Award Winning / Carrie / Mainstream Fiction / Women's Fiction

This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman

The Bergamots move from a college town in upstate New York to New York City. They begin to adapt to city life, and are able to take advantage of all that upper-class living has to offer, including an elite private school for their children. Jake is fifteen years old and quickly makes friends and is one of the in-crowd. He attends an unchaperoned party where he turns down the advances of an eight-grade admirer. Jake wakes up the next morning to an email from this admirer. She’s attached a sexually-explicit video. Not thinking about the consequences, Jake forwards it to a friend, who forwards it onto someone else. Not soon after, the video goes viral. The consequences soon spiral out of control for the Bergamots, and they’re left to deal with the scandal.

I had high hopes for This Beautiful Life, but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. With such an interesting premise, the book could have easily been 100 pages longer. A longer story might have allowed the author to go into more detail and develop the story further. The ending felt very rushed, and it seemed as if the author were just trying to tie up loose ends.

Carrie

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