Friday, November 16, 2012

Ashley Prentice Norton, THE CHOCOLATE MONEY

Stayed up last night to finish this compulsively readable novel by an old friend of mine from grad school. Yes, like lots of first novels, it's based in part on her life, and it has all the raw power of memoirs such as DON'T LETS GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT, GLASS CASTLE, or THE JACKS BANK. It's told in the first person (with dated chapters,  memoir-style) by Bettina, whose narcissistic bitch of a mother Babs is heiress to a chocolate fortune worth $300MM. It traces Bettina from Chicago to a prep school to New York City. It's a brave, fearless book with wry humor; some of her lines just sing, and her imagery (burning, hair, pennies) is like a set of gold threads in a tapestry, holding the book together in a way that transcends plot.

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