This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman

I opened my email and she was there, exposed in the raw – not just her body but her emotions

Overwhelmed with awe I had to share the video with someone else and my best friend was the one I trusted

I didn’t think, I didn’t think, I didn’t think

                                           that it would be seen by millions of people.

Now I am suspended from school, bored and alone in a house that is too full

of my parents’ anxiety, regrets, worry and anger.

My dad is as good as suspended from his job. We have more in common than he thinks.

My mom is overbearing, willing my dad to release me (and her) from this bondage.

The cracks in their marriage are creaking and it is all my fault.

My little sister suffers too because of my woe.

What will become of me? What will become of my family?

This Beautiful Life is a family drama that exposes the hardship of modern marriage and family relations. The pain of spouses uncleaving and of children’s poor choices is realistically rendered. Schulman writes in a straightforward and clean style that heightens the voyeuristic feel of this novel. There is gentle humor, humor that makes fun of middle class families and their pretensions and the main family of the story is not spared. It is anguishing to read about the selfish habits and choices that plague us and transform not just ourselves but our families as well, yet it is also illuminating. The novel had more of an abrupt ending than I would have liked and had a vague and somewhat unsatisfying ending, but I still found it powerful.

(Please bear with my juvenile poetry – I’m trying to enliven my blog posts and keep from getting stale!)

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