doesn’t seem to understand accompanies a boy being molested. It doesn’t matter how hot she was.

The emotional arc Josh goes through is completed seamlessly. He is able to confront his abuser and make painful decisions by the end of his journey. And while I feel badly for Josh, I also am very proud of him by the end.  He makes a wonderful transformation.

Barry Lyga does everything right with this book. It is real, and gives us hope for victims.

I really can’t say much more than to recommend this book to you.


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