Randi Reisfeld's Reviews > This Beautiful Life

This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman
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's review
Sep 01, 2011

it was ok
Read in August, 2011

The cover of the NY Times Book Review? Really? Really? Okay, this'll teach me to run out and buy a book based on that kind of coverage. The review was longer than the book. Tho t'aint the length I quibble with, more the "huh? Nothing much happened" factor that irks me. The premise was intriguing and oh-so timely: upper east side (or was it west?) NYC, a family recently transplanted from Ithaca, upstate NY. Teenage boy receives a sex-video from a younger girl with a serious crush on him. Entire family is ripped apart. Brilliant money-making dad, an exec at fictional university (obviously Columbia) loses his job. Adorable adopted Chinese sister, 5 years old, somehow "sees" the video (come on!!) and reenacts it for a few kindergarten chums. The mom...she's our protag..is a really whiny "I don't fit in" type who's never had to make a living ... is shunned by the other "yummy mummies" of upper east (or west?) side. Sorry, this book, while really really well-written (you feel like the author re-worked every sentence to ultimate perfection), was not at all believable and really, could anyone empathize with this family? I will say that the teen boy around whom the plot turns was well done. But nothing happened. And the FRONT page of the NY Times? Sure I'm a bit (okay a lot) jealous, but hello? Nothing happened. Maybe it's me, but I like to be told a story.
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04/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Nicole I agree completely. I kept waiting for something, anything, to happen. after the first few pages, it was about 200 pages of people with whom I felt no connection and certainly no empathy.

Randi Reisfeld Whew! So glad I wasn't the only one...

Tiffany I couldn't have said this better myself!

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