Title: The Children Are Watching
Author(s): Laird Koenig & Peter L. Dixon
Genre: Classic Fiction
Number of Pages: 157
***Warning: Spoilers Ahead***
It’s too bad this book was a dud, because I love the cover art. The Children Are Watching had potential, I’ll give it that. I liked some of the social commentary and the atmosphere it created but the plot was an absolute mess. Also, the child characters were the fucking worst. I don’t remember the last time I wanted small children to die violent deaths as much as I did with these little shitheads. So, The Children Are Watching is about five siblings (or possibly half-siblings) who’s rich, neglectful parents have pretty much abandoned them and left them with the Hispanic maid.
The parents are celebrities so I guess they have better things to do than parenting, and the kids live near the beach in California and spend all their time watching TV. They have very little empathy and the scenarios they see play out on the TV seem to be more real to them than their real lives. They treat the maid (who they’ve nicknamed Avocados) like shit and then after she has a drunken tryst with her boyfriend, they accidently kill her. The oldest girl Kathy dominates the younger ones as they try to figure out what to do about the situation.
This is a book that seems to think that five little kids (the oldest being nine) can dispose of the bodies of two people and not get caught by the police. I get that this is somewhat satiric; the dead man and woman are undocumented immigrants and the police and everybody else is racist as fuck. Either they’re not overly interested in looking into the deaths or they flat-out don’t care about the disappearances of two ‘spics’ at all.
Still, it’s annoying when the book strains credulity to such a ridiculous extent (I mean, these kids push a car off a cliff? SERIOUSLY?!) and even more annoying to watch these little shits hedonistically sit in front of the boob tube and shove their mouths full of junk food while getting away with unconscionable behavior. Even though Avocado’s boyfriend (the second person who gets killed) is an abusive criminal, you don’t feel any sympathy for the kids and I think it might have been better if at least one of them was a relatable character.
The writer’s also have an obsession with race and one particular character’s weight. The Hispanic characters are described as ‘dark’ and ‘brown-skinned’ almost constantly, I was like ‘ALL RIGHT! We get it! They don’t have the same skin tone as the kids!’ Meanwhile, the heavyset kid is described as ‘the fat boy’ as he ‘lifts his fat self off the couch’ and ‘hauls his fat self around.’ Okay, he’s fat. In case the reader has forgotten (*eye roll*) Lastly, I read this on my Kindle and there were a ton of typos, so many that it was sometimes hard to read. But that was just the icing on the disappointing cake.