Hillary's Reviews > This Beautiful Life

This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman
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's review
Aug 07, 2011

liked it
Read in September, 2011

This Beautiful Life is definitely a quick, affecting read that sheds insightful light on our interconnected, not-so-private lives. Interestingly, that insightfulness is both a blessing and a curse, as I came away feeling like I had just read a morality tale rather than a novel with a well-developed plot or characters. In many ways, the characters of This Beautiful Life merely exist to serve its premise, in which 15-year-old Jack Bergamot unmasks the delicate fault lines of his family's dynamic when he thoughtlessly forwards an explicit video made for him by Daisy, a younger classmate. As the video goes viral, the fallout reveals hard truths about the Bergamot's family life, particularly the relationship between Jack's parents, and yet even these developments seem to take a back seat to or simply advance Schulman's observations about the blurred lines between public and private life. In this way, This Beautiful Life is a very effective "book of the moment," but I wonder about its ability to transcend that moment and endure like the timeless Great Gatsby to which to draws parallels.

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