Saturday, 14 January 2017

Book Review: Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

The Blurb
Jackie's life wasn't perfect, but at least it was normal. That is, until her dad received a terminal cancer diagnosis. Then he went and did what anyone faced with mountains of medical bills and a family to support would do: he sold his life to the highest bidder. Which turned out to be a TV station.
Suddenly everyone from psychotic millionaires to cyber-savvy nuns wants a piece of Jackie's family as they become a reality TV sensation. Jackie's life spirals out of control just as her dad's starts to run out, and meanwhile the whole world is tuning in to watch her family fall apart.
Acidly funny and heartbreakingly sad, Life in a Fishbowl is an exploration of the value of life and what memories mean to us. Perfect for fans of Patrick Ness.
My Review

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

I don't usually read YA books, but this one grabbed me as these days many people spend their lives watching other people live theirs.

Jared Stone has an inoperable brain tumour, and in an attempt to safeguard his family's financial future, he turns their world upside down with more then just his diagnosis and the prospect of them losing a father and a husband - he sells their lives to a TV station.

The book starts with Jared firstly essentially putting their lives on ebay. Then we meet various people willing to pay, people who are all rather suspect. Desperate, greedy people who will stop at nothing to get what they want. The TV show is probably the safest prospect that the Stone family has to face. 

That Jared would even dream of doing such a thing without consulting his family seems to be a little far-fetched; though this could be an effect of the tumour on his behaviour. This tumour is a character of it's own, as it 'eats' Jared's memories and almost takes on a life of its own.

The book tells of the struggles of a family dealing with the prospect of loss, but all in the public eye, and their lives are coldly manipulated and taken over by the producers. But there is help at hand...

It's a great story, if a little fractured being told from so many different points of view. The behaviour of some of the characters leaves a sour taste, and nothing can really redeem them. 

I would suggest that anyone contemplating going on one of these 'reality' shows reads this book first!

Life in a Fishbowl was published on 12th January by Bloomsbury Childrens, and you can get it from Amazon, Waterstones and other places.

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