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The chocolate money
Ashley Prentice Norton
Adult Fiction NORTON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This is the story of Bettina Ballentyne, only child of the terrible Babs, heiress to a massive chocolate fortune. A precocious 10-year-old when we meet her, Bettina's a careful student of her mother, following her rules (Babs "refuses to have a fat daughter," so Bettina never eats the family chocolate), noting her etiquette reminders (a man who can't afford to buy his mistress really good jewels should stick to flowers), and memorizing her sex tips (the proper terminology for oral sex, Babs advises, is "admiring the centerfold"). In later sections, 15-year-old Bettina's at prep school, where she undergoes the usual harassment by mean girls, discovers a taste for rough sex, and realizes that her roommate's boyfriend is the son of her mother's lover, a man Bettina nursed a crush on. Things end predictably badly, and for all the book's desire to shock (there's a lot of sex and sex talk, and Babs is a bad mother on an epic scale) it never quite does. Babs is too cartoonish, Bettina too blase, and the writing too stilted (a problem made worse by the lack of contractions in speech) for us to care much, sex scenes notwithstanding. Agent: Bill Clegg, WME Entertainment. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In 1978 Chicago, ten-year-old Bettina Ballentyne and her mother, Babs, live in a two-story "aparthouse" overlooking Lake Michigan. Babs occupies herself with spending her candy-empire inheritance, sleeping with other women's husbands, throwing lavish theme parties, and regaling Bettina with the inappropriate details of her sexual trysts-when she pays any attention at all to her only child. At age 15, Bettina attends an exclusive boarding school where she embarks on a series of physically and emotionally abusive relationships, tries to come to terms with Babs, and begins to unravel her own history. A descendant of John D. -Rockefeller, first-time novelist Norton creates a heroine readers can root for. The author deftly portrays the lifestyle of the idle rich and prep school politics, infusing the pathos with dark humor. The narrative may seem to wrap up neatly, but readers know that the damage of maternal neglect will linger. VERDICT Readers who enjoy contemporary mother-daughter fiction or chick-lit fans looking for heavier fare than offerings by Sophie Kinsella or Lauren Weisberger will relish this one.-Jenn B. Stidham, Houston Community Coll. Northeast, TX (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Bettina Ballentyne
Female
Heiress
Spends the night with married men; tries to make her identity away from her mother.



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