Eva Leger's Reviews > This Beautiful Life

This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman
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's review
Feb 07, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: first-reads, b-fiction
Recommended for: I wouldn't
Read from February 15 to 17, 2012

I was excited when I saw the notification that I'd won this from FirstReads. I've had an insane amount of luck when it comes to my wins (even really liking a self-help book!) Besides that I really liked the cover and the description was quite interesting. That's why I'm still wondering how it could have been so boring.
I don't know the author, Helen Schulman, at all so this could be her first book or her fourteenth. It seems more like a first to me. Schulman is obviously talented. I'm not a writer and I've never had any desire to become one but I know enough to know writing an engaging story is much harder than most people think. So Schulman definitely is talented but IMO she needs work. Needs it.
Instead of working on and detailing the characters to get me invested in them Schulman detailed (and I do mean detailed) things that mattered not at all. I'm still trying to figure that out.
By the end I didn't care an iota about any of them. Liz was boring as hell to me, her husband non-existent even though he did have decent sized parts in the story and Jake I can already barely remember. But I do know what the street the lived on looked like and i know the layout of the lobby of the hotel Liz took her daughter to... intricately.
There were a few other parts that bothered me but before I expand I want to state, for the record, that I'm pretty damn far from a prude. I use foul language to the point that I have to be conscious of it if there are children, elderly people, strangers, etc. around. So it wasn't that I was offended by these parts because of their content. It was that they didn't belong. Not even a little bit.
There were a lot of sexual references and every single one felt thrown in for a specific - unknown to me - reason. And the reason never seemed to be to add to the story.
There was a part where one teenage boy called Jake a 'faggot' and this didn't bother me because it felt like Schulman was trying to demonstrate something. The boys ingot acne, intolerance, his need to be the 'tough guy', etc. But the sexual parts, no matter whether they were big or small, we're so lopsided and wrong it through the entire book so far of course.
In the end I couldn't wait for it to be over. I just wanted to turn the last page and be totally, 100% finished with it.
I guess my streak had to end sometime. Hopefully this'll be the nice, fresh start to winning again. :-)
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Reading Progress

02/16/2012 page 23
9.0% "Started this morning and after The Class Project this is a breath of fresh air. There are even - get this - different sentences for the readers enjoyment!"

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Betsy (new)

Betsy I just started this; I won it in a Goodreads giveaway. You didn't like it, huh?

message 2: by Eva (last edited Feb 20, 2012 04:32PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva Leger I won it too. No, I didn't and I'm very curious as to whether you do. I'm going to review it soon but it felt like she tried to hard. The curses, the kid masterbating, etc. it didn't feel "right". It felt thrown in. And her writing is far too detailed for me. I don't mind that sometimes but I'd rather more detail on the characters and less on the marble statue in the hotel lobby....
I hope you like it. The cover I loved and the description I loved - I thought I'd really like it. :-(

message 3: by Jenee (new) - added it

Jenee Rager Wow. I had tried to win that one myself. Guess I should consider myself lucky. You seem to have very similar tastes as me so I'll mark that one off my to-read list.

message 4: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva Leger I'm still annoyed I didn't like this. I love the cover! I wanted to like it so much.
I think it's extremely boring. If you want it Jenee, let me know, I can send it to you? Then you won't waste any money trying to decide if you like it? Just say the word!

message 5: by Jenee (new) - added it

Jenee Rager That would be awesome Eva!

message 6: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva Leger Cool, message me the address where you want it sent. It may take me a few days to get it out but I promise I will! :)

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