This Beautiful Life

This Beautiful Life

A Novel

Book - 2011
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When their fifteen-year-old son Jake forwards a sexually explicit video of a thirteen-year-old girl to his friends, which then goes viral, the Bergmots find their social and professional lives in jeopardy and decide to fight back, resulting in disastrousconsequences. The Bergamots move from their comfortable suburban Ithaca to the Upper West Side of New York City. Soon after, the upper-class cocoon in which they have enveloped themselves is ripped apart when 15-year-old Jake wakes up one morning after an unchaperoned party and finds an email waiting in his inbox from an 8th grade admirer. Attached is a sexually explicit video she has made for him. Shocked, a little proud, he forwards the video to a friend, who then forwards it to a friend. Soon the video has gone viral. This is a timely, provocative and deeply affecting domestic drama. It has received excellent early endorsements.
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, 2011
ISBN: 9780062024381
Branch Call Number: SCH
Characteristics: 288 p


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May 05, 2018

Exceptional.....It was just exceptional. It is about a 15-year old boy named Jake Bergamot. This book looks at a very serious problem in our society. It was very well written as well. Every teenager should read this book because it has many good lessons. The events that happen in this book also occur a lot in real life so teenagers and relate. I loved how this author sets up the book in a manner that is easily understandable. I recommend this book to teenagers aged 13-17. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.
- @terrificbooklover of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

evbernstein Apr 07, 2014

Terrifying view of priviledged NYC high school kids!

Oct 14, 2012

Okay book about a high school boy who forwards a homemade porn movie sent to him by a middle school girl who likes him and what happens to him and his family. Very sad.

retiredbubby Jun 29, 2012

The story is contemporary and realistic. Helen Schulman helps the reader go through the steps that the characters went through to redefine themselves and heal. Not an easy read but riveting. I couldn't put the book down.

Feb 21, 2012

The story took too long to get into the meat of it. I skimmed that well flogged beginning. Once into the characters issues it was interesting & sometimes predictable.

mikeyppl Dec 14, 2011

Sorry, but I found this book quite predictable. Basically this is a story you read about in the papers once a month or so. Really was very dissappointed considering all the hype.

patienceandfortitude Dec 08, 2011

A timely story. I'm especially interested in how the Internet can lead to legal and moral problems and this tells the story of a teenage boy who forwards an erotic film that a younger girl sent to him and the consequences of that act. It is also the story of a very privileged and not particularly sympathetic couple who are the teenager's parents. Quick and easy read, not great literature, but worthwhile.

wilstyles Nov 22, 2011

The perfect life quickly unravels in this wonderful book told from the vantage point of three different characters. The event that leads to the unraveling is horrific and like a train wreck you can't look away.

lilylibrarian Nov 14, 2011

The Bergamot family--golden boy and high achiever Richard, wife Liz, 15 year old Jake and six year old Coco, adopted from China--move to Manhattan for Richard's new high-powered job at a major university. The kids are enrolled at elite Wildwood Academy, and they settle in for a beautiful life among the highly educated, moneyed set of New York City. Here children have every opportunity with no-limit educational enrichment and entertainment activities and parents who deny them nothing, except behavior guidelines and supervision. Though parents are well-meaning, their children are both "privileged and deprived." Jake is a good student and trusted by his parents, yet his aimless wandering for weekend good times with his new school buddies is disturbing to read. When Jake receives an unsolicited erotic video from a preteen acquaintance, he is rendered senseless by his immature emotions and forwards it to a friend, thus beginning an irrevocable chain of events that threaten all members of the family. Author Schulman teaches at NYU's New School and has clearly seen in her students the consequences of current liberal views of childraising. This is a real-life horror story for parents, and we would do well to pay attention.

reissja Sep 22, 2011

This irremediably poignant novel is also wry and funny. The first couple of sections struck me as standard Big-Apple sauce. On page 70, however, Schulman reaches a spectacular crossroad. I don’t want to give the plot away, and as usual I hadn’t read reviews of this book before reading it. I urge you to avoid reviews and this book’s giveaway dust jacket.

I guarantee the mid-section of this slender book will wake you up—and ready you for its sad, almost tragic but cathartic ending.

Move over Gatsby! The Bergamot family beats on like boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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