Thursday, 19 August 2010

Jonathan Dee's The Privileges

The Privileges is a terrifying account of what society can become. The central characters, Cynthia and Adam Morey, make their money professionally, yet illegally and in time become so rich they are condescendingly spewing money onto the poor and needy. The most vulgar aspect of the book is the fact that in their world anything can be bought, possessions, people, and decisions. The book was written intelligently with Dee having an incredible eye for detail particularly for the central characters’ wedding in the books opening chapter. The account of the relationship between the protagonists gave the outwardly shallow characters a heart and soul to admire. The depiction of teenage life is, at times horrifying but as a parent of young children I often approach the subject with much trepidation. The teenagers are colourless Gossip Girl characters; one studious and one pissing the privileges away. Their parent’s are completely oblivious to the fact that their wealth and status is having a profoundly detrimental impact on their social development . Their family values are snugly wrapped up in a jaded and impenetrable ball of cotton wealth. Overall, as enjoyable as the book was, I read it as a depressing expose of what money can do to people. The Privileges sits comfortably next to Oliver James' non-fictional book Affluenza, as both investigate and highlight the tragic effect of capitalism and consumerism on society.

It would be interesting to read a sequel to the novel, post-economic downfall, to see how the family cope with the crash. However, judging by the way Dee developed their characters it wouldn’t come as any surprise if the Morey’s shot their own faces off in the first paragraph.

Click Here to buy The Privileges
Click Here to buy Affluenza

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