The Golden Child…
Can bad children happen to good mothers? A totally absorbing novel, for readers of Liane Moriarty, Lionel Shriver and Christos Tsiolkas.
Blogger Lizzy’s life is buzzing, happy, normal. Two gorgeous children, a handsome husband, destiny under control. For her real-life alter-ego Beth, things are unravelling. Tensions are simmering with her husband, mother-in-law and even her own mother. Her teenage daughters, once the objects of her existence, have moved beyond her grasp and one of them has shown signs of, well, thoughtlessness …
Then a classmate of one daughter is callously bullied and the finger of blame is pointed at Beth’s clever, beautiful child. Shattered, shamed and frightened, two families must negotiate worlds of cruelty they are totally ill-equipped for.
This is a novel that grapples with modern-day spectres of selfies, selfishness and cyberbullying. It plays with our fears of parenting, social media and Queen Bees, and it asks the question: just how well do you know your child?
Simply put, The Golden Child, by Aussie author Wendy James, is a fantastic novel. Part domestic drama, part psychological thriller, I was enthralled from start to finish. I tweeted about three quarters of the way through reading it that my shocked face had become my normal face. No exaggeration! I truly was quite gripped as the whole sorry situation played out.
I also had a whole heap of talking points ready, but Wendy threw in a twist that was so utterly brilliant (cue the continuing shocked face) that I had to throw all of those points out because they were no longer entirely relevant.
This is an extremely well structured novel, with numerous points of view, presented in multiple formats. The use of blog posts and social media posts interspersed with narrative moved the story along very well and conveyed an increasing sense of tension as the story progressed.
As to the characters, all very believable and entirely relatable, although I did think that Beth’s online alter ego, ‘Dizzy Lizzy’, suited her perfectly. She really was frustratingly naive at times and I often found myself shaking my head in disbelief at her.
Overall, a well timed and excellent novel that should be read by all parents, educators, and teenagers. It will have you thinking long into the night, examining your own parenting with a microscope, while watching your teenager with a careful eye. Well done, Wendy James! Very well done!!
The Golden Child is book 12 of my 2017 Australian Women Writers Challenge.