Boys Don’t Cry centres itself around the concept of teenage pregnancy and teenage parenthood, with the character of Melanie ambushing Dante, a student awaiting his A-level results, with a baby she claims is his. In one moment, he is forced to choose between a future he had always wanted and caring for a baby he wasn’t even aware of. As it turns out, one drunken mistake nine months ago, at a party, brought about the birth of Emma, with Melanie never even thinking to tell Dante about the pregnancy.
This series of events forces Dante into the most difficult decision in his life and the responsibility of telling his father whose baby it really is, with Melanie disappearing as soon as she has arrived. His father, though a single father himself after his wife died of cancer, chastises Dante for his unwise nature. Dante’s brother, Adam, immediately finds himself comfortable with the scenario. Their father manages the basics and the necessities but Dante still cannot come to terms with this development. He cannot even come to realise he is the father and looks into DNA just to make sure.
The book takes on the concept of fatherhood, particularly that of youth, and how single fathers especially are too often forgotten and too often looked down upon. The character of Dante represents the countless people forgotten about who must often abandon everything they wished for in order to care for a child. Adam’s homosexuality also offers the narrative a bit of friction and opportunity for growth in Dante, coming to accept the differences within him.
Furthermore, we can see in the work that Blackman also shines light upon the idea that judging too soon and too harshly is always a mistake, with Dante having to face people looking upon him with scrutiny for having a child, as if all was a plan to claim benefits. To continue, we see that another character, Collette, is also judged for her condition which should serve to make us question criticising Melanie herself. We must understand that Melanie herself would have been stuck in a very similar scenario and her decision to escape is not entirely heartless.
The whole novel sees each character, almost, combat the prejudices of society and we, as readers, are allowed to look under that stereotype and see the reality. Our two characters of Dante and Adam battle the eyes of others and the assumptions they make, eventually coming to terms with who they are, how they must act, and what they must do.
Boys Don't Cry
Malorie Blackman explores the realities of teenage fatherhood. You nervously wait for the postman, as he’s bringing your A level results. University, a potential career as a journalist But when the doorbell rings it’s your ex girlfriend; and she’s carrying a baby. Your baby. You’re happy to look after it, just for an hour or two. But then she doesn’t come back – your future now suddenly looks very different. Malorie’s dramatic new novel will take you on a journey from tears to laughter and back again