Saturday, September 29, 2012

An Abusive Mother-Daughter Relationship: The Chocolate Money by Ashley Prentice Norton

Babs is the chocolate heiress, too much money, too little restraint and a penchant for hurting people. This is not the kind of mother a sensitive child like Bettina needs to help her mature. She treats Bettina like a small side-kick which includes allowing her to attend inappropriate adult parties, and tells her in explicit detail about her sex life. Babs often seems to forget about her daughter, but when she turns her attention to the child, it often ends up badly for Bettina. In one especially horrific scene, Babs accuses Bettina of being a sneak because she's surreptitiously drinking a soda in her bedroom. Purporting to look for other evidences of Bettina's sly behavior, Babs strips her naked and then proceeds to pull all her clothes from the closet and dump them on the floor, but the most abusive act is destroying Bettina's most prized possessions, a photo of Brooke Shields and a napkin she touched.

Not everyone will enjoy this book. It contains a lot of strong stuff from teenage drinking to explicit sexual details. It is an upsetting and very sad book. I found the most tragic part that Bettina loved her mother and wanted to be with her, even if it meant being abused. Unfortunately too many abused children react exactly this way trying to be perfect so the abusing parent will pay attention to them.

I found the book well written, but difficult to read. The details of these wealthy people's lives are extremely ugly. The story proves that having money is no guarantee of happiness. I can recommend this book only if you can take the shocking details. However, it is a good study of child abuse in an affluent setting where you wouldn't expect it, which only proves that there are disturbed people at all social levels.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.