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As addictive, decadent and delicious as chocolate itself Set in 1980s Chicago and on the East Coast, this electric novel chronicles the relationship between an impossibly rich chocolate heiress, Babs Ballentyne, and her sensitive and bookish young daughter, Bettina. Babs plays by no one’s rules: naked Christmas cards, lavish theme parties with lewd installations at her As addictive, decadent and delicious as chocolate itself Set in 1980s Chicago and on the East Coast, this electric novel chronicles the relationship between an impossibly rich chocolate heiress, Babs Ballentyne, and her sensitive and bookish young daughter, Bettina. Babs plays by no one’s rules: naked Christmas cards, lavish theme parties with lewd installations at her Lake Shore Drive penthouse, nocturnal visits from her married lover, who “admires her centerfold” while his wife sleeps at their nearby home. Bettina wants nothing more than to win her mother’s affection and approval, both of which prove elusive. When she escapes to an elite New Hampshire prep school, Bettina finds that her unorthodox upbringing makes it difficult to fit in with her peers, one of whom happens to be the son of Babs’s lover. As she struggles to forge an identity apart from her mother, Bettina walks a fine line between self-preservation and self-destruction. As funny as it is scandalous, The Chocolate Money is Mommie Dearest, Prep, and 50 Shades of Gray all rolled into one compulsively readable book.


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As addictive, decadent and delicious as chocolate itself Set in 1980s Chicago and on the East Coast, this electric novel chronicles the relationship between an impossibly rich chocolate heiress, Babs Ballentyne, and her sensitive and bookish young daughter, Bettina. Babs plays by no one’s rules: naked Christmas cards, lavish theme parties with lewd installations at her As addictive, decadent and delicious as chocolate itself Set in 1980s Chicago and on the East Coast, this electric novel chronicles the relationship between an impossibly rich chocolate heiress, Babs Ballentyne, and her sensitive and bookish young daughter, Bettina. Babs plays by no one’s rules: naked Christmas cards, lavish theme parties with lewd installations at her Lake Shore Drive penthouse, nocturnal visits from her married lover, who “admires her centerfold” while his wife sleeps at their nearby home. Bettina wants nothing more than to win her mother’s affection and approval, both of which prove elusive. When she escapes to an elite New Hampshire prep school, Bettina finds that her unorthodox upbringing makes it difficult to fit in with her peers, one of whom happens to be the son of Babs’s lover. As she struggles to forge an identity apart from her mother, Bettina walks a fine line between self-preservation and self-destruction. As funny as it is scandalous, The Chocolate Money is Mommie Dearest, Prep, and 50 Shades of Gray all rolled into one compulsively readable book.

30 review for The Chocolate Money

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Skane

    Mommy Dearest meets Cruel Intentions. I loved this book from beginning to end. I would consider this a must-read. It is the most daring coming-of-age story I've ever indulged in. As Babs would say - It was fucking fabulous. Full review: The Choclate Money Book Review

  2. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    If you would have woken me up yesterday morning and told me I’d spend all day reading about a horny 15-year-old chocolate co. heiress with mommy issues who goes to a fancy-pants boarding school in New England, I would have looked you square in the eyes and politely told you to get out of my bedroom. But sure enough, after clicking a few random links on an email, I found myself with a free e copy of The Chocolate Money, and after reading the first few sentences I was hooked and promptly proceeded If you would have woken me up yesterday morning and told me I’d spend all day reading about a horny 15-year-old chocolate co. heiress with mommy issues who goes to a fancy-pants boarding school in New England, I would have looked you square in the eyes and politely told you to get out of my bedroom. But sure enough, after clicking a few random links on an email, I found myself with a free e copy of The Chocolate Money, and after reading the first few sentences I was hooked and promptly proceeded to slack the work day away hanging on every word Bettina Ballentyne confessed to me. At first I thought this was just a funny, quirky and somewhat naughty coming-of-age tale (which it is, in part), but it is so much more. I literally felt like this was my childhood and I was reading an old diary I found in the basement somewhere, even though my actual childhood was 95% nothing like Bettina’s. Regardless, this heartfelt, poignant story spoke to me in such a strange and profound way that upon finishing it last night I truly felt I had lived it. I can’t remember the last time I felt such compassion for a character in such a short amount of time. This has flavors of Poor Little Rich Girl, White Oleander and even Memoirs of a Geisha woven into its fabric. If you can not read this story without laughing, crying, and having a good Think, then you my dear are missing out! I had zero expectations of this book and gave it a try on a whim, it totally worked out for me and I will do this much more often in the future! <3

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nancy K

    People will rate a book poorly for many different reasons. For example, they think it doesn't live up to its potential, or the characters aren't likable, or they are offended by some of the subject matter. I tend to give a book a poor rating when I can't become engrossed in it or when I think the characters are paper-thin. On the other hand, I don't have to like the characters to like a book. That's the case with The Chocolate Money. The characters were mostly horrible people, but I can understand People will rate a book poorly for many different reasons. For example, they think it doesn't live up to its potential, or the characters aren't likable, or they are offended by some of the subject matter. I tend to give a book a poor rating when I can't become engrossed in it or when I think the characters are paper-thin. On the other hand, I don't have to like the characters to like a book. That's the case with The Chocolate Money. The characters were mostly horrible people, but I can understand why. The author creates a world in which you wouldn't expect her characters to have redeeming qualities. And as much as the protagonist tries to better herself, she just can't undo what her abusive, selfish mother has done to her. Should that just make one give up and say, "Forget it! Why should I care about these characters?" NO! Because it's so interesting to see what a life of money can do to mess up relationships. I like when I can both feel sorry for a character and dislike (or even HATE) her at the same time. Aside from that, the book is funny, sometimes shocking, and is a fast read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Will you? That depends what you like, of course!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Morelia (Strandedinbooks)

    *3.5 to 4 stars* Ashley Prentice Norton never fails to make her stories so damn intriguing that I'm not able to put the book down. Another mix of sexy and dark humor. I love it!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hogensen

    This is Norton's debut offering. Like The Gilded Age, I wasn't really sure what she was going for, here. We meet the novel's narrator, Bettina, (daughter of Babs, an heiress to "chocolate money" from her family's candy company) when she is 10, and follow her life until she is 15, in a series of written vignettes. Babs has never treated Bettina as a daughter - more as a fixture in the house, a rival, a frenemy, and never a child. Because of this, Bettina is wise beyond her years. By the time she This is Norton's debut offering. Like The Gilded Age, I wasn't really sure what she was going for, here. We meet the novel's narrator, Bettina, (daughter of Babs, an heiress to "chocolate money" from her family's candy company) when she is 10, and follow her life until she is 15, in a series of written vignettes. Babs has never treated Bettina as a daughter - more as a fixture in the house, a rival, a frenemy, and never a child. Because of this, Bettina is wise beyond her years. By the time she is 15 (where the last half of the novel takes place), she has been drinking, smoking, and living independently of her mother for three years. Bettina is not a likeable character. But she's not dislikable either. I'm not asking that that author simplify things for me, as I enjoy challenging female characters, but I don't feel as though Norton has the confidence or experience, yet, to tackle a character as complicated as Bettina turns out to be. Bettina is, by turns, innocent and cunning. She can be incredibly cruel. She has no "long view" with regards to her actions. But, she's also been manipulated by Babs since she was a child, so she is not entirely at fault. By the end of the novel, though, I still felt that Bettina's character was driven more by plot. She was as superficial to me as she was when the novel began, which I don't think was the author's intent. I think this book has the capacity to be darkly funny, deeply sad, and a commentary on our American consumerism. I think that was what Norton was going for. Unfortunately, she did not completely achieve it with this debut.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I’m rating this 4 stars with a big huge caveat. This book is not for everyone. Make sure you read the other reviews first. It’s raunchy with unlikeable characters and is very over the top. I actually think this is the point, which is why I enjoyed it so much, but if you’re the least bit squeamish or need stories to end with character redemption this is not the book for you. In this we have Bettina, a girl who has grown up the daughter of a (self-involved) chocolate heiress. Her mother Babs is I’m rating this 4 stars with a big huge caveat. This book is not for everyone. Make sure you read the other reviews first. It’s raunchy with unlikeable characters and is very over the top. I actually think this is the point, which is why I enjoyed it so much, but if you’re the least bit squeamish or need stories to end with character redemption this is not the book for you. In this we have Bettina, a girl who has grown up the daughter of a (self-involved) chocolate heiress. Her mother Babs is simply terrible but I enjoyed this about her. You feel for Bettina, even if she makes plenty of her own stupid mistakes (can you blame her?), but the author does a brilliant job of showing how much she loves her mom, despite everything. I used to volunteer as a CASA with the foster system and it’s so true… kids only want to be with their mom. The mom can be abusive, an addict, full-on evil and children don’t care. They want to be with her. There’s not a lot of emotional resonance in this book, and again I think that’s the point, but this aspect is deeply felt. The writing is crisp and funny (in a twisted sort of way). Again, I was fascinated by Babs even though she’s horrible and has no business procreating. I thought it was interesting the author made her a non-drinker. Normally it’d be the opposite in a mommy-dearest sort of book. The twist at the end is somewhat expected, but still well done. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, including the peek into boarding school life, and would recommend it to the right kind of reader.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Catherine at The Gilmore Guide to Books

    Call me twisted but when a book opens with a wealthy woman complaining that no one understood her nude-themed Christmas card, I’m going to laugh. And have high hopes that something snarky and fun is about to transpire. Unfortunately, this does not work out in The Chocolate Money. Babs is the heiress to the Ballentyne chocolate fortune. She and her young daughter, Bettina, live in an amazing penthouse in downtown Chicago. They live lives of unparalleled luxury and emptiness. Bettina’s father is a Call me twisted but when a book opens with a wealthy woman complaining that no one understood her nude-themed Christmas card, I’m going to laugh. And have high hopes that something snarky and fun is about to transpire. Unfortunately, this does not work out in The Chocolate Money. Babs is the heiress to the Ballentyne chocolate fortune. She and her young daughter, Bettina, live in an amazing penthouse in downtown Chicago. They live lives of unparalleled luxury and emptiness. Bettina’s father is a moot point—he’s never been around and Babs won’t tell her who he is. The Chocolate Money is the sad story of a little rich girl living with a mother who won’t even allow herself to be called mother. Babs’ idea of parenting is to start allowing Bettina wine and cocktails at age 12 so she can build her tolerance and won’t be a sloppy drunk by the time she goes to college. Her ‘education’ also includes hearing every intimate detail of her mother’s sex life with an old family friend. She also has her own Mommie Dearest moments leaving Bettina so broken she burns herself, thinking If she sees a burn mark on my wrist, she will think it’s a childish attempt to off myself. So I push the lit cigarette into the flesh just above my right anklebone. No blood, just a round red tattoo. Babs will never be able to strip me of this. You can read the balance of this review at The Gilmore Guide to Books: http://gilmoreguidetobooks.com/2012/0...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I am torn between absolutely loving this novel and being completely nauseous with the pretentious writing that inevitably displays itself at least once a chapter. The main character is the daughter of a chocolate heiress, and money is therefore written about as if it rains from the sky. This kind of writing, although honest in the way wealthy people think and behave because of the careless way they can spend their dollars, is extremely difficult to stomach for a middle-class person who I am torn between absolutely loving this novel and being completely nauseous with the pretentious writing that inevitably displays itself at least once a chapter. The main character is the daughter of a chocolate heiress, and money is therefore written about as if it rains from the sky. This kind of writing, although honest in the way wealthy people think and behave because of the careless way they can spend their dollars, is extremely difficult to stomach for a middle-class person who treasures every dollar. Though I loved the main character, and felt my heart break for her multiple times throughout the book, a small part of me wanted to smack her, tell her to get over her damn difficult childhood already, and be grateful for what her wealth makes available to her. Coming into millions of dollars of inheritance is not too shabby, and when she nonchalantly describes the New York City apartment she bought, complete with two fireplaces and built-in bookshelves, as if it were just an average home, I am tempted to throw the book against the wall. I enjoyed the novel though, and Ashley Prentice Norton is extremely talented. I'm interested to see what she writes next.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    If you want to read a book that'll make you understand that more money does not equal happiness, this is that book. It follows the lives of the heirs of a chocolate fortune - the mother makes numerous bad choices - will the child go on to make the same ones? I don't know if I can really recommend it, but I did finish it, so I guess that's something.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Read, nearly, first one hundred pages. When the writer isn’t overly describing sex acts, mother said to child in the book, the book was quite good. Once, was gross, repeatedly made it just not worth finishing this book. Book was fiction, and there was no need for descriptions of sex acts.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Heller

    I really liked this book a lot. It was funny but not in any sort of overt way. There's this quote from Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys, which I read in high school (which was eighteen years ago, horrifyingly enough) but I still remember it quite well: "Rich people are never happy... I mean, people with no money haven't got much of a shot at happiness in life, either, of course. But rich people, I think, have, like, none." You can argue with me all you want, but I will always believe this is true. I really liked this book a lot. It was funny but not in any sort of overt way. There's this quote from Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys, which I read in high school (which was eighteen years ago, horrifyingly enough) but I still remember it quite well: "Rich people are never happy... I mean, people with no money haven't got much of a shot at happiness in life, either, of course. But rich people, I think, have, like, none." You can argue with me all you want, but I will always believe this is true. This book clearly takes a similar viewpoint. It was like when you look at someone fall down the stairs from a distance but when you get up close and see all the blood and pain it's not quite as funny anymore. This book treaded the finest line between the two and I can see how some would think it tipped over into the uncomfortable side of things. This book is essentially about how deeply damaged a person can get when they only have one parent and that one parent is horrible. It was cringe-worthy at times, it was maddening, and it was absurd. It was never boring.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    The Chocolate Money is a book I stumbled upon when I was browsing a book store in an airport. The clerk saw me looking at it and said, "If you're a fan of dark comedy, I suggest you read this!" So I decided I would give it a shot... and I'm extremely happy I did! I don't even know where to begin with this book because it really excites me to think about what I've read! This book is a story about Babs a rich, chocolate heiress that spends her time partying and shopping and her young daughter, The Chocolate Money is a book I stumbled upon when I was browsing a book store in an airport. The clerk saw me looking at it and said, "If you're a fan of dark comedy, I suggest you read this!" So I decided I would give it a shot... and I'm extremely happy I did! I don't even know where to begin with this book because it really excites me to think about what I've read! This book is a story about Babs a rich, chocolate heiress that spends her time partying and shopping and her young daughter, Bettina who strives to get her mother's attention in every which way she can while struggling to be nothing like her mom even if she wants to be just like her. Reading this book, I honestly felt like I was watching one of those D List celebrity reality show about their "real life" dramas. You have the mother that is rich and doesn't care about anything except herself and her belongings... except her daugther which she treats like an accessory she takes out only when it is convenient for her. Then you have Bettina, a young girl (she starts off being 10 years old) who craves to have a mother teach her the things she knows about life. However, she gets more than the average mother would share with her children. The only thing Babs shares with Bettina is all the secrets about sex with men! Towards the middle of the book, Bettina goes off to a prep school in New Hampshire and we are treated to what I felt was a mini Babs at 15 years old trying to fit in and have friends. Instead she does everything and anything (when i say ANYTHING i mean ANYTHING - Jaw dropping ANYTHING) to be accepted by her fellow schoolmates. I would LOVE nothing more than to give this book a 5 star. However, I have to say that a couple of things fell flat for me. 1 - The ending: The ending was boring to me... especially after coming off a few hundred pages of so much excitement and drama. 2 - The sex scenes: Even though they were a lot of jaw dropping moments, I felt like a lot of them were rushed and thrown into the story to make it dramatic. While it was dramatic, I dont feel like it accomplished anything in the story. Aside from that, I have to say this was an excellent book and I would recommend it to anyone that is not afraid to read a book with a bit (read A LOT) of dramatic comedy and daringness. It was so good and so entertaining I am tempted to read this book a 2nd time right now!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    I'm uncertain how I should rate this. It's soooo non relatable to my life and confusing because I don't know anyone who acts like most of the people in this book. Maybe I don't know enough people. This is what I get for going in a bookstore on a whim with no time to browse. But I wanted a new book! But I needed to leave soon! Agh, I remembered seeing it recommended and reviewed! I like chocolate! So I got it. No, that is not how to buy a book! Luckily it was a short read and I finished quickly I'm uncertain how I should rate this. It's soooo non relatable to my life and confusing because I don't know anyone who acts like most of the people in this book. Maybe I don't know enough people. This is what I get for going in a bookstore on a whim with no time to browse. But I wanted a new book! But I needed to leave soon! Agh, I remembered seeing it recommended and reviewed! I like chocolate! So I got it. No, that is not how to buy a book! Luckily it was a short read and I finished quickly not because it was good but I wanted to get it over with. I just didn't get anything from it. The characters are not likable but that's obvious. There's no real message that spoke to me. Even the twist at the end. I kind of saw it coming but even when it's revealed I felt nothing. It was just like the author did it just to do it. Bettina goes through some horrible situations and at such a young age that it's no wonder she struggles in her connections with people and how she navigates everyday life. I just didn't feel that invested in her story for some reason. It was like watching a Real Housewives of whatever on a boring afternoon when nothings on. Pointless. Forgettable. Scripted. I just don't want to believe that there are the kind of people like Babs (Battina's millionaire mom) and the women on the Real Housewives that act that careless and bitchy. I know there are, but I'm more upset that people let them act like that. The people that aren't completely disgusted with it enough to tell them to their face how disgusting they are. Or maybe they know but with all that money they just don't care. Either way, I'm happy that our paths don't cross. I have to say that the ending was pretty good though. It's kind of sad but in the way that everyone looks back on their life at some point and sees what might have been. You see how things could have been different even when there was no way you could have changed it personally. It could have been so great if that one thing had been different. It's kind of heartbreaking. Babs at the end kind of broke my heart too. Because I realized how lonely her existence was even though she seemed to love her amazing life. At the end of the day you can't cuddle, hangout and laugh with your bank account. Hey, maybe I did get something out of this book. Even if it's something I already knew.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ramie

    So this is pretty much a book about two people; Babs Ballentyne and her daughter Bettina. Babs, an heiress, is the most inappropriate woman one could imagine raising a daughter. She's selfish, abusive to just about anyone and everyone she comes into contact with, and has no sense of what to sensor (unless of course censoring herself can benefit her somehow). As we're introduced to the duo, Bettina is about to turn eleven. Already she knows details about her mother that many women wouldn't share So this is pretty much a book about two people; Babs Ballentyne and her daughter Bettina. Babs, an heiress, is the most inappropriate woman one could imagine raising a daughter. She's selfish, abusive to just about anyone and everyone she comes into contact with, and has no sense of what to sensor (unless of course censoring herself can benefit her somehow). As we're introduced to the duo, Bettina is about to turn eleven. Already she knows details about her mother that many women wouldn't share with their best friends or gynecologists. Being raised in such an inappropriate way has turned Bettina into a mess. She never seems to have enjoyed toys. Finds books for children of her age a bore. Analyzes people, art, herself. Fantasizes about men her mother is with. And most of all longs for love so badly that she'll take it or something that could lead to it anyway she can find it, even if it means being used - by her mother, by boys, by friends. This is most definitely NOT a book for everyone. You should go into it knowing that, yes, it has a lot of material that people will find offensive -- from a child character being told of sexual acts in great detail, child abuse / neglect, underage drinking / sex, just general debauchery. The people in this book are a flat out mess. If you go into that knowing that and being fine with reading a book about such messed up characters, then this a good book, not perfect, but still good. We follow Bettina from the time she is turning eleven until the time she is a grown woman of twenty-six. From being her mother's little sidekick accessory (when convenient) to just starting to really realize who she is out on her own. From not knowing her father is to knowing. At times it drags and misses out on really letting us understand who these people are as we do see they ARE more than just these messed up peeks we're getting. Still it is a fast read and despite all of the evils you can't help but root for Bettina and hope that she overcomes her upbringing and in doing so will drag her mother along with her. Of course things don't always turn out how we hope they will and no amount of money can fix some people's problems. On the other hand, you are not necessarily your mother's daughter.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Big Book Little Book

    Karen for www.bigbooklittlebook.com Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review Well, this book was certainly an eye opener! The publisher had initially intrigued me by admitting that this book was the equivalent of Marmite and I can see why. The protagonist Bettina Ballentyne is the daughter of a very rich heiress of a chocolate empire. It’s the lavish set up where ‘Babs’ the mother, is richer than you can imagine and doesn’t have to physically work for it so spends her days Karen for www.bigbooklittlebook.com Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review Well, this book was certainly an eye opener! The publisher had initially intrigued me by admitting that this book was the equivalent of Marmite and I can see why. The protagonist Bettina Ballentyne is the daughter of a very rich heiress of a chocolate empire. It’s the lavish set up where ‘Babs’ the mother, is richer than you can imagine and doesn’t have to physically work for it so spends her days socialising, grooming, networking and being the biggest bitch 1980′s Chicago has encountered! Babs, funnily enough, will never be a contender for, ‘Mother of the year’ anytime soon. I’m no aspiring psychologist but even I can tell that this mother/daughter relationship was seriously screwed. From giving Bettina at the age of 10 very graphic pearls of wisdom in regards to her own sexual techniques and exploits to outright neglect and abuse, Babs is definitely one of those, beautiful on the outside, ugly on the inside characters. At the same time though, this isn’t one of those autobiographical books where the abuse is constant and there is hate spewing from a parental figure. Babs, in her own way does care for her daughter. It’s just in a very weird way. Babs cares for her daughter as she would a possession and as such would never supersede her own selfish desires. All the while Bettina strives for her mothers affection and attention. As you wince through the car crash of this girl’s upbringing, she leaves her mother’s shadow to go to college. There she struggles to find her own identity and lacks the insight to maintain normal relationships and friendships. She then continues to make inappropriate decisions that will hurt her and others along the way. This book was quite the sensationalist read and had me muttering ‘just…one….more…. page….’ until the late hours as I couldn’t put it down. I felt almost voyeuristic as I observed such a messed up family wondering what new low they would manage next. Verdict: A challenging read and not for the easily offended but nevertheless had me gripped.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This is a tough book to rate, I give it three stars but with some needed explanation. The book The Chocolate Money is part of a new class of books being written by female authors. It almost seems that the goal of these books is to prove that females can be just as trashy and sexually perverse as men. I am not sure this is something to aspire to. In this case the story- what little there is of one, is about a woman named Babs who is obscenely wealthy, who mentally acts like a perverted 16 year This is a tough book to rate, I give it three stars but with some needed explanation. The book The Chocolate Money is part of a new class of books being written by female authors. It almost seems that the goal of these books is to prove that females can be just as trashy and sexually perverse as men. I am not sure this is something to aspire to. In this case the story- what little there is of one, is about a woman named Babs who is obscenely wealthy, who mentally acts like a perverted 16 year old boy, and who even worse has a daughter (Bettina) who she is raising on her own. Babs has no boundaries when it comes to her behavior in front of her daughter or discussions about oral sex with her 11 year old. The real problem with the book is that once you get past the shock factor somewhere around the second chapter you realize there is really no story. Yes it jumps ahead to Bettina going to a exclusive boarding school, but you know what will happen and predictably it does, you can figure even how the book will end except by then you really don't care, I at least kept hoping to see the daughter have a Lindsey Lohan type meltdown. The author is just as pretentious as the Babs character in the book I base this on the picture of the author on the fly leaf of the book, as well as her educational background, and lastly because of the acknowledgements page where she lists her husband, her three trendy named kids and their nanny. So why three stars? Because it is more acceptable to read this book,at say the pool compared to the best of Penthouse letters- it is after all funny. But I hope that this author as well as the author of Tampa- a book I loathed- figure out how to write a book with a plot, a storyline, and maybe interesting characters rather than continuing to to write edgy porn for soccer moms or their nannies.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lolly K Dandeneau

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I understand the discomfort several readers had with chapters that details the overly sexual young Bettina, but in defense of the literature, it follows that a child exposed to a sexually charged environment and damaged mother would not have a healthy, 'innocent' childhood. It also stands to reason that teenagers actually do have sexual adventures, maybe more than some adults are ready to admit. While set in the 80's on the east coast, somehow I doubt teens were any less promiscuous than those I understand the discomfort several readers had with chapters that details the overly sexual young Bettina, but in defense of the literature, it follows that a child exposed to a sexually charged environment and damaged mother would not have a healthy, 'innocent' childhood. It also stands to reason that teenagers actually do have sexual adventures, maybe more than some adults are ready to admit. While set in the 80's on the east coast, somehow I doubt teens were any less promiscuous than those growing up now. I think the point was more in using the 'in your face' sexual experiences as a way to explain how damaged Betinna is by her upbringing. I liked the ending, because it isn't packaged nice and pretty. In the world of romance novels, were this one, we would see Betinna not just reunited with Cape but married with happy little healthy adjusted children- and thank god it wasn't such an ending, because that would make this novel a fairy tale. It just wouldn't have made a lick of sense. Bettina's father being her mom's cousin made sense in that this is one messed up family.It was amazing Betinna doesn't self-destruct. Are there versions in reality of mothers like Babs? You bet. That is what makes the story fragile to me and maybe they aren't worth millions like Babs, but sadly there are mother's that damage their children without piles of money to land on. I think this will sit with me for a while. And one more thing, at least in this novel young Betinna isn't having rough sex with her teachers, which is more common in coming of age novels set in boarding schools.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    A coming of age story about a young girl named Bettina who is born into a family of one, a wealthy mother, Babs who couldn't care less about her. Babs is cruel and cold to Bettina but all she wants is her mothers approval. Character development was great in my opinion, you grew up with Bettina and see who she's becoming because of how her mother treats her. I enjoyed the book more from part II and on just because Bettina was a teenage from that point in the book. Part I was harder for me to read A coming of age story about a young girl named Bettina who is born into a family of one, a wealthy mother, Babs who couldn't care less about her. Babs is cruel and cold to Bettina but all she wants is her mothers approval. Character development was great in my opinion, you grew up with Bettina and see who she's becoming because of how her mother treats her. I enjoyed the book more from part II and on just because Bettina was a teenage from that point in the book. Part I was harder for me to read and relate to because Bettina is a little girl and Babs does not care for her like a mother, she makes Bettina do the odds things to seek revenge on other people using her daughter. While Bettina is a child Babs confides in her as a friend her age and tells Bettina all about her sex life and how Bettina should go on in life like her and not like a pathetic teenager oblivious about sex. After part I I couldn't put this book down. I really enjoyed it. When Bettina attends boarding school at sixteen she tries to be a normal teenager from a normal family, hiding the fact of who she really is and about her personal life, regarding Babs. Bettina makes decisions that are influenced by what she has been told by her mother since she was a child about sex and explores that with the boys of Cardiss, however she steps on some feet while doing this and loses the little of what you can call friends she was able to attain. It follows up to when Bettina is 26 years old, where she is and who she has decided to become. I really enjoyed this book and if you like coming of age fiction I recommend you pick this up!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Considering Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep is one of my favorite books, I quickly began to realize as I devoured this book that this had a ton of similarities - which I loved. I keep reading reviews about how it was terrible because it wasn't relatable and people can't get behind a story with characters so awful, but really? How many of us are multi millionaires? I loved that I couldn't necessarily relate and was able to get lost in this ridiculous world of Bettina & Babs. Especially near the end Considering Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep is one of my favorite books, I quickly began to realize as I devoured this book that this had a ton of similarities - which I loved. I keep reading reviews about how it was terrible because it wasn't relatable and people can't get behind a story with characters so awful, but really? How many of us are multi millionaires? I loved that I couldn't necessarily relate and was able to get lost in this ridiculous world of Bettina & Babs. Especially near the end of the book, my heart broke with almost every interaction between the two characters, but it only made me love Bettina that much more, regardless of the stupid things she did at school. She's a teenager shipped away to a boarding school because her mother sucks at life and manipulates everything & everybody in her path. I wasn't even mad at the shocking end in relation to Babs because she sucked so bad that I longed for freedom for Bettina, no matter which way it came. This is where I come to the the nit picky part of my review - SO MANY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS. Okay, really only like four, but who is editing this?! I was outraged. I warned that it was nit picky problem… ;) All in all, I enjoyed this book a lot & can't wait for this author to write another.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Imagine if Paris Hilton had a child and nobody cared. Well, they care insofar as they enjoy watching her give parties and trot out her daughter for show. But they don't really care after the party is over. That's what this book is. A very rich heiress has never had to work a day in her life and has a daughter. She treats her daughter quite horribly and despicably. I wanted to stop reading. Babs' behavior toward her daughter turned my stomach. But, her daughter is ignored and belittled by Imagine if Paris Hilton had a child and nobody cared. Well, they care insofar as they enjoy watching her give parties and trot out her daughter for show. But they don't really care after the party is over. That's what this book is. A very rich heiress has never had to work a day in her life and has a daughter. She treats her daughter quite horribly and despicably. I wanted to stop reading. Babs' behavior toward her daughter turned my stomach. But, her daughter is ignored and belittled by everyone and nobody really seems to care about her so I didn't want to be one of those people who didn't care, so I continued reading. After her totally f-ed childhood of course she's got issues and those issues come to a head when she goes to boarding school. Honestly, it was like watching a train wreck - I couldn't pull my eyes away. I ended up not being able to put it down simply because I had a sick need to know what kind of carnage was going to happen next.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amanda - Go Book Yourself

    Overall I quite enjoyed this. It could have used some fleshing out and trimming back in some parts. Part 2 was too similar to a whiny young adult novel for me but I really enjoyed the first and the last part. Babs character was well written but it would have been great to hear more about her family and life as an heiress. She was such a strong in your face character but was pushed to the background for a lot of the story. Her parts were very reminiscent of The Help. Ashley Prenctice Norton is Overall I quite enjoyed this. It could have used some fleshing out and trimming back in some parts. Part 2 was too similar to a whiny young adult novel for me but I really enjoyed the first and the last part. Babs character was well written but it would have been great to hear more about her family and life as an heiress. She was such a strong in your face character but was pushed to the background for a lot of the story. Her parts were very reminiscent of The Help. Ashley Prenctice Norton is definitely an author to keep a close eye on in the future.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kessa

    I devoured this book from beginning to end. Reminded me of a cross between Mommy Dearest and a Judy Blume coming of age novel. One of the reviews said that this book was at times "shocking." I thought I had been shocked beyond any new "shock," but the reviewer was right. Parts of this book are downright shocking. The Chocolate Money is a stunning coming of age story wrapped up in a fancy purple aluminum candy wrapper. I began to love Bettina and abhor her mother. The book ended okay, probably I devoured this book from beginning to end. Reminded me of a cross between Mommy Dearest and a Judy Blume coming of age novel. One of the reviews said that this book was at times "shocking." I thought I had been shocked beyond any new "shock," but the reviewer was right. Parts of this book are downright shocking. The Chocolate Money is a stunning coming of age story wrapped up in a fancy purple aluminum candy wrapper. I began to love Bettina and abhor her mother. The book ended okay, probably could have been beefed up, but the truth is that I miss the characters and the story. This one was hard to put down. I highly recommend.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Adrianne Ambrose

    This book is very twisted and very well written. I admire the author's fearlessness and flair. I would have given it five stars, but it gets a little bogged down in the second act, picking up again in the third. Hardly a major crime, but still a damn good read. Probably not recommended for someone who grew up with abuse, especially if you haven't dealt with it yet. There's some twisted stuff. Still, this author is fresh and I am more than a little envious of her descriptive style. Really an This book is very twisted and very well written. I admire the author's fearlessness and flair. I would have given it five stars, but it gets a little bogged down in the second act, picking up again in the third. Hardly a major crime, but still a damn good read. Probably not recommended for someone who grew up with abuse, especially if you haven't dealt with it yet. There's some twisted stuff. Still, this author is fresh and I am more than a little envious of her descriptive style. Really an engaging read. Oh, screw it - I'm giving it five stars. Who am I to hold out on a star?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Crow

    The title and the picture do not reflect the nature of this novel at all. It is a no-holds-barred account of the bizarre childhood of an heiress who lives alone with her strange, self-absorbed mother. the girl is shown at three points in her life: pre-teen, high school, and young adult. We are allowed unlimited access into her thoughts, and although repelled by some of the events, it is fascinating to see how much a child is shaped by her mother, no matter how warped that mother may be.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Redlin (BlameJennyJane)

    I'm not really sure why but I didn't have a lot of expectations for this book. It just sort of fell into my lap and wasn't something I sought out. I am so glad I read it though! It was a really, really good book. Some of the characters were stereotypical, but not the ones that really matter. I really got attached to them! The story sped along and was hard to put down at times. It took me almost no time to read. I highly recommend it!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This book was completely disturbing from start to finish. I kept wanting to quit, but I thought it had to get better for Bettina. But- it was a sad tale of never ending abuse. It is well written, but too dark for my taste.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Acuna

    I loved this book. It was heartbreaking and poignent and funny and wise, edgy and shocking and sometimes fun....It's definitely not a book I'd recommend to everyone, but my closest friends will "get it" and love it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Hess

    Zero character development. Why is Bettina's mom so obtuse? How did the grandparents die? No answers so it is hard to feel for these people because you don't know anything about them? Also, somewhat crude and I don't consider myself prudish but no explanation as to why they are so vulgar.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Devin

    This book is cray cray.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dione

    This was a GREAT weekend read. I highly recommend!!

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