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This beautiful life : a novel
Schulman, Helen.
Adult Fiction SCHULMA

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this sobering tale of how adolescent stupidity can have criminal and social repercussions, Schulman (A Day at the Beach) explores what happens when a privileged teen boy forwards to friends a sexually explicit video made for him by a classmate. Jake Bergamot, 15, has recently moved to New York City from Ithaca, N.Y., with his parents, Richard and Liz, and his kindergarten-aged sister, Coco. Life in Ithaca was easy and idyllic, but after Richard takes a job in the city, that all changes. Jake is enrolled at Wildwood, a New York City prep school where he makes a new circle of friends and attends wild parties, one of which leads to the video-later made by a girl at the party who Jake refuses to sleep with because, among other reasons, she's too young-that could determine the direction his young life will take. Jake is a good student and a nice kid, and his parents are rocked to their foundations by their son being snared in a child pornography scandal. The plot is ripe for salacious tabloid treatment, but Schulman sidesteps easy shock and hyperbole to turn out a provocative story of ethics and responsibilities in the ever-shifting digital age. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Fifteen-year-old Jake Bergamot stared at his computer screen in disbelief. With one keystroke he had forwarded a very private video to a trusted friend and thus out into the cyberworld, unleashing a firestorm that will bring his family's carefully constructed house of cards tumbling down. Nine months into a move from the idyllic Cornell campus in Ithaca, NY, to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Richard Bergamot is too wrapped up in a challenging new career to notice that his wife, Lizzie, her Ph.D. languishing in a drawer, is suffering adjustment issues. Lizzie, whose day revolves around the uber-scheduled social life of her precocious six-year-old fails to sense that Jake is struggling, too. When the crisis strikes, readers will feel torn between averting their eyes and watching in dismay as simmering resentments surface and this once beautiful life implodes. VERDICT Schulman, whose awards include a Pushcart Prize and a Sundance Fellowship, has written a painfully honest novel that examines with precision the delicate balancing act needed to nurture a family through these manic times. Reminiscent of Anita Shreve's Testimony and Anna Quindlen's Every Last One, this book will appeal to readers who thrive on discussing moral ambiguities. [See Prepub Alert, 1/31/11.]-Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Myers, FL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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