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Life in a Fishbowl

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Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.

Gone is her mom's attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister's trust ever since she's been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family's dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.

328 pages, Hardcover

First published January 3, 2017

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About the author

Len Vlahos

5 books164 followers
I dropped out of NYU film school in the mid 80s to play guitar and write songs for Woofing Cookies. We were a punk-pop four piece -- think R.E.M. meets the Ramones -- that toured up and down the East Coast, and had two singles and one full-length LP on Midnight Records.

The band broke up in 1987 and I followed my other passion, books. I've worked in the book industry ever since.

And, of course, I write. And I write, And I write, write, write.

For fun, I still play guitar and piano, and now I play ice hockey, too (though not very well).

I live in Colorado with my super awesome wife Kristen, our two sons, and our very energetic dog.

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5 stars
467 (21%)
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750 (34%)
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615 (28%)
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242 (11%)
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114 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 407 reviews
Profile Image for Lazar Lazarov.
149 reviews15 followers
March 29, 2017
After reading all the negative reviews this book has here in Goodreads i wasn't sure if i want to buy it or not.The story seemed interesting to me and i decided to give it a try despite all the hate.The beautiful bulgarian cover helped a lot in making that decision (even though at first i was a little angry that they changed the original cover with the house inside a fishbow).I expected someting boring and lame but it was the complete opposite.The story grabbed my attention from the first page and i literally couldn't stop reading.I love how every character got their point of view which helped a lot for understanding the story completly.I agree that the tumor's POV was weird but i enjoyed it too.For a YA book it deals with a lot of heavy topics such as illness,death,the way media manipulates it's viewers,how the hunger for money and fame can make people act like animals and how it corrupts them,how even the people known to others as "the outsiders" can change someone's life for good.The story is really fast-paced and there aren't any boring parts of it at all.I'm really satisfied with how it ended,i loved the Epilogue and I'm really glad that i read this book.I think it deserves to be way more popular than it is now!
Profile Image for K..
3,685 reviews1,007 followers
April 18, 2018
Trigger warnings: parent dying of cancer, bullying, mentions of grown ass men having sex with teenage girls, mentions of grown ass men watching 13 and 15 year old girls shower, .

1.5 stars.

Okay, let's start with the most important thing about this book. There's a dog in the story. If you want to know what happens to the dog, click here:

Right. Now that that's over, let's talk about this fucking trashfire of a book, shall we? I picked this up because it's one of our most popular titles and I feel like I should read all of our popular titles to have some kind of idea of what The Youth like to read. And with this one, I just..........yeah, I just don't get it.

So here's the deal. This book is about a father who finds out he's dying of a brain tumour, and he realises he doesn't have decent savings or life insurance. So he decides he's going to auction his life off on eBay. And as a result, his whole family are forced into a reality TV show about his last few months/weeks/days of life.

Which is, I suppose, kind of an interesting concept. But this book is told from the perspective of the father, of the teenage daughter, of the reality show producer, of a nun, of a teenage girl half way across the country who has serious thoughts about the eBay thing, of a billionaire, of the teenage daughter's Russian penpal, and OF THE TUMOUR.

Yup. The tumour has been anthropomorphised and we have to read about its "life" as it destroys this guy's brain.

And it's meant to be farcically funny.

It *was* a farce. It was not funny.

Bonus half star for including a teenage girl who fights back against reality TV bullshit that she's been forced into by filming her own version on her phone, and for the community that springs up to support her. But mostly? This was a trashfire from start to finish.

(It kind of reminded me at times of Going Bovine by Libba Bray, which I also hated. So. Maybe I just hate farcical books about characters with terminal illnesses?)
Profile Image for Kelly Hager.
3,101 reviews130 followers
December 17, 2016
Jared Stone has a brain tumor, a glioblastima multiforme. It will kill him (in four months or less) and leave his wife and two daughters destitute. The Breaking Bad option is out and so he does the next best thing: he agrees to participate in a reality show. The world will get to watch him die (and his family deal with this) and in exchange, they get $5 million. This may seem pretty callous, but (as he points out) he's going to die anyway.

This is a brilliant and fascinating idea but it works so well because we get to know and love the characters. Without them, this story would absolutely fall apart.

It's not an easy story to read, but it's worth it. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Odette Brethouwer.
1,396 reviews234 followers
December 13, 2016
I received an ARC from the Dutch translation of this book, (thanks Karakter Uitgevers!) hence the Dutch review. For English, see below.

Wat is dit een prachtboek. Een van de bijzonderste boeken die ik dit jaar heb gelezen.

Jared heeft een hersentumor. Ik vind dat deze tumor heel bijzonder omschreven is. Het is heel uniek, zo heb ik nog nooit gelezen over kanker. Deze manier van vertellen erover zorgt ervoor dat ik me beter voor kan stellen wat voor effect dat een hersentumor op je zijn kan hebben en dat vind ik heel erg knap gedaan.

Ook vind het ik het mooi hoe het euthanasievraagstuk in het boek is verwerkt zonder dat het zwaar wordt, ook al is het een heftig onderwerp. Dat is sowieso iets wat ik erg knap vind aan het boek, de schrijfstijl. Natuurlijk is het onderwerp zwaar want Jared heeft kanker en je leest vanuit hem en zijn dochter, en toch leest het boek erg vlot weg. De schrijfstijl en de goede vertaling spelen daar een grote en belangrijke rol in.

Ook vind het ook heel mooi en knap hoe de realiteit van reality-tv in beeld wordt gebracht. Je krijgt heel mooi mee welke invloed dat heeft op de mensen die gefilmd worden, en wat je met montage allemaal kan doen.

Op twee hele verschillende gebieden geeft dit boek je een kijkje achter de schermen zoals ik nooit dacht een kijkje te kunnen krijgen. Het laat je anders tegen deze zaken aankijken en daardoor is dit een boek waar ik nog vaak aan terug zal denken.


What a beautiful book! it is one of the most unique books I've read this year.

Jared has a brain tumor. This tumor is described in a beautiful and unique way, I've never read like this about cancer. This writing makes me more capable of understanding what it does to a person when he of she has a brain tumor. That is very well done.

The euthanasia issue is written very respectfully in this book. You do get involved in the points of view, but it not written in a overly serious or heavily manner, just like how you would talk about that in the family if someone is in such a situation. Very well done as well.

There is the part of the reality tv in this book as well. I think it is very nicely done how you get a peek at how this stuff works in real life, that it is not so reality, that a lot of cutting and editing is involved.

Two completely different topics, cancer and reality tv, but this book has shown me another way to look at both of these subjects, which is really special and unique. I will recall this book very often because it really has changed my view on the world a bit, so the 5* are easily deserved!

Profile Image for joey (thoughts and afterthoughts).
139 reviews142 followers
October 21, 2016
Life in a Fishbowl is what I would imagine satire in YA to be: relevant, straight-shooting, and reasonably cathartic. With so many of us being obsessively Team Internet without knowing it, Life chooses to spotlight trashy reality television (e.g. Big Brother) without shitting on the actual format that has surely brought viewers hours of joy -- because people watching is always interesting.

It's a story told through a handful of perspectives (weaving in-and-out with just an "* *" asterisk break), but what's most impressive is following the oddest of perspectives follow the journey of this family. A nun? Conglomerates? A psychopath? A [World of Warcraft] gamer girl? (Among others.) And if all else fails, at least you have the POV of the Glioblastoma Multiforme cancer who literally gives zero fucks other than to just eat the dreams of its host. Om nom nom? Sounds about right.

Though I get a sense of why this might be put under the umbrella of humour, it was neither "haha" or "LOL" funny to me. But that's probably just on me. Besides, contemporary without romance is just fine and dandy for me.

-- Full review to come.
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,077 reviews13.3k followers
January 7, 2017
When I saw this book at ALA, I didn't really think much of it. But when I read the synopsis, I thought this book sounded so cool. As a reality TV junky, I could not wait to see how this girl went through a reality show documenting her dad dying from cancer.

Jackie Stone's life is turned upside down the moment she learns her father has cancer. To try to save the family, her father auctions his life off to the highest bidder and their family finds themselves the center of a new reality show following her dad's descent to death. The TV producers are ruthless and Jackie starts to feel like a prisoner in her own home. Jackie hates her life now, but the thing she fears the most is losing her dad once and for all.

Like I said, the premise of this book sounded so good. From the start, though, I found it hard to get into and I really did not enjoy this book. First off, Jackie isn't even the main character. This story follows around many characters, including the tumor in her father's brain, which I found weird. I couldn't connect with any of the characters and I got bored a lot. The family didn't even become a part of the reality show until about 100 pages in. So to me, the summary was misleading and I didn't get exactly the story I was expecting to read.

Not only could I not connect to the characters, but I also did not enjoy all of the language in this book. As a YA book, I was surprised by how many F words were thrown in for, what I felt, no reason at all. Also, this book deals heavily with euthanasia, which is not mentioned at all in the synopsis. I just didn't get what I wanted out of this book and found myself skimming the end just to finish.

While this book held a lot of potential, I did not enjoy it at all. I tried to like the characters, but even Jackie was hard to like and I didn't care at all for the characters. If you're interested in this book, just know that you do not get what you're promised in the synopsis.
Profile Image for Morris.
964 reviews164 followers
February 26, 2017
I’ll give it to you upfront: I did not like “Life in a Fishbowl.” I did appreciate the writing and the use of some unique points-of-view.

There were a lot of voices in the book, with many being in the same chapter. It became confusing at points, but the voices were distinct and well-written. I found the parts written about the thoughts of the tumor itself to be unique and engaging. In fact, those were the only sections that genuinely made me feel like I was reading a book about cancer that handled the subject well. The message of how intrusive reality television can be was a good one, but also over-extended the plot. A few less points-of-view in the tv aspect would have made it flow much better.

One of my biggest pet peeves is the use of an animal for emotional blackmail. There is an animal death, and it was part of an unnecessary subplot that crowded the tv aspect that I mentioned up above. I feel like a strong plot can evoke emotion without needing to add in something extra.

The writing is good, but the rest of “Life in a Fishbowl” was disappointing. It had so much potential. I recommend giving this one a pass.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
March 18, 2017
‘’Къща от стъкло’’ е книга, която ще ви накара да се смеете, докато сърцето ви се разбива на парченца. Като цяло, това е едно невероятно четиво, въпреки че напрежението го прави неудобно на места. Все пак, това е основната причина, поради която ‘’Къща от стъкло’’ е невъзможно да се остави. В книгата има бърз темп, който по мое мнение, го прави по-привлекателен и интересен. Определено препоръчвам това четиво, така като е увлекателна и много приятно четиво за всяка аудитория, засягаща много важни теми от човешкия живот.
Profile Image for Aoife.
1,292 reviews549 followers
January 10, 2017
3.5 stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Jared Stone is dying and has found out he only has about four months to live. Worried about his family’s financial future when he’s gone, Stone signs up for a reality TV show where cameras can follow him and his family’s lives until he dies.

This was a really interesting premise and for the most part I think it lived up to what I thought it was going to be. The story combines the heartbreak of a family losing someone they cherish with the almost comical strangeness of having the precious moments trampled over by film crews and fame. The whole thing is very Kardashian but with people who just want to be normal. I think it also highlighted our world’s dangerous and often unethical obsession with reality TV and raises the question of how far is too far? How private is too private? etc.

I thought the author’s decision to personify the tumour was really interesting and for me, it reminded me of cancer patients and survivors naming their tumours to make them seem less scary. I don’t know much about human neurology but I found the path of the tumour and what it did to Jared’s body fascinating.

I didn’t really bond to any of the characters in this book to be honest. A majority of them I found a bit annoying, though I could definitely understand Jackie and her situation. I did think the obsessive, weird nun was a bit much too.

But this was a really fast read, I more or less read it in a day and it definitely made me think about some things in our TV-laden world and what’s important and what’s not. An entertaining book by all means (though not as sad as I thought it would be!)

Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,145 reviews1,009 followers
February 6, 2017
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

This book has so much of everything that I love packed inside. Multifaceted and engaging characters? Check. Morally complicated situations? Check. Family dynamics, humor amidst tragedy, and an eerily plausible situation... yep, they're here too. There are quite a few POVs, but it works. I didn't get super connected to any one character, but I don't think that was the point. Of course, I cared about Jackie's plight most, as the main character, but the side characters were really well fleshed out, each with their own firm beliefs (or in some cases, lack thereof). Like I said, it worked.

When I first read the synopsis I thought "this will either be really awesome... or not so much." Because it is a pretty bold idea, no? Selling the rights to one's life? But the magic of this book lies in the author making you believe the premise- and even understanding why someone would do it. The moral complexity blew my mind, and had me questioning what I would do throughout the book- how I would react in each character's shoes.

The author had me caring about each character, and each issue that arose. The tumor itself was even personified, and it was kind of genius. Because I'll be damned if by the end of the book I didn't care about the tumor, too. Life in a Fishbowl explores so many important themes, like family, euthanasia, media deception and intrusion, and ultimately, the lengths we will go to to protect our beliefs and our loved ones. Quite thought provoking while being emotive and entertaining, this was a total win for me.

**Copy provided by publisher for review
Profile Image for Zarina.
919 reviews133 followers
December 17, 2016
Life in a Fishbowl lacks the emotional depth needed for the subject matter. The characters are without exception unlikeable and unrealistic as we don’t get beneath the surface of the purpose they serve within the story. And anthropomorphising a terrible disease such as cancer into something that almost sounds cute was seriously off-putting.

There also were some cringe-worthy and disturbing fleeting references (men secretly watching 13 yo girls shower?!), which was not actually dealt with, increasing the questionable morality not of the concept of the novel but of the writing and execution, and entire though process behind it.

The idea of a terminal ill person selling their life as a reality show to set up their family for life is a great kick off point, but the execution was an utter mess.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Clare Snow.
960 reviews98 followers
February 25, 2018
So that was weird.
"There was only one way the American Television Network was leaving the Stone house, and that was over his dead body."

I was confused by a lot in Life in a Fishbowl but I couldn't stop laughing, so that's a yes from me. Read it and weep (tears of laughter).
"Ethan also knew that denying Jared medical care would be tantamount to murder, and while that would make for good television, it wouldn't resonate with the sponsors."

So many of my Goodreads friends gave it 1 star or DNF. I understand why. It's promo-ed as YA, but it isn't and the meandering start is kind of excruciating. Most of the POVs could be cut and Glio is the worst thing ever written, although a story written only from his point of view would be clever.

I think Vlahos read Nutshell by Ian McEwan, aspires to Chuck Palahniuk and came up with his satirical paean to euthanasia and our obsession with celebrity. The humour is so very wrong and so very funny. After 100 pages when I wondered whether I should give up (my fav thing to do with a book) the dark comedy kept me going. If he skipped the set-up and went straight into Life and Death I might have skipped the vacillation. And that fucking nun - or
"using a World of Warcraft spell to immobilize the nun in creeping vines, and a second spell to blow her head clean off her body."

The whole euthanasia debate could have been compelling, but there was so much wrong with the details. No one would come away from this book thinking they now agreed with euthanasia.

How did Jared not write a will? If he had time to sign up for a reality tv show, he had time to write a will, particularly as he was considering euthanasia. Euthanasia is a decision made before a patient becomes comatose, while he/she is still lucid and of sound mind. And it is the sole decision of the patient - if others coerce the patient, it stops being euthanasia. You could ask your loved ones to turn off life support, or Do Not Resuscitate, but neither of these are euthanasia. People who are against euthanasia might also be against both of the former, but that doesn't make them the same. When

And when the Stone family start to regret turning their life into a circus. So hard when your parents sign your family up to be watched 24hrs a day and now Ethan Overbee and his minions are watching Jackie & her family 24hrs a day. Seriously, what did they think was going to happen? Ok, so it was Jared who signed them up, without consulting his family.

As an allegory for the current US political situation, it's well done. A Wall, marauding murderers, religion tangled with the State, excess stupidity sponsored by Maccas. The land of the free certainly got what they signed up for. And is Vlahos saying: all the US needs is a camera? Don't worry guys, we see your footage and it's hilarious.

Just wait a couple more years and you can vote in the next clown.

This is from my blog https://ofceilingwax.wordpress.com/20...
Profile Image for Carole.
860 reviews10 followers
March 15, 2017
When Jackie's father discovers that he's dying of a brain tumor, he decides he needs to find a way to provide for his family. In his muddled state, he decides it would be a good idea to auction his life to the highest bidder, which turns out to be a tv station who want to run a reality show about his final days. The intrusion of cameras and crew is immense, but Jackie finds a way to show the true story of what is happening to the world, with a bit of help from some online friends. This is a truly bittersweet coming of age story, with lots of humour. I particularly liked the way the brain tumor is developed as a character in it's own right! And it wasn't as sad as I expected - the focus is on Jackie outwitting the tv people and not so much on her father's decline. It's also a great look at how media in general can manipulate what we see/read. Highly recommended for high school students and adults.
February 26, 2017
Всъщност това беше много странно четиво! Когато избрах книгата, беше опит да изляза от комфортната си зона. Гняв, тъга, радост и напрягане в смисъла на очакването как ще се развие историята!
Давам четири звезди заради уроците, които дава! Историята е за човешките ценности и осмива поквареността на тези, които са готови на всичко за власт, слава и пари, излагайки на показ всичко това! И в същото време показва, че ролята на аутсайдерите в живота е огромна и че всеки има място в т��зи свят, дори по-значително, отколкото е смятал! Сблъскваш се с толкова много образи, че е неизбежно да преживееш адски много емоции!
Не мога да простя на автора две неща! Едно убийство и лековатия начин, с който описваше случките! Усещах бездушие или по-скоро примиреност към съдбата на героите и това не ни се понрави, защото аз не можех да се примиря! До края! Когато изпитах невероятно удовлетворение от финала и по-скоро края на една агония за много хора!
Profile Image for LouLou.
203 reviews5 followers
January 5, 2017
Please read reaview in its entirety at http://www.compassbookratings.com/rev...
Promoted as a tragicomedy, Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos is heavy on the tragic, and unfortunately for this reviewer, missed the funny bone on the comedy.

What is even more disappointing, and why I feel so let down with this particular novel, is that the promotional jacket is so appealing – a teenage girl, Jackie, is not only dealing with the fact that her dad has a terminal brain tumor, but that her family's adversity is being broadcast to millions of people in an outlandish way, all in the name of entertainment and money.

And it started out good. Narrated in third person format, which I first thought as odd, since it is promoted as being Jackie's story, but it still worked, and then not too far along, it started to become Jared's (Jackie's Dad) story, which was still OK. Then Jackie's Dad's tumor starts sharing its view point – different, cool, and a creative step for the author to pull, but still OK. Three character's viewpoint, is not so bad, but then 3 became 4,5, 6, 7, and I think I lost count, but there were about 8 different characters angling for camera time, or in this case, page time: a nun, a gamer, a TV executive, a billionaire playboy, a Facebook friend from Russia, a sister, a tumor, an ailing dad, and last but not least, Jackie. Unfortunately, the adults get to tout most of the story, which is sadder still because two of them happen to be sadistic males with sociopathic penchants. It's not until three-quarters of the way through the novel that the teens start to make a more apparent appearance and reclaim some of the storyline, but by that time I had a headache, and it wasn't enough to rally. I, like the father in the story just wanted it to be done with.

The characters, though well-developed, were just too much. There were too many adults, and their backstories got in the way, rather than adding to the intrigue of the story. If the novel stayed true to how it was being advertised, I think it would have been a great story and a much better YA format for the development of the subjects, such as a family's stance on euthanasia, the lows of the entertainment industry, and how American culture viewership is more of a voyeur-ship.

A provocative tale for the young adult audience, and I heavily emphasize the word adult. In contrast, if you're looking for something bitter sweet that celebrates the bond of family during tragedy, I highly recommend Falling Over Sideways, by Jordan Sonnenblick.

Review of an Advance Reader Copy

Profile Image for Grace (The Reading Raindoe).
95 reviews1 follower
December 19, 2016
I was intrigued enough by the synopsis to request a copy of this book. As someone essentially born at the same time as the reality television movement, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were already very close to seeing this seemingly outlandish premise play out in the real world. Due to that, I was curious to read this book and see how it worked out in this fictional world.

Impressively enough, this book somehow already seemed a bit dated despite not releasing until January 2017. There’s talk of Mean Girls posters, chat rooms, and Jericho being canceled the year before. So it seems this book is set in 2009 without ever really mentioning it, which honestly just seems a bit confusing. This book also isn’t set on one particular character. It has about eight different main focuses and an omniscient narrator. The main characters include a nun, a man with cancer, the man’s tumor, and various other fun characters.

So in addition to a confusing and quickly rotating crowd of characters, the premise of the book that sold me does not even come into play until almost a third of the way through the book. I felt incredibly misled. The blurb makes it sounds like the book is led by Jackie. It’s not. Again, an incredible amount of points of view. She is definitely not the lead.

This book was convoluted and a little pretentious. A dog was brutally murdered. The kids in the story seemed so out of touch with pop culture and they were made out to be so dense and self-centered. It was just not great. I felt it touched on some good points, though. I think the issue of euthanasia is an important one and the effect of reality tv is something that should be discussed more. It’s also unusual to read a book about someone with cancer and then to have that tumor be one of the main points of view, so it’s certainly unique in that aspect. Overall, if you want to read something different and you like a lot of different viewpoints, maybe pick this up, but it certainly wasn’t for me.

I was provided a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Originally posted on The Reading Raindoe
Profile Image for Mandy Radley.
486 reviews23 followers
April 10, 2017
"Human Life For Sale" forty five year old man with four months to live is selling his life to the highest bidder. You may do with him as you please - slavery, murder, torture, or just pleasant conversation. A human life, yours to control, yours to own. Buyers must live in the state or country with a law allowing assisted suicides, and the buyer bears the cost of transportation and tax. There is a reserve for this auction."

Jared Stone has just been diagnosed with a brain tumour and realises there won't be enough money for his family once he's dead so he sells his life to the highest bidder. All of a sudden psychotic billionaires, nuns, computer geeks, TV moguls come out of the wood work and want a piece of Jared and his family's life. After Jared signs a deal with a TV station for $5 million, for a reality TV series their lives spiral out of control.

Funny, sad, you will never look at a reality tv programme in he same light again. This book really surprised me, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Irene.
749 reviews
September 26, 2017
Een bijzonder boek.
Jared Stone heeft een hersentumor, heeft niet lang meer te leven en besluit zijn leven te veilen op eBay. De hersentumor is niet eens echt het speciale aan dit boek, want boeken met dit onderwerp zijn er meer. Het bijzondere aan dit boek is de schrijfstijl en hoe alles samenkomt in dit boek, de zinnen die een beladen onderwerp luchtiger kunnen maken en ook begrijpelijker. Het euthanasievraagstuk vind ik hierin mooi verwerkt, het wordt wel genoemd, maar toch komt het niet te erg naar voren. De manier waarop het geschreven is, is soms zelfs nog grappig te noemen, iets wat ik niet had kunnen denken voordat ik dit boek begon.

Wanneer de zeer egoïstische Ethan Overbee het leven van Jared koopt, wordt het huis eerder een filmset dan een gezellig huis waarin iemand erg ziek is. Dat is iets wat mij aan het denken zette, want hoever ga je om een tv-serie te maken? Dit gezin had totaal geen privacy meer, alles werd vastgezet op camera en de helft daarvan werd geshowd aan de rest van de wereld. Daarnaast wordt er ook een goed beeld geschept over tv-montage, want zo zie je maar weer hoe je met 'knippen en plakken' van opnames de wereld kunt manipuleren.

Je leest het boek vanuit een aantal betrokkenen, maar de wisselingen hiervan zijn niet storend. Zo lees je onder andere vanuit Jackie, oudste dochter van Jared. Jackie vind ik een dapper meisje, want hoezeer ze ook onder druk staat en tegengewerkt wordt, ze geeft niet op en laat zien dat het niet normaal is hoe het er thuis aan toe gaat bij haar. Daarnaast is de band met haar zus Megan en moeder Deirdre ook bijzonder, met name de ontwikkeling die zij doormaken.
Ik heb nog nooit een boek gelezen waar de tumor zelf een van de 'personages' is. Op deze manier kon ik mij 'inleven' in hoe de ziekte te werk ging en wat voor effect dat heeft op iemand die ziek is. De tumor wordt niet tumor genoemd, maar Glio (naar Glioblastoom), het werd iets persoonlijker..
Ook de overige personages zijn in het boek zeer goed neergezet. Ik leefde juist mee met het gezin en kreeg een hekel aan Ethan Overbee.

Een aan te raden verhaal over trouw zijn, geloof, macht, opkomen voor een ander/jezelf, verlies en de dood.
Profile Image for Simone Hagemann.
765 reviews110 followers
June 6, 2017
Rating: 3,5.

"Akvarium" var en god bog - ingen tvivl om det. Den var ret underholdende, men fik mig samtidig også til at tænke. Den tager nemlig nogle rigtig gode emner op, og arbejder ret godt med dem, således at jeg følte, de blev gennemgået på en ordentlig måde. Når det er sagt, så var den dog heller ikke så meget mere end det. Hvilket er helt fint. Man kan jo ikke altid læse helt fantastiske bøger.

Det er ikke en bog, der har sat sig fast i mig, og jeg kommer nok til at glemme den ret hurtigt. Men det var en skøn læseoplevelse så længe det varede. Desuden kan jeg helt klart anbefale den, hvis man gerne vil læse noget, der både er let, men samtidig også har en del dybde i sig.
Profile Image for Книжни Криле.
2,891 reviews158 followers
April 6, 2017
За петнадесетгодишната Джаки Стоун животът е затвор. Всичко, което каже или направи, се излъчва в реално време по националната телевизия. Защо? Защото баща й умира от рак на мозъка и е продал на търг в еBay последните дни от живота си. Спечелилият – безскрупулна телевизионна риалити програма. Прочетете ревюто на "Книжни Криле":

Profile Image for readwithsyll.
141 reviews
October 14, 2021
3.75 stars.

It has an interesting plotline. A man tried to sell his life on eBay after he found out he has brain tumor? Sign me in.

From the beginning, it’s already so engaging and fast-paced. It’s really easy to read so perfect for beginner. It shows how sad is TV shows production portray the life of this family. They are trapped in this industry and being forced to be the content for TV shows. Not mentioning the evil editing by them to increase the audience.

How could they escape from this situation? After they have signed contract and forcedfully have to do this when there are so many lies on them.
Profile Image for Jillian.
13 reviews
October 28, 2022
Ok to start off… WHAT? Why would you choose to give a brain tumour pronouns and a name! But omg I love this book! ❤️ like seriously read it now. I would 100% recommend this. The ending was amazing! You know what’s coming and yet it’s still a shocker. 😁
Profile Image for Aimal (The Devils We Find).
509 reviews461 followers
February 11, 2017
When Jared Stone is diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme cancer and given a few months to live, he finds himself in a predicament. He’s not scared that he’s going to die, but he’s scared that he’ll leave behind a wife and two daughters with very little financial security. When he comes up with the ingenious plan to auction his life on eBay, giving people who bid at least $100,000 the opportunity to do whatever the hell they want with him, people start paying attention to him. From a nun who thinks Jared Stone is doing the devil’s work by bidding away the precious sanctity of life, to a wealthy psychopath who conjures up a plan to do horrible things to him, to a reality TV producer who would do anything to make Jared Stone’s family the stars of a new show. When the producer manages to get in touch with Jared, the Stones’ meager few months with Jared are infiltrated by camera crew, script-writers and the entire world.

Let me just start off by saying that the synopsis for this book is perhaps one of the most misleading synopses I have ever read. It gives the impression that Jackie Stone is the main character of the book when arguably, the story revolves around Jared. Even then, you could put forth the argument that there is no one main character- the Stone family is the star of the story, not just the father or the oldest daughter. Moreover, the synopsis seems to think that the reality TV aspect of the book is the main plot-line; again, I would disagree. The TV show doesn’t even start filming until after the 30 or 40% mark. It’s not a book about the show itself, but a book about one man’s last months with his family spent in the most unconventional of surroundings. It’s extremely important to go into this book knowing that the synopsis is misleading, because otherwise, you’ll face disappointment.

But if you go into it knowing what you’re getting, it’s really something. Life in a Fishbowl reads a lot like satire: it pokes fun at religion and religious hypocrisy, at the wealthy and the privileged, at the secret lives of the people who make reality TV. It’s an analysis of the world’s strange obsession with others’ lives, both appealing to our voyeuristic tendencies as we are thrust into a family’s deeply personal, intimate matter, and also showing us exactly how troubling this intrusion can be to the people who are its subjects. The themes in this novel are spot-on, told with humor and wit, unraveling issues deftly without ever seeming heavy-handed. It’s thought-provoking, but also extremely fun, and that’s all you can ever ask from an intelligently written book.

Life in a Fishbowl is strange in so many ways, both good and bad. Firstly, it’s divided into over eight viewpoints – which would usually bother me, but each character (including the tumor!) is given such a distinct personality, with interests and quirks, that I had fun with the viewpoints. Each turn of each viewpoint is no more than a couple of pages, so the book remained fast, fresh and entertaining throughout. That was the good strange. The bad strange was how a few characters arcs didn’t feel wholly necessary to the plot. The psychopath’s viewpoint was interesting, okay, but I’m unsure what it did for the story. And while the characters did feel fleshed out, my main issue was how they didn’t really develop. They largely remained static throughout the story, and despite there being a ton of room for development, it didn’t come.

After the 60% mark, I felt the book began to drag. I was still interested enough to keep reading, but the main thing that caught my attention was put in the backseat. The complicated family dynamic, Jared’s flashbacks to meeting his wife and having kids – all of that was put to the back to emphasize the TV show. Which is fine, but I’d have preferred more of a balance. And while Len Vlahos’s writing never loses its snarky, humorous, satirical, intelligent flair, the first half was undoubtedly superior to the second half. But even though my rating isn’t “all that,” Vlahos will be on my radar for a very long time, because I’m sure that anything else he writes will be just as sharp and delightful.

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Profile Image for Charlotte Butcher.
70 reviews2 followers
January 15, 2022
This was totally so different from what I expected and normally read. It was surprisingly so good. It like idk how to explain it but the plot was so good😭 The whole story itself was sad and like really messed up at some parts but it was really good!!!
Profile Image for Reg.
234 reviews31 followers
February 10, 2017
2016 was the year I discovered reality television. The years before, I would catch some episodes of My Kitchen Rules, MasterChef, and The Bachelor/ette but never really stayed, having barely any attachment to the characters. Last year, though, I started watching these things from the very start and very quickly got sucked in. I rooted for my favourite contestants and ‘boo’-ed those I didn’t like. I sat glued to the TV, scrolling through the relevant Twitter hashtag. I was, put simply, obsessed — which was why Life in a Fishbowl should have been right up my alley.

Keyword, unfortunately, being should have. The blurb for Life in a Fishbowl might allude to the story of a teenage girl, Jackie, whose father’s last days are broadcasted all over the nation, but it’s actually quite different. Instead, the focus is less on Jackie and more about everyone, or should I say everything, involved in this TV show: the executive producer, the fans, the anti-fans… and even the tumour in Jackie’s father’s head.

Glio — the name by which the high-grade glioblastoma tumor now thought of itself — didn’t know what was happening, but it was lighting up Jared’s brain like a football stadium at night. Glio really, really, really liked it. He stopped to watch.

This book is told in multiple third-person perspectives: Jackie’s, her family members’, her father’s supporters, her father’s non-supporters, etc. The tumour (Glio, as quoted above) is anthropomorphised here and often makes (morbid, somewhat animalistic) commentary. I actually kind of enjoyed that we get to hear from so many, er, living things, but I think it comes at an expense: the focus is so fractured that I didn’t find myself liking or sympathising with any of the characters.

The thing that didn’t work the most for me, however, was the voice. Vlahos’s writing style comes across as cold, clinical and matter-of-fact, and oftentimes I felt very… detached from the plot and the characters. It was like reading a very dry report — as sad as the situation was supposed to be, I was just unemotional.

This isn’t real life. Nothing on TV is real life. It is fiction. The only part of this that’s true is that my dad is dying, and that he is — that we are — being robbed of our privacy and dignity.

I think I was expecting something more grounded (as grounded as the premise could be, at least), more… ah, realistic? Perhaps more about death and cancer rather than, er, society. Yet the book veers more towards satire territory, kind of a social commentary on how ‘reality’ can be constructed and how that impacts the people behind that screen. I didn’t mind that, but it’s safe to say that it’s not exactly the book I thought I would be reading.

I can actually see people going either way with Life in a Fishbowlthe premise is unique, the storytelling is creative — but personally it left me feeling cold and ultimately unsatisfied, and I’m just not sure if I gained anything from reading it. I wasn’t entertained enough to call it fluff, and I wasn’t ‘enriched’ enough to call it educational. Not that a book has to have a ‘point’, though, so that’s on me.

* I received an ARC of LIFE IN A FISHBOWL from Bloomsbury Children in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Tamara Geraeds.
Author 57 books88 followers
December 18, 2016
Karakter uitgevers heeft weer een bijzonder verhaal gevonden in Huis van Glas. Een verhaal waar veel in zit. Talloze emoties, karakters, manipulatie, de strijd om macht, de ontwikkeling van jonge mensen en de invloed van anderen hierop, saamhorigheid en natuurlijk de dood.

Huis van Glas laat zien hoe de terminale ziekte van één man niet alleen het leven van hemzelf en zijn gezin beïnvloedt, maar de levens van vele anderen. Het laat zien dat ziekte en het vooruitzicht van de dood ervoor kunnen zorgen dat een mens beslissingen neemt die anders nooit bij hem zouden opkomen. Maar bovenal laat het zien hoe de beslissingen van één persoon zo veel anderen kunnen beïnvloeden. Het laat zien dat we allemaal verbonden zijn met elkaar, hoe verschillend of ver uit elkaar we ook zijn. Het laat zien dat een bijzondere beslissing van één persoon kan leiden tot bijzondere beslissingen van andere mensen. En natuurlijk laat het zien hoe moeilijk het is om om te gaan met een stervende dierbare.

Het bijzonderste aan dit verhaal is het meekijken met de activiteiten van de tumor in het hoofd van de hoofdpersoon. Dit perspectief is het origineelste dat ik ooit heb gezien. De auteur had kunnen kiezen voor een verteller om te laten zien wat er in Jareds hoofd gebeurde, maar dat zou klinisch en emotieloos zijn geworden. Door de tumor een stem en gevoelens te geven trekt hij niet alleen de aandacht van de lezer, maar zorgt hij ook voor emotie tijdens het lezen van wat de tumor doet en aanricht.

Wat ik onlogisch vond - hoewel pas achteraf - was het ontbreken van vrienden en familieleden buiten het gezin om. Als je stervende bent, zullen er vrienden en familieleden langskomen en bellen. Dat deze er niet waren komt ongeloofwaardig over. Maar zoals gezegd viel me dat pas achteraf op, dus echt erg vind ik het niet.

Iets anders wat voor mij niet klopt, is dat dit een young adult boek wordt genoemd. Slechts twee van de hoofdpersonages (perspectieven) zijn jongeren, en ook de toon van het verhaal duidt niet op een young adult verhaal.

Conclusie: een bijzonder boek, waarin veel meer zit dan alleen een triest verhaal over een man die vecht tegen een ziekte. Het is zeker geen jankboek. Het verhaal zit goed in elkaar, heeft hier en daar wat verrassende wendingen en verveelt zelden dankzij de constante wisseling van perspectief tussen alle betrokkenen. De karakters zijn stuk voor stuk geloofwaardig en zo verschillend dat ze allemaal boeien.

Wie houdt van originele verhalen over trouw, verlies, macht, geloof en het opkomen voor een ander, en het leuk vindt om ook nog wat te leren over hoe de hersenen werken, zal dit boek zeker met plezier lezen.

Vier sterren.
Dank aan Karakter Uitgevers voor het recensie exemplaar.
Profile Image for Dawnie.
1,245 reviews128 followers
February 19, 2017
I am not normally one to say overly negative things about books (at least i think i am not!) and i don't want to come across as mean or as if i am personally attacking the author -because i am not. BUT i am not happy with this book and how the topic of a serious illness was handled in this book. So i am sharing that option. If you can't handle that? Read a different review!

This book was horrible!

If you ever lost anyone at all to any kind of illness?
STAY FAR - FAR, FAR, FAR- AWAY from this book!

I sadly can not even think of one positive thing to say about it.

I guess it was supposed to be funny - but really?

The writing tries way to hard to be funny in a way that makes it not only hard to read and follow the plot (Which we get to in a second!) but also just to see what is supposed to be funny about this entire book.

Giving a deadly tumor personally in this way?
Making everything - EVERYTHING!- a stupid joke.
Letting a dad - A FATHER!- be more or less completely careless of his death and how it might affect the people around him, for example his wife or daughters!
How the story constantly - CONSTANTLY!- switches between POVs in a way that kind of makes you dizzy and completely unsure about what the heck is going on in this book.

And on top of all of that basically making the entirety of having a Tumor something that you can joke endlessly about and who cares if you die because of it or lose all important memories, right? Its all a huge joke.

So no. No thank you.

I wanted a book that gives a bit of a lighter spin on a serious topic.
Not one that completely and utterly drags the topic of serious illnesses through the mud in the most horrendous ways.

I am not recommend this book.
I am actually going as far and saying, please just spare yourselves. Don't read it.
Profile Image for Gabriela Kozhuharova.
Author 25 books117 followers
July 14, 2017
Живот за продан в „Къща от стъкло“: http://azcheta.com/kashta-ot-staklo-l...

Въпреки изключително интригуващия замисъл, важните теми за липсата на морал в развлекателната индустрия и реалните случаи, върху които почива сюжетът, „Къща от стъкло“ по-скоро не ми хареса. Почнах я с голям интерес и по инерция изгълтах половината за отрицателно време, тъй като тече сравнително леко, но петдесетина страници преди края съзнателно я ��ставих настрана за неопределен период, защото героите откровено ми дотегнаха и имах нужда за малко да се отделя от тях.

Обичам книги, от които можеш да усетиш привързаността и грижата, които писателят е вложил в изграждането на персонажите си. Тук не долових подобна нежност. До самия край не успях да намеря нито един герой, на когото да симпатизирам или заедно с когото да страдам. Повечето даже ми бяха неприятни. Множеството второстепенни образи пък са чиста проба досадни карикатури, а някои гледни точки (начело с една фанатична монахиня) ми се сториха направо излишни.

Лично за мен основният проблем е, че романът е написан някак студено и саркастично, едва ли не със снизхождение. Не успях да го възприема като представител на YA, въпреки че формално се води такъв. Каквото и да е мнението ви за юношеския тренд, янг адълт творбите печелят сърцата на читателите с предаването на тежки и драматични ситуации по въздействащ, затрогващ начин. Може би тъкмо това ми липсваше тук – искрената, неподправена емоция.
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