Life in a Fishbowl

Life in a Fishbowl Book Cover Life in a Fishbowl
Len Vlahos
Juvenile Fiction
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
January 3, 2017

Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone's father is dying. When Jackie discovers that her father has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, her whole world starts to crumble. She can't imagine how she'll live without him . . . Then, in a desperate act to secure his family's future, Jackie's father does the unthinkable--he puts his life up for auction on eBay. Jackie can do nothing but watch and wait as an odd assortment of bidders, some with nefarious intentions, drive the price up higher. The fate of her entire family hangs in the balance. But no one can predict how the auction will finally end, or any of the very public fallout that ensues. Life as Jackie knows it is about to change forever . . . In this brilliantly written tragicomedy told through multiple points of view--including Jackie's dad's tumor--acclaimed author Len Vlahos deftly explores what it really means to live. "A weird, sardonic delight with the shape of an allegory and the heart of a joyful song." --Brenna Yovanoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement "Surprising, original, political, and deeply affecting . . . It is one of those rare works of art that keeps you guessing up to the very last page." --Leila Sales, author of This Song Will Save Your Life "It will tear you apart, and yet it's an absolute joy." --Adi Alsaid, author of Let's Get Lost and Never, Always, Sometimes



I’ll give it to you upfront:  I did not like “Life in a Fishbowl.”  I did appreciate the writing and the use of some unique points-of-view.

There were a lot of voices in the book, with many being in the same chapter.  It became confusing at points, but the voices were distinct and well-written.  I found the parts written about the thoughts of the tumor itself to be unique and engaging.  In fact, those were the only sections that genuinely made me feel like I was reading a book about cancer that handled the subject well.  The message of how intrusive reality television can be was a good one, but also over-extended the plot.  A few less points-of-view in the tv aspect would have made it flow much better.

One of my biggest pet peeves is the use of an animal for emotional blackmail. There is an animal death, and it was part of an unnecessary subplot that crowded the tv aspect that I mentioned up above.  I feel like a strong plot can evoke emotion without needing to add in something extra.

The writing is good, but the rest of “Life in a Fishbowl” was disappointing.  It had so much potential.  I recommend giving this one a pass.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations (Some Abusive), Violence, Animal Death

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