REVIEW: The Golden Child by Wendy James

Published: 1st February 2017

Publisher: Harper Collins Australia

Pages: 348

Format: paperback courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $32.99

5/5 Stars

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

Simply put The Golden Child is one hell of a gripping and chilling read. It’s the kind of book that grabs your attention and holds you hostage for 348 pages. 348 pages where you feel constantly uneasy, where it’s not unusual to break out in goose-bumps or to grip the book tighter in shock. Where you will find yourself feeling physically sick with the cruel games teenagers play on social media.

What Wendy James has achieved in this book is nothing short of a miracle. She’s taken a well know reality – cyber bullying pushing kids too far – and brought it into every readers home. As readers we glimpse every side of the issue: the spiteful and horrifying bully, the victims families and any who are close enough when the collateral damage is dished out. It’s truly horrifying, superbly written, but horrifying for what it represents; many people’s every day reality.

When I opened this book, I had a vague idea of what to expect. James is a master of blurring the lines between the morally and emotionally right and she has this effortless way of presenting every day ‘victimless’ crimes with so much scope and insight that you become shaken to the core. What I didn’t expect however was the way that I would react to this book. Like the book itself, when I started reading I was smiling, eager to dive in the books pages. Then came that uncomfortable feeling where you just know you can’t trust your narrators any more, that there is something terrifying amiss just below the surface, that space where you know what is being projected is not the rosy reality behind the scenes. Until finally my skin was crawling and my mind screaming at the injustices. I wanted to scream at key players to wake up and realise what the hell was going on and I was so damn disappointed and terrified and just so, so unprepared.

As far as the plot goes, I’m not saying a thing. This is a book you will viscerally react to. One that I think every person, young and old, teen or parent, needs to read. It’s a book about those hard truths that we sometimes try to deny at a cost greater than any of us can pay.

I know it’s only February and there are still some astounding books to come out this year, but hands down I can already tell you that The Golden Child will be a book in my top ten this year. It’s a book that haunts me. It’s a book I can guarantee you will not be able to put down.

To purchase a copy of The Golden Child, visit the following online retailers:

Harper Collins Australia | Booktopia | Kobo | Dymocks | QBD | ANgus & Robertson’s bookworld

 

To learn more about Wendy James, visit the following social media sites:

Wendy James’ Website | Harper Collins Australia | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |

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