This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman

14 Jan

The Bergamot family moves from upstate New York to the city. It ought to be a great time, as the title suggests. Then the son, Jake, receives an x rated e-mail from a girl in his school. He forwards it to a friend, you know what happens next, and soon the family collapses and the title becomes more of a cruel taunt than a hopeful reality.

Liked it. I was, though, hoping for an examination of the legal situation. The news frequently contains stories like Jake’s, but in which some crusading prosecutor decides to save the kids from themselves by hitting both parties with child porn charges. Sex crime penalties being what they are, that means the end of any hopes for any kind of life, never mind a beautiful one.

The book, though, barely touches these issues, focusing instead on the family’s reaction. That’s compelling, too, just not what I was hoping for.

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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Fiction


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