Karen Bloom expects nothing less than perfection from her children. Ewan, her son, has let her down and spends all day in his room above the garage smoking weed. She has a troubled relationship with her step daughter Verity, her husband Noel’s daughter from his first marriage. Karen’s attention is solely focused on ten year old Bronte, her daughter with Noel. Karen fills Bronte’s schedule with Piano, Harp and dance practice as well as after school tutoring, and doesn’t let her have play dates or sleepovers. Just how far will she go to achieve the perfect child, and what about the consequences for Bronte and the rest of the family for whom she has no time.
This is a brilliantly thought out thriller that looks at the idea of ‘Tiger Mothers’ in society today. As a character Karen is horrible, she only cares about her one child at the expense of her son, step daughter and husband. She has tunnel vision where her daughter is involved and god help any one who gets in the way of her goals. I do wonder about how manipulative she is as she got pregnant with her her son and then daughter whilst the relationship was fairly new; its like she has a need to live her life through her children. Her husband Noel is a local GP and no match for Karen’s strong character. I had an empathy for him, some may find him a weak character but I found he was just to resigned to the fact that this was his life and he didn’t want to upset the apple cart and put his children through another marriage break up.
The plot is very thought provoking and makes us ask the question of whether this just a parent wanting the best future for their child or whether it is a form of child abuse; pushing the child to their limits and not asking them what they want. It also looks at the dilemmas faced in todays ‘blended family’ and the problems that can arise with jealousies and allegiances formed.
The Trophy Child is a well written novel, with characters that are very real in their circumstances and situations faced. The plot changes direction several times so you are never quite sure where it is going. I found this book thought provoking and erudite read.