When twins Paul and Peter are thirteen-year-old, Paul wanders into the bush near the family’s house and doesn’t return. Since he was a baby and had a difficult delivery, Paul had caused Clyde consternation, especially in contrast to the extremely gifted Peter. Paul learns slowly, has difficulty in social situations, and relies heavily on Peter to navigate the world. When Paul doesn’t return, Clyde is convinced he’s up to mischief, but Peter and their mother, Joy, believe something else is going on. As Clyde learns the truth, he realizes he must make an impossible choice.
Golden Child is the first book I’ve read that was set in Trinidad and for that reason alone, I was excited. At first the dialect was a little awkward, but I quickly became acclimated to the style. The first half or so of the book is told from Clyde’s perspective, then there are sections told from Pauls’ and a teacher, Father Kavanagh’s perspective. Several times I felt sucker-punched (in a good way!).
To tell too much would be a disservice, but the book is extremely well-written and lyrical covering themes including the strengths and limits of parental love, the dangers of self-fulfilling prophecies, the bonds between twins, and the jealousies that fester among family members all set within the interesting context of Trinidadian society.
If anything, I wish there had been slightly more sociological context to the narrative. Also, the ending felt a little abrupt and manufactured. Still, I recommend reading this book. At times, it’s a difficult read, but it beautifully rendered with valuable insights.
Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing/SJP for Hogarth for an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.