Saturday, August 27, 2011

This Beautiful Life

Lizzie and Richard seem to have everything they could ever have dreamed of: two great children - a boy and a girl- and have just recently moved to Manhattan from a small New York town. Lizzie has decided to put her career on hold and spends her days dropping off and picking up her daughter, Coco, from school. Jake, their teenage son has been accepted by his peers at an elite private school he attends. This idyllic life comes crashing down around them when Jake receives a sexting message from Daisy, an eighth grader he has barely met at a party. Unthinkingly Jake forwards the videomessage on to his friend. Soon the pornographic message has made its way to youtube and had millions of hits. This family, who has played by the rules and worked hard to get where they are, is left to deal with their son's poor judgement.

Schulman's characters don't always make the best decisions and at times they are hard to like. But, this family seemed real as did the way they dealt with Jake's poor decision. I found myself contemplating my own reaction to what this family faced, trying to decide what decisions I would have made. Atlhough Jake made a poor decision, sending this message on to friends, it hardly seemed fair that he should bear the brunt of this. It seemed that Daisy, despite the fact that her video image was seen by many, got off much easier, even though she was the one who intiated the entire thing. Schulman's writing is magnificent, and I loved the way she was able to tie things up at book's end, leaving another great point for discussion.

I am anxious to read more of Schulman's work, and will look forward to discussing this one with others who have read it.

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