The eponymous shining star of the story has a soubriquet reflecting a strength of character belying her childlike appearance. She is the source of light for her broken family and a hint of salvation for her elderly neighbour, Peggy Baxter.
Her mother turns to drink as she struggles to come to terms with her father’s heart breaking departure leaving siblings, Malcy and Ali, to resort to a feral existence as they fend off starvation rations by encouraging the dissolute and emotionally absent parent to spend the child allowance on food rather than drink.
The physically weak and emotionally neglected Malcy is left most exposed by the lack of parental care. Desperate to fit in he finds himself exposed to the evil machinations of adults whose manipulative grooming exploits his only real friendship with Kevin.
Allie Rogers description of individuals whose driving force is anathema to the sexual and moral norms of acceptable behaviour casts a dark shadow across the reader’s imagination but the impending clouds of tragedy are inexorably blown apart by the light of optimism shining from the captivating personality of Little Gold.
In tackling the controversial subjects of sexuality and deviance that are everyday news in our social media age it emphasises the shift in awareness from the analogue era, of the early 1980’s when access to suburbia was blurred by social reticence and a lack of transparency, to the present day digital boom where real-time access to the facts means silence can no longer conceal the truth.
Little Gold’s life is both troubling and enlightening and in her youthful resilience we are presented with the belief of a child able to combat the cynicism and warped values of an adult world.
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