A testament to the power of internal strength, Ross Ponderson’s “Child of Privilege” is an important work. It’s important for all the obvious reasons (recognition of less-written about themes, a clear knowledge of vocabulary and plot structure, etc), but it’s the tackling of rather taboo issues that still face modern society that are perpetually swept under that old, damn rug.
The novel finds Dana Van Werner, born into immense wealth and a much-desired social status, leaving the only world she’s ever known in hope of safety and personal truth. It’s rather safe to say, and un-spoiler-y at that, that Dana’s upbringing was intense, at best. A victim of physical, emotional, and mental abuse by her father, Dana makes the incredibly risky step to leave all that she’s ever known behind to live in the ‘real’ world, whatever that may be.
Fortunately, she’s got a strong resolve, something she’s had to acquire due to her father’s unreasonable dislike of her. While she has no idea where she is to rest her head at night, the relief of not having to suffer any more beatings trumps over any feelings of worry.
So, obviously, Dana has a lot to learn as she enters ‘big city’ life, which has its own set of learning curves and experiences to endure. Fortunately, the author has crafted a protagonist that is not only a clear victim, but also an accessible, realistic woman who is on the rollercoaster of life, just like the rest of us. Her father clearly is looking for her, and with his never-ending financial resources, acquires private investigators aplenty to locate his missing daughter. Dana is not only escaping her terrible past, but also the relentless pursuit of those hired to capture her once more.
I was extremely entertained and invested in “Child of Privilege”. Not only is it a well-paced, tightly-plotted novel that is unpretentious, but it’s also a clever statement on the perils in the wealthy, and the dynamism of the human soul. Oh, and it’s surprisingly funny.