When I recieved an ARC of Golden Child from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC, I thought two things. #1: This is published by SJP for Hogarth, the same publisher of A Place For Us, immediately I knew this book was bound for success. #2: I know someone who is really going to love this book. You see, I work with a man that I consider a genius. He is eloquent with his words and writes with a ferocious talent. He’s been published in medical journals and writing seems to come natural to him. Because of these things, I knew that he would do justice to Golden Child in a way that I could not. Therefore, I give you his review.
Goodreads Synopsis: Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness. When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters–leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make. Like the Trinidadian landscape itself, Golden Child is both beautiful and unsettling; a resoundingly human story of aspiration, betrayal, and love.
“The core of family love invokes inherent response and intense passion within most parents. When difficult choices present themselves with a child’s future, the parental logic with decision making can seem very momentous and difficult. This cultivates complexity: their inner world and thought contrasted with what they perceive and dream about the goodness of an external world that can higher levels of joy and happiness.
Set on the island of Trinidad, this story captures a different culture and lens towards life that can seem somewhat different and harsh to our traditional mores and ethics. Moreover, the author examines common familiar themes that have been written about since antiquity: choice, sacrifice, family, opportunity, greed, depravity, suffering, mental anguish and the DNA differences which can make parenting children either easy or sometimes very difficult.
This is not an easy read. The author is British and island educated, and the Trinidad island culture, language and logic can seem a bit foreign and sometimes arduous to comprehend with our lens. Although we may perceive island life and idyllic, this book examines the difficult and siloed life of the indigenous peoples who live and earn a living on a small national island. Furthermore, the social and economic life choices made by uneducated parents, who are trying to cope with the correct but difficult and complex choices for their childrens’ futures.
The chosen book title, The Golden Child, is both literal and metaphorical. Although the two primary characters are being raised by Hindu parents, their names are Christian. They attend Catholic School, but observe traditional Hindu life, food, and culture. The family’s feet and hands are intertwined with several worlds and cultures, all while living on a small national island. At the core of the story is what Golden represents to the characters.”
If you look at the Goodreads reviews and ratings on this book, you’ll see that it definitely isn’t an easy read and isn’t for everyone. I believe that you should not only read for pleasure, but also to challenge yourself and widen your perspectives. This book will do that. Today is the official pub day, so grab your copy here.
“There are books that change our perspectives and books that change our personalities.”
― Carla H. Krueger