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This Beautiful Life: A Novel (P.S.) (edition 2012)
This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman
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When the Bergamots move from a comfortable upstate college town to New York City, they are not quite sure how they will adapt, or what to make of the strange new world of well-to-do Manhattan. Soon, though, Richard is consumed by his executive role at a large New York university, and Liz, who has traded in her academic career to oversee the lives of their children, is hectically ferrying young Coco around town. Fifteen-year-old Jake is gratefully taken into the fold by a group of friends at Wildwood, an elite private school. But the upper-class cocoon in which they have enveloped themselves is ripped apart when Jake wakes up one morning after an unchaperoned party and finds an email in his in-box from an eighth-grade admirer. Attached is a sexually explicit video she has made for him. Shocked, stunned, maybe a little proud, and scared, a jumble of adolescent emotion, he forwards the video to a friend, who then forwards it to a friend. Within hours, it has gone viral, all over the school, the city, the world. The ensuing scandal threatens to shatter the Bergamots' sense of security and identity, and, ultimately, their happiness. They are a good family faced with bad choices, and how they choose to react, individually and at one another's behest, places everything they hold dear in jeopardy.
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