LIFE IN A FISHBOWL by Len Vlahos

LIFE IN A FISHBOWL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The members of a white, all-American family become the reluctant subjects of a reality TV show recording father Jared Stone's rapid decline from a brain tumor.

Disoriented after receiving the news that he has an inoperable high-grade glioblastoma multiforme in his brain, Jared concocts a desperate plan to ensure the financial stability of his family after his death. He auctions his life on eBay to the highest bidders to do with him what they please, forgetting, in his tumor-addled confusion, to consult his family about his plans. What follows is a tragicomic romp through Jared's last months, related through the perspectives of the figures who have a vested interest in his life, from his family to the bidders (a motley assortment including a Catholic nun, a callous television executive, and a teenage gamer) to Jared's tumor itself, anthropomorphized and nicknamed Glio. The resulting reality show aggressively impinges on the privacy and dignity of the Stone family, as Glio gleefully consumes Jared's most cherished memories. Amid the chaos, Jared's quiet older daughter Jackie finds the courage to fight back by staging a behind-the-scenes show of her own. Vlahos' deadpan third-person narration amuses, but it also distances readers from the characters' emotional lives. Ironically, it is Glio who shines through most vividly as he tragically devours Jared's world.

An unsettling rumination on the spectacle of tragedy. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-68119-035-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2016




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