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This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman
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's review
Mar 26, 2012

it was ok

This book did get marginally better, so it might be worth sticking it out, but let's not get too crazy here - marginally, after all.
The premise of this work could have been interesting - should have been - but so sadly wasn't. A fifteen year old goes to a party, messes around with an eighth grader (gross), he tells her she's too young (you think?) which then inspires her to email him a porn movie she films featuring herself. Shocked by this, Jake forwards it to his best friend, and by that evening the movie has gone viral.
This spirals into a court case, suspension, family tension, teachers taking sides blah blah. Here;s the thing, though - so freaking what?
What I mean by this is, Jake is practically nailed to the cross for doing something that has become instinctive - sharing - just as this girl did; if anything her sharing was far worse. Jake was yelled at for this because 'how many times have I told you not to email smething you wouldn't want the world to see' well hellllooo, tell that to the 8th grader!
I guess my point is, this all felt like a way bigger deal than it actually would be. This girl, Daisy, made a stupid choice, and no Jake did not post it on youtube, he bounced it over to his friend in a WTH sort of way, and what hapened after that, well, who can say whose fault that is? I say it's all Daisy's. Now, towards the end of the work some interesting questions are raised such as what is privacy today, does it exist, and how has attitudes toward sexuality changed given how privacy has changed blah blah. And double standards for men and women, that too. But I just felt like this was way overblown, as was the writing - it read very pretentious to me - someone who was so painstakingly trying to write well, and as a result wasn't. Pretty poor overall.
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