The Golden Child
HarperCollins Publishers Australia
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?
I had great difficulty reading this book. Let me explain; I love the cover, I love this author’s work, and liked the synopsis, I wanted to read this book. I started reading, I put the book down. I felt so much apprehension, so much dread, so evocative is the writing I could not go on – it was the fear of what I knew was coming – something really, really bad. I picked up the book again. I could not stop!
This book has probably the lowest level of violence in all the books I have read since I began reviewing, yet is it so powerful, the truth so malignant, so uncomfortable and confronting it will have you wondering if those are angina pains you are feeling, you are holding yourself so tense your muscles ache.
This narrative drives a nail into our psyche and scapes the scabs off all those hidden sores; the self-doubts about your parenting skills, guilt regarding paid work V being stay home mums, relationship guilt, do you love enough/do enough/could you try harder/do better/ be a better wife/mother and independent woman? Do you give enough attention to husband/child/ your other children? Do you play favourites? Do you know your own children? How could I not know? Is this my fault? It is my fault.
What a wonderful, confronting, pulse raising read!