Friday, February 3, 2017

Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

25131061Life in a Fishbowl is a YA realistic fiction book about what one would do for their family. Jared Stone has a malignant glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor, and he is dying. When the doctor tells him that he will not live for much longer, he decides to sell his life on eBay to get money to support his family when he is gone. Many are interested, but after eBay takes the ad off in violation of rules, the one person left is a television producer. Jared accepts 5 million dollars in exchange for him and his family to be on a reality TV show, Life and Death. However, the show takes away all privacy and completely changes what really happens. Jackie, Jared's 15-year-old daughter, creates her own TV show to expose the true reality of reality TV.

When I read the synopsis on Goodreads, I was so excited to read it! However, the subject of the book and the description is misleading, and I am very disappointed. The focus was not really even on the family or about all the changes. The concept did not even seem like a real problem, since there was no "normal" for comparison. It was very fast-paced, and there were way to many characters, so it was hard to keep track of them. There were view points from all ten characters in the book, which made it much harder for me to connect to the family.

A perspective I was not expecting was the perspective of the tumor. Gilo, the malignant glioblastoma multiforme, had a perspective which contained dark humor. It talked about finding Jared's brain "delicious" and that his memories "tasted wonderful." Gilo's passages were about him eating more and more of Jared's brain and eating and watching memories. This was kind of disturbing and funny at the same time. The tumor almost felt... guilty that he was hurting the man. The characterization was so strong that I could connect to him/it and feel sympathetic. Gilo even had character development! This is just so strange. Technically, a tumor is alive, but it was waaaaay to personified.

Life in a Fishbowl also tackled some human rights issues. The idea of euthanasia was heavily involved, as well as the first amendment. A campaign was actually created called Free Jackie Stone, and the book showed the true reality of reality TV. I liked the concept. I loved the idea about reality TV, and it is a problem today about believing everything we see on TV. Sibling relationship was also big. Megan, Jackie's younger sister, had the classic little sister role. Her perspectives were refreshing, since she was the only one who liked being on TV. I liked the character of Jared. He cared so much about his family and was willing to sacrifice everything so they could live an easier life when he was gone. The title is a really great metaphor to illustrate the invasion of privacy. Fish are trapped in a fishbowl, and they were trapped in their house.

Overall, the book was okay. I would have enjoyed it more if there were less perspectives and the description was accurate, but I loved the concept. This is the type of book that some people would like and some people would not. So, if you want to read it, go ahead. Just make sure not to get your hopes up.

Title: Life in a Fishbowl
Author: Len Vlahos
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 336
Series: No
Rating: 3 Stars

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