An Intense Emotion Filled Ride // REVIEW: Life In A Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

Life in a FishbowlTitle: Life In A Fishbowl
Author: Len Vlahos
Publication Date: January 12th 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Bloomsbury India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Amazon US || Amazon UK || Wordery || Barnes and Noble || Google Play Store || Infibeam || The Book Depository || Kobo
Blurb Description: Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.
Gone is her mom's attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister's trust ever since she's been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family's dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.
Told through multiple points of view--including her dad's tumor--acclaimed author Len Vlahos deftly explores what it really means to live in this brilliantly written tragicomedy.

A terminal cancer patient SELLING his life to the highest bidder? 
And that bidder is a television network that intends to make a reality TV show about his death? 


When I heard about this books from the lovely people at Bloomsbury, I knew that I had to have it. 

And now, about half an hour after I finished, I'm... Befuddled? A mix of emotions I can't decipher? And I can't tell if I'm in love with this book, or just wish it was more. 

Jared Stone was a normal man. A part time graphic designer and part life longish father two two teenage daughter, his life was perfectly normal. Until, that is, he finds out about the high grade multiforme glioblastoma growing in his brain that has given him only three months left to live. 

And so, to ensure that his family will be well provided for without him there, he puts up his life for sale on eBay which gains the attention of a cyber-savvy nun, a billionaire looking for anything that will give him a high, people trying to help and a TV network. 

Soon, the Stone household is infested with cameras, crew, producers, directors and the eyes of millions of Americans all of whom are trying to watch a man fade from all that he is into nothing. 

Told in multiple points of view - Jared Stone, Sherman Kingsborough (the billionaire), Sister Benedict, Ethan Overbee (the producer) Deirdre, Jackie and Megan Stone and the tumor, Life in a Fishbowl is one roller coaster that will leave you a blubbering bundle of emotions.

While the book started off rather lightly, switching between viewpoints so fast I could barely keep up or feel anything for the characters, I soon got used to it, and the book was an intense portrayal of loss in the eye of the camera. One of the things I REALLY LOVED was that Jared's TUMOR had its own viewpoint that was actually quite unique and interesting.

The only part of the book I didn't understand was the lack of focus on the emotional ending. All we really heard about the Stone family's decisions was that they cried. And then they cried some more, but there was NOTHING else, and I wish there had been. 

I also sort of felt bad for the crew and the network? I've seen the show UnReal and I realise that what they were trying to do makes for good TV, but the family did sign a contract and well, I guess that since there was SO MUCH going on REBELLING against the network just didn’t seem really realistic. After all, CONTRACTS are BINDING?

All in all, it was a very unique book that was emotion filled that is DEFINITELY worth a read. 4 stars.
Len Vlahos
My first novel, The Scar Boys -- it's labeled as Young Adult, but I've never really liked labels -- published January 2014. It is, not surprisingly, a rock and roll coming of age story. No vampires or dystopian future, just a messed up boy and his guitar. (I have nothing against vampires or dystopian futures. I loved The PassageThe Hunger Games, and The Road.)
Scar Girl, the continuation of The Scar Boys' story, is due out from Egmont USA in fall 2015. 
I live in Connecticut with my super awesome wife Kristen, and our six year old son Charlie, and three and a half year old son, Luke, and I spend my days working at a small book industry non profit. 
What was the last "Reality TV" show that you watched? Are you a reality TV person, a documentary person or a fictitious TV watcher?
What was the last book on cancer that you read?
What do you think of Life In A Fishbowl? 

No comments:

Post a Comment