Borstal Boy, autobiographical work by Irish writer Brendan Behan. published in 1958. The book portrays the authorâ€™s early rebelliousness, his involvement with the Irish Republican cause, and his subsequent incarceration for two years in an English Borstal, or reformatory, at age 16. Interspersed with tales of brutality are anecdotes about dramatic and musical pastimes and Behanâ€™s gardening and handicraft activities. The book is notable for capturing the immediacy of conversation between the inmates.