Privileges, Jonathan Dee

I really liked this book. It was written with a subtle humor and although the telling of the tale began to slow about 2/3rd of the way through, it was only a brief segment and it quickly picked up and gained momentum as it raced toward its conclusion with page turning speed.
This story began with a young, upwardly mobile couple as they prepare for their marriage. Their wedding day is examined and scrutinized. You can feel their youthful exuberance as they get ready to embark on their journey into a hopeful future. They are a charmed couple and they believe they can make all the rules, defying authority, and laughing at the system. They believe they will become more independent, safe and secure because they are completely in love.  Whether or not they grow and mature, break the rules and succeed, is immaterial, in the end. The only thing that is important is their abiding affection for each other.
For the reader, it will bring back the memories of one’s own planning of any momentous event, complete with the anxieties, nervousness, trepidation and joyfulness. It will take the reader through the days and memories of their own lives with familiar scenes bringing knowing smiles of recognition to their faces. The family dynamics are really amusing and quite true to form. In this case there are blended families involved and their interrelationships are often hilarious.
As the story moves through the years, we see the couple change, reexamining their choices and making new ones. The book is one in which several generations may identify. It is hard to come up with a reason that someone might not enjoy this book, unless the stereotyping of the generations feels overwhelming. It is best to just keep turning the pages as the Moreys keep living one day after another, without looking back. You will not be disappointed.
Cynthia is a stay at home mom. Adam is climbing up the ladder of success in the investment world. He lives his life to make Cynthia happy. The children, April and Jonas, are living in the lap of luxury. They are not in touch with reality or with true emotions. Neither the children nor the parents, can do wrong, even when they most decidedly, do wrong. No matter what happens, Adam and Cynthia “fix” it. There is always a way to handle whatever happens for money is power and control and it has bought them privileges not afforded to the ordinary person.
From the perfect couple, totally completed by each other, they grew somewhat dissatisfied as the years passed. They felt they were missing something, missing out on things and wanted more. Having attained one dream they turned their attention to another.  They pushed every envelope to its limit as they climbed higher and higher into the world of the rich, often, their dreams could not be satisfied. They had to keep on buying, doing and going.
What started out as a simple adventure into marriage and family turned into an experiment in greed. They lived to attain things. They fell back on their love for each other to justify the means by which they acquired them, i.e., they did it for each other.  Their children loved them but they also pushed the envelope and disobeyed the rules knowing their cool parents would bail them out and provide them with whatever they wished.
Although the family was close, no one was really ever involved in whatever anyone else was doing, at any particular time. They were one unit but each individual was totally separate and often dishonest with each other. The common thread was their absolute love for each other which never faltered regardless of what life threw at them.
For me the  Moreys were hypocrites. They felt they were above the laws and rules for mere mortals. Their children were living purposeless lives because they didn’t have to work for anything; they were unduly naïve because they had only been exposed to their own pleasures. Their mistakes were never rectified, they were justified and covered up. They all kind of bounced through life.
Though I found the characters to be unpleasant people, I couldn’t dislike them. They were believable and that is what made them so successful in their lives as the characters in the book. People were drawn to them as I was. Their charisma moved them forward. For every negative aspect portrayed, another favorable one was ready in the wings to stand beside it to make you question your feelings about them. People of privilege earn privileges and respect, sometimes, illegitimately, and without reason.
All of the characters have a touch of the real, all of them seemed to be cut from flesh and blood, not the cloth of the page. All are familiar in one way or another to the reader. They represent a segment of the population that all of us know.
In the end, I would have liked more. It left me hanging a little. I was not sure of how Adam actually attains his enormous wealth. I wondered what ultimately happened to Jonas. Who was Joseph and what was his real intention? What crime did he commit? These questions were not answered.
It is a timeless novel for readers of all ages. I identify with many of the scenes and I see my own children in others. The lack of privileges or their abundance, matters not; it is the pecking order of things that seems most important to the story. After awhile, one will wonder, will they ever be content, when is enough, enough? Does one more dollar in bonus really matter; one more home; one more trip? Are they living or going through the motions? Does the means justify the end? The book made one think about the meaning of privilege and the access it offers. Does responsibility toward others come with the assumption of privilege? Do we live for ourselves, for others, for the mark on the world we leave behind? What will be our legacy?

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About omasvoice

Who am I? I am you. I am everyone out there who loves to read and discuss and voice an opinion!
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Books for Adults, Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Privileges, Jonathan Dee

  1. JoAnn says:

    Great review, so well-written.

  2. omasvoice says:

    You sure know how to make a “girl” feel special!

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