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The Chocolate Money

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,040 Ratings  ·  273 Reviews
As addictive, decadent and delicious as chocolate itself

Set in 1980s Chicago and on the East Coast, this electric debut chronicles the relationship between an impossibly rich chocolate heiress, Babs Ballentyne, and her sensitive and bookish young daughter, Bettina. Babs plays by no one’s rules: naked Christmas cards, lavish theme parties with lewd installations at her Lake
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Rebecca Skane

Mommy Dearest meets Cruel Intentions. I loved this book from beginning to end. I would consider this a must-read. It is the most daring coming-of-age story I've ever indulged in. As Babs would say - It was fucking fabulous.

Full review:

The Choclate Money Book Review
Nancy K
Apr 13, 2013 Nancy K rated it really liked it
People will rate a book poorly for many different reasons. For example, they think it doesn't live up to its potential, or the characters aren't likable, or they are offended by some of the subject matter.

I tend to give a book a poor rating when I can't become engrossed in it or when I think the characters are paper-thin.
On the other hand, I don't have to like the characters to like a book.

That's the case with The Chocolate Money. The characters were mostly horrible people, but I can understand
Jan 24, 2013 Megan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: rich girls, poor girls, all the single ladies
If you would have woken me up yesterday morning and told me I’d spend all day reading about a horny 15-year-old chocolate co. heiress with mommy issues who goes to a fancy-pants boarding school in New England, I would have looked you square in the eyes and politely told you to get out of my bedroom.
But sure enough, after clicking a few random links on an email, I found myself with a free e copy of The Chocolate Money, and after reading the first few sentences I was hooked and promptly proceeded
Laura Hogensen
This is Norton's debut offering. Like The Gilded Age, I wasn't really sure what she was going for, here. We meet the novel's narrator, Bettina, (daughter of Babs, an heiress to "chocolate money" from her family's candy company) when she is 10, and follow her life until she is 15, in a series of written vignettes. Babs has never treated Bettina as a daughter - more as a fixture in the house, a rival, a frenemy, and never a child. Because of this, Bettina is wise beyond her years. By the time she ...more
Feb 15, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it
I’m rating this 4 stars with a big huge caveat. This book is not for everyone. Make sure you read the other reviews first. It’s raunchy with unlikeable characters and is very over the top. I actually think this is the point, which is why I enjoyed it so much, but if you’re the least bit squeamish or need stories to end with character redemption this is not the book for you.

In this we have Bettina, a girl who has grown up the daughter of a (self-involved) chocolate heiress. Her mother Babs is sim
Sep 12, 2012 Catherine rated it did not like it
Call me twisted but when a book opens with a wealthy woman complaining that no one understood her nude-themed Christmas card, I’m going to laugh. And have high hopes that something snarky and fun is about to transpire. Unfortunately, this does not work out in The Chocolate Money.

Babs is the heiress to the Ballentyne chocolate fortune. She and her young daughter, Bettina, live in an amazing penthouse in downtown Chicago. They live lives of unparalleled luxury and emptiness. Bettina’s father is a
Ashley Rubinstein
Oct 26, 2012 Ashley Rubinstein rated it really liked it
I am torn between absolutely loving this novel and being completely nauseous with the pretentious writing that inevitably displays itself at least once a chapter. The main character is the daughter of a chocolate heiress, and money is therefore written about as if it rains from the sky. This kind of writing, although honest in the way wealthy people think and behave because of the careless way they can spend their dollars, is extremely difficult to stomach for a middle-class person who treasure ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Erik rated it liked it
If you want to read a book that'll make you understand that more money does not equal happiness, this is that book. It follows the lives of the heirs of a chocolate fortune - the mother makes numerous bad choices - will the child go on to make the same ones? I don't know if I can really recommend it, but I did finish it, so I guess that's something.
Kimberley Jo
May 22, 2016 Kimberley Jo rated it it was amazing
Purchased this twisted beauty,and I have to say it's my favourite read.I'm highly interested at the prospect of reading it at a later date (at a later age) to see if my perceptions are the same from a more mature woman,rather than a 25 year old young lady.This is my first book review as I was so stunned by it I had to share my thoughts!
A Girl Interrupted entwined with Pretty Persuasions.
I warmed to Bettina instantly,her intellectual coming of age aura left you in shock but most of all left you
Mar 14, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
Considering Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep is one of my favorite books, I quickly began to realize as I devoured this book that this had a ton of similarities - which I loved. I keep reading reviews about how it was terrible because it wasn't relatable and people can't get behind a story with characters so awful, but really? How many of us are multi millionaires? I loved that I couldn't necessarily relate and was able to get lost in this ridiculous world of Bettina & Babs. Especially near the end ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Sep 18, 2012 Lolly K Dandeneau rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
So this is pretty much a book about two people; Babs Ballentyne and her daughter Bettina. Babs, an heiress, is the most inappropriate woman one could imagine raising a daughter. She's selfish, abusive to just about anyone and everyone she comes into contact with, and has no sense of what to sensor (unless of course censoring herself can benefit her somehow). As we're introduced to the duo, Bettina is about to turn eleven. Already she knows details about her mother that many women wouldn't share ...more
Big Book Little Book
Karen for
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Well, this book was certainly an eye opener! The publisher had initially intrigued me by admitting that this book was the equivalent of Marmite and I can see why.

The protagonist Bettina Ballentyne is the daughter of a very rich heiress of a chocolate empire. It’s the lavish set up where ‘Babs’ the mother, is richer than you can imagine and doesn’t have to physically work for it so spends her days socialisi
Jan 01, 2013 Tori rated it it was ok
I'm uncertain how I should rate this. It's soooo non relatable to my life and confusing because I don't know anyone who acts like most of the people in this book.

Maybe I don't know enough people.

This is what I get for going in a bookstore on a whim with no time to browse. But I wanted a new book! But I needed to leave soon! Agh, I remembered seeing it recommended and reviewed! I like chocolate! So I got it. No, that is not how to buy a book!

Luckily it was a short read and I finished quickly n
Jan 21, 2013 Fred rated it really liked it
The Chocolate Money is a book I stumbled upon when I was browsing a book store in an airport. The clerk saw me looking at it and said, "If you're a fan of dark comedy, I suggest you read this!" So I decided I would give it a shot... and I'm extremely happy I did!

I don't even know where to begin with this book because it really excites me to think about what I've read!

This book is a story about Babs a rich, chocolate heiress that spends her time partying and shopping and her young daughter, Betti
Feb 22, 2013 Allison rated it it was ok
Imagine if Paris Hilton had a child and nobody cared. Well, they care insofar as they enjoy watching her give parties and trot out her daughter for show. But they don't really care after the party is over. That's what this book is. A very rich heiress has never had to work a day in her life and has a daughter. She treats her daughter quite horribly and despicably. I wanted to stop reading. Babs' behavior toward her daughter turned my stomach. But, her daughter is ignored and belittled by everyon ...more
Amanda - Go Book Yourself
Overall I quite enjoyed this.

It could have used some fleshing out and trimming back in some parts. Part 2 was too similar to a whiny young adult novel for me but I really enjoyed the first and the last part.

Babs character was well written but it would have been great to hear more about her family and life as an heiress. She was such a strong in your face character but was pushed to the background for a lot of the story. Her parts were very reminiscent of The Help.

Ashley Prenctice Norton is defin
Aug 07, 2014 Kessa rated it really liked it
I devoured this book from beginning to end. Reminded me of a cross between Mommy Dearest and a Judy Blume coming of age novel. One of the reviews said that this book was at times "shocking." I thought I had been shocked beyond any new "shock," but the reviewer was right. Parts of this book are downright shocking. The Chocolate Money is a stunning coming of age story wrapped up in a fancy purple aluminum candy wrapper. I began to love Bettina and abhor her mother. The book ended okay, probably co ...more
Adrianne Ambrose
Jan 06, 2013 Adrianne Ambrose rated it it was amazing
This book is very twisted and very well written. I admire the author's fearlessness and flair. I would have given it five stars, but it gets a little bogged down in the second act, picking up again in the third. Hardly a major crime, but still a damn good read.

Probably not recommended for someone who grew up with abuse, especially if you haven't dealt with it yet. There's some twisted stuff. Still, this author is fresh and I am more than a little envious of her descriptive style. Really an engag
Apr 07, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it
I stumbled on this book while at the library in search of a book I could read on the subway. I’d never heard of the author or the story but it sounded interesting and fit my criteria of being both a paperback and not terribly heavy to carry around. Sometimes this strategy can yield some real clunkers but this time I stumbled upon a jewel. The narrator of the story is the daughter to an heiress (chocolate – of the money in the title.) It is dark and shocking and full of pathos. Told in the first ...more
Jul 30, 2014 Paul rated it liked it
This is a tough book to rate, I give it three stars but with some needed explanation. The book The Chocolate Money is part of a new class of books being written by female authors. It almost seems that the goal of these books is to prove that females can be just as trashy and sexually perverse as men. I am not sure this is something to aspire to. In this case the story- what little there is of one, is about a woman named Babs who is obscenely wealthy, who mentally acts like a perverted 16 year ol ...more
Kathy Crow
Jun 21, 2013 Kathy Crow rated it it was amazing
The title and the picture do not reflect the nature of this novel at all. It is a no-holds-barred account of the bizarre childhood of an heiress who lives alone with her strange, self-absorbed mother. the girl is shown at three points in her life: pre-teen, high school, and young adult. We are allowed unlimited access into her thoughts, and although repelled by some of the events, it is fascinating to see how much a child is shaped by her mother, no matter how warped that mother may be.
Diane Woodruff
Jun 06, 2014 Diane Woodruff rated it really liked it
If this is the way some rich live, I am content with not having money! The story is about an heiress to the Ballentyne chocolate fortune, Babs Ballentyne. Her unconventional parenting syle is shocking. She sends nude Christmas cards of her daughter, age 11. She throws over the top parties. Babs is raising her daughter, Bettina, as a single mother. They live in a penthouse in Chicago during the 1980's.

The story is told through the eyes of Bettina. Her mother teaches her many lessons about sex. A
Jenny Mooney
Apr 04, 2013 Jenny Mooney rated it really liked it
I'm not really sure why but I didn't have a lot of expectations for this book. It just sort of fell into my lap and wasn't something I sought out. I am so glad I read it though! It was a really, really good book. Some of the characters were stereotypical, but not the ones that really matter. I really got attached to them! The story sped along and was hard to put down at times. It took me almost no time to read. I highly recommend it!
Wendy Hess
Aug 04, 2014 Wendy Hess rated it it was ok
Zero character development. Why is Bettina's mom so obtuse? How did the grandparents die? No answers so it is hard to feel for these people because you don't know anything about them? Also, somewhat crude and I don't consider myself prudish but no explanation as to why they are so vulgar.
Mindy Conde
Mar 28, 2014 Mindy Conde rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
This is a tricky one to review because while I liked it while reading it, now that I'm done, it just leaves behind a vague sense of "eh, it was ok." I mean the antics of Babs, the incredibly rich chocolate heiress and definite nominee for worst parent award, are funny and shocking but the evolution of her daughter Bettina, which the book is supposed to chronicle, takes a back seat to Babs' crazy behavior and ultimately leaves the novel feeling rather flat and unfulfilled.

A quick overview for yo
Nov 17, 2012 Lori rated it did not like it
This book was completely disturbing from start to finish. I kept wanting to quit, but I thought it had to get better for Bettina. But- it was a sad tale of never ending abuse. It is well written, but too dark for my taste.
Melissa Acuna
Nov 26, 2012 Melissa Acuna rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was heartbreaking and poignent and funny and wise, edgy and shocking and sometimes fun....It's definitely not a book I'd recommend to everyone, but my closest friends will "get it" and love it.
Mar 19, 2014 Cheryl rated it liked it
I kept getting confused between thinking I was not the target audience for this book - that a teen girl would be and then shocked by the content being viewed by a teen girl. Then again, what do I know about what teen girls read now? As much as you don't 'like' the characters, I kept being drawn to Bettina even when she made the worst choices. But we don't need to like all book characters either - she did things that I didn't like, but that's life - people behave in all kinds of ways and doesn't ...more
Feb 21, 2014 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Three and a half. I feel like I say this a lot, but this is the kind of book that you can tell whether you will like it by the description. If you're looking for something fast and funny and sexy and over the top campy, this is a good choice. The first section was my favorite; for me it lost a little steam once Bettina went to boarding school, because there was a lot less Babs, and Babs was amazing. Everything Babs says and does is either hilarious or horrifying. I read a lot of Sidney Sheldon w ...more
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“Babs, for all her power, has yet to catch me at it, this thing I call chasing the smash. 3 likes
“On one hand, it would be stupid to deprive my centerfold of his talents, but on the other, I can't have him thinking I'm that easy.” 0 likes
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