High fashion and homeland security clash in a masterful debut.
Boyet Hernandez is a small man with a big American dream when he arrives in New York in 2002, fresh out of design school in Manila. With dubious financing and visions of Fashion Week runways, he sets up shop in a Brooklyn toothpick factory, pursuing his goals with monkish devotion (distractions of a voluptuous undergrad not withstanding). But mere weeks after a high-end retail order promises to catapult his (B)oy label to the big time, there's a knock on the door in the middle of the night: the flamboyant ex-Catholic Boyet is brought to Gitmo, handed a Koran, and locked away indefinitely on suspicion of being linked to a terrorist plot. Now, from his 6' x 8' cell, Boy prepares for the trial of his life with this intimate confession, even as his belief in American justice begins to erode.
With a nod to Junot Diaz and a wink to Gary Shteyngart, Alex Gilvarry's first novel explores some of the most serious issues of our time with dark eviscerating wit.
My Thoughts: This is a book that packs a political punch. We get the story from Boy perspective and we are left wondering if he is really that naïve or did he know and just did not care?
I did not agree with the whole Gitmo debacle and this book in its sometimes light sometimes dark meanderings shows why. It is easy to see how one can so easily get caught up in the wrong people and take the fall.
This book is not preachy but rather through excellent storytelling shows the reader what happens when one gets caught up in dubious circumstances. While one thinks that in America we have our freedom and protection in reality we can fall victim to circumstances.
I found myself invested in the story. I could understand that Boy wanted to realize his dreams and when the opportunity for money came along he took it. I think this is a decision that most of us can empathize with. The plot is believable. It flows effortlessly from one event to another. It gives a face to those we find ourselves criticizing.
When the story starts Boy is a strong character who proclaims his own innocence. As the story progresses we see how the system breaks someone down to the point where Boy no longer is sure of his innocence. He becomes a broken man.
This book is recommended for no other reason than this issue is one that needs to be discussed. If you like issue books without being preachy then I would recommend you read this book.