Life in a Fishbowl

Life in a Fishbowl

Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.Gone is her mom's attention and cooking and parent-teacher confere...

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Title:Life in a Fishbowl
Author:Len Vlahos
Rating:
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover

Life in a Fishbowl Reviews

  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    Jan 11, 2017

    4.5*

    This book has so much of everything that I love packed inside. Multifaceted and engaging characters? Check. Morally complicated situations? Check. Family dynamics, humor amidst tragedy, and an eerily plausible situation... yep, they're here too. There are quite a few POVs, but it works. I didn't get super connected to any one character, but I don't think that was the point. Of course

    4.5*

    This book has so much of everything that I love packed inside. Multifaceted and engaging characters? Check. Morally complicated situations? Check. Family dynamics, humor amidst tragedy, and an eerily plausible situation... yep, they're here too. There are quite a few POVs, but it works. I didn't get super connected to any one character, but I don't think that was the point. Of course, I cared about Jackie's plight most, as the main character, but the side characters were really well fleshed out, each with their own firm beliefs (or in some cases, lack thereof). Like I said, it worked.

    When I first read the synopsis I thought "this will either be really awesome... or not so much." Because it is a pretty bold idea, no? Selling the rights to one's life? But the magic of this book lies in the author making you believe the premise- and even understanding why someone would do it. The moral complexity blew my mind, and had me questioning what I would do throughout the book- how I would react in each character's shoes.

    The author had me caring about each character, and each issue that arose. The tumor itself was even personified, and it was kind of genius. Because I'll be damned if by the end of the book I didn't care about the tumor, too. Life in a Fishbowl explores so many important themes, like family, euthanasia, media deception and intrusion, and ultimately, the lengths we will go to to protect our beliefs and our loved ones. Quite thought provoking while being emotive and entertaining, this was a total win for me.

    **Copy provided by publisher for review

  • LouLou
    Jan 05, 2017

    Please read reaview in its entirety at

    Promoted as a tragicomedy, Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos is heavy on the tragic, and unfortunately for this reviewer, missed the funny bone on the comedy.

    What is even more disappointing, and why I feel so let down with this particular novel, is that the promotional jacket is so appealing – a teenage girl, Jackie, is not only dealing with the fact that her dad has a terminal brain tumor, but that her family's advers

    Please read reaview in its entirety at

    Promoted as a tragicomedy, Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos is heavy on the tragic, and unfortunately for this reviewer, missed the funny bone on the comedy.

    What is even more disappointing, and why I feel so let down with this particular novel, is that the promotional jacket is so appealing – a teenage girl, Jackie, is not only dealing with the fact that her dad has a terminal brain tumor, but that her family's adversity is being broadcast to millions of people in an outlandish way, all in the name of entertainment and money.

    And it started out good. Narrated in third person format, which I first thought as odd, since it is promoted as being Jackie's story, but it still worked, and then not too far along, it started to become Jared's (Jackie's Dad) story, which was still OK. Then Jackie's Dad's tumor starts sharing its view point – different, cool, and a creative step for the author to pull, but still OK. Three character's viewpoint, is not so bad, but then 3 became 4,5, 6, 7, and I think I lost count, but there were about 8 different characters angling for camera time, or in this case, page time: a nun, a gamer, a TV executive, a billionaire playboy, a Facebook friend from Russia, a sister, a tumor, an ailing dad, and last but not least, Jackie. Unfortunately, the adults get to tout most of the story, which is sadder still because two of them happen to be sadistic males with sociopathic penchants. It's not until three-quarters of the way through the novel that the teens start to make a more apparent appearance and reclaim some of the storyline, but by that time I had a headache, and it wasn't enough to rally. I, like the father in the story just wanted it to be done with.

    The characters, though well-developed, were just too much. There were too many adults, and their backstories got in the way, rather than adding to the intrigue of the story. If the novel stayed true to how it was being advertised, I think it would have been a great story and a much better YA format for the development of the subjects, such as a family's stance on euthanasia, the lows of the entertainment industry, and how American culture viewership is more of a voyeur-ship.

    A provocative tale for the young adult audience, and I heavily emphasize the word adult. In contrast, if you're looking for something bitter sweet that celebrates the bond of family during tragedy, I highly recommend Falling Over Sideways, by Jordan Sonnenblick.

    Review of an Advance Reader Copy

  • joey via. thoughts and afterthoughts
    Oct 21, 2016

    Life in a Fishbowl is what I would imagine satire in YA to be: relevant, straight-shooting, and reasonably cathartic. With so many of us being obsessively Team Internet without knowing it, Life chooses to spotlight trashy reality television (e.g. Big Brother) without shitting on the actual format that has surely brought viewers hours of joy -- because people watching is always interesting.

    It's a story told through a handful of perspectives (weaving in-and-out with just an "* *" asterisk break),

    Life in a Fishbowl is what I would imagine satire in YA to be: relevant, straight-shooting, and reasonably cathartic. With so many of us being obsessively Team Internet without knowing it, Life chooses to spotlight trashy reality television (e.g. Big Brother) without shitting on the actual format that has surely brought viewers hours of joy -- because people watching is always interesting.

    It's a story told through a handful of perspectives (weaving in-and-out with just an "* *" asterisk break), but what's most impressive is following the oddest of perspectives follow the journey of this family. A nun? Conglomerates? A psychopath? A [World of Warcraft] gamer girl? (Among others.) And if all else fails, at least you have the POV of the Glioblastoma Multiforme cancer who literally gives zero fucks other than to just eat the dreams of its host. Om nom nom? Sounds about right.

    Though I get a sense of why this might be put under the umbrella of humour, it was neither "haha" or "LOL" funny to me. But that's probably just on me. Besides, contemporary without romance is just fine and dandy for me.

    -- Full review to come.

  • Lola  Reviewer
    Nov 11, 2016

    I kind of feel like I’ve been lied to. Like I’ve been mislead. What a deceptive blurb.

    First of all, it makes ‘‘Life in a Fishbowl’’ seem like it’s mainly focusing on the TV reality show aspect, when that is not true at all. In fact, it takes at least 100 pages before that even happens. Which is 1/3 of the story.

    And second of all, the blurb, again, makes it seem like it’s all about Jackie. Sure, she’s one of the characters, but no way is she the lead. NO WAY. In fact, this story is told from the

    I kind of feel like I’ve been lied to. Like I’ve been mislead. What a deceptive blurb.

    First of all, it makes ‘‘Life in a Fishbowl’’ seem like it’s mainly focusing on the TV reality show aspect, when that is not true at all. In fact, it takes at least 100 pages before that even happens. Which is 1/3 of the story.

    And second of all, the blurb, again, makes it seem like it’s all about Jackie. Sure, she’s one of the characters, but no way is she the lead. NO WAY. In fact, this story is told from the 3rd person POV, and there are more than EIGHT different points of views. Not only one.

    I didn’t like the writing style at all. It reminded me of the one in ‘‘The Light Fantastic’’ and ‘‘Spontaneous,’’ which are two books I could not finish reading. Guess ‘‘Life in a Fishbowl’’ joins the list. It’s not that Len Vlahos doesn’t know how to write, but he is TOO present inside the story.

    In other words, it’s a pretentious writing style. I get that it’s an omniscient narrator, but that doesn’t mean we cannot feel as if the characters spoke to us themselves. Because Len Vlahos’ opinions and thoughts on people and situations are so present, it distracts us from really connecting with the characters.

    And, also, it isn’t realistic at all. To tell you the truth, it made me really mad at first. I mean, the fact that a man is selling his life is a HUGE deal, when there have been (and may still be) tons of people who had to sell themselves or members of their families for reasons similar (though more grave) than Jared’s. So really, is that so new? Or is it the camera that is new?

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  • ~ Odette Knappers
    Dec 13, 2016

    Jared heeft een hersentumor. Ik vind dat deze tumor heel bijzonder omschreven is. Het is heel uniek, zo heb ik nog nooit gelezen over kanker. Deze manier van vertellen erover zorgt ervoor dat ik me beter voor kan stellen wat voor effect dat een hersentumor op je zijn kan hebben

    Jared heeft een hersentumor. Ik vind dat deze tumor heel bijzonder omschreven is. Het is heel uniek, zo heb ik nog nooit gelezen over kanker. Deze manier van vertellen erover zorgt ervoor dat ik me beter voor kan stellen wat voor effect dat een hersentumor op je zijn kan hebben en dat vind ik heel erg knap gedaan.

    Ook vind het ik het mooi hoe het euthanasievraagstuk in het boek is verwerkt zonder dat het zwaar wordt, ook al is het een heftig onderwerp. Dat is sowieso iets wat ik erg knap vind aan het boek, de schrijfstijl. Natuurlijk is het onderwerp zwaar want Jared heeft kanker en je leest vanuit hem en zijn dochter, en toch leest het boek erg vlot weg. De schrijfstijl en de goede vertaling spelen daar een grote en belangrijke rol in.

    Ook vind het ook heel mooi en knap hoe de realiteit van reality-tv in beeld wordt gebracht. Je krijgt heel mooi mee welke invloed dat heeft op de mensen die gefilmd worden, en wat je met montage allemaal kan doen.

    Op twee hele verschillende gebieden geeft dit boek je een kijkje achter de schermen zoals ik nooit dacht een kijkje te kunnen krijgen. Het laat je anders tegen deze zaken aankijken en daardoor

    Jared has a brain tumor. This tumor is described in a beautiful and unique way, I've never read like this about cancer. This writing makes me more capable of understanding what it does to a person when he of she has a brain tumor. That is very well done.

    The euthanasia issue is written very respectfully in this book. You do get involved in the points of view, but it not written in a overly serious or heavily manner, just like how you would talk about that in the family if someone is in such a situation. Very well done as well.

    There is the part of the reality tv in this book as well. I think it is very nicely done how you get a peek at how this stuff works in real life, that it is not so reality, that a lot of cutting and editing is involved.

    Two completely different topics, cancer and reality tv, but this book has shown me another way to look at both of these subjects, which is really special and unique. I will recall this book very often because it really has changed my view on the world a bit, so the 5* are easily deserved!

  • Grace (The Reading Raindoe)
    Dec 18, 2016

    I was intrigued enough by the synopsis to request a copy of this book. As someone essentially born at the same time as the reality television movement, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were already very close to seeing this seemingly outlandish premise play out in the real world. Due to that, I was curious to read this book and see how it worked out in this fictional world.

    Impressively enough, this book somehow already seemed a bit dated despite not releasing until January 2017. There’s talk of Mea

    I was intrigued enough by the synopsis to request a copy of this book. As someone essentially born at the same time as the reality television movement, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were already very close to seeing this seemingly outlandish premise play out in the real world. Due to that, I was curious to read this book and see how it worked out in this fictional world.

    Impressively enough, this book somehow already seemed a bit dated despite not releasing until January 2017. There’s talk of Mean Girls posters, chat rooms, and Jericho being canceled the year before. So it seems this book is set in 2009 without ever really mentioning it, which honestly just seems a bit confusing. This book also isn’t set on one particular character. It has about eight different main focuses and an omniscient narrator. The main characters include a nun, a man with cancer, the man’s tumor, and various other fun characters.

    So in addition to a confusing and quickly rotating crowd of characters, the premise of the book that sold me does not even come into play until almost a third of the way through the book. I felt incredibly misled. The blurb makes it sounds like the book is led by Jackie. It’s not. Again, an incredible amount of points of view. She is definitely not the lead.

    This book was convoluted and a little pretentious. A dog was brutally murdered. The kids in the story seemed so out of touch with pop culture and they were made out to be so dense and self-centered. It was just not great. I felt it touched on some good points, though. I think the issue of euthanasia is an important one and the effect of reality tv is something that should be discussed more. It’s also unusual to read a book about someone with cancer and then to have that tumor be one of the main points of view, so it’s certainly unique in that aspect. Overall, if you want to read something different and you like a lot of different viewpoints, maybe pick this up, but it certainly wasn’t for me.

    I was provided a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Cait (Paper Fury)
    Feb 05, 2017

    Particularly because it's written in a style I

    . It's the Mockery Of A Series Topic And Slapstick Comedy And LOL @ Everything sort of style. Trust me, that's the technical term for it. And every time I come across this style I just...no. I find it super disrespectful???

    BUT YA KNOW. If you like dark/slapstick comedy, then that's totally ok. Go for it, fren. Not every reader is going to click with every style, obviously.

    Particularly because it's written in a style I

    . It's the Mockery Of A Series Topic And Slapstick Comedy And LOL @ Everything sort of style. Trust me, that's the technical term for it. And every time I come across this style I just...no. I find it super disrespectful???

    BUT YA KNOW. If you like dark/slapstick comedy, then that's totally ok. Go for it, fren. Not every reader is going to click with every style, obviously.

    Okay, maybe one or two less. BUT STILL. There were just dozens of them, because let's have the POV of everyone who is remotely connected to the story. This was (A) really boring because I get like the history of this nun's life one minute and then the history of this psycho kid the next, (B) tedious because it didn't really focus on any one person so HOW WOULD I GET TO KNOW THEM.

    I'm not okay with that?? At all?? Like this tumour has emotions and feelings and "loves life!" and "thinks of the dad's family as his own!" and it was just

    . It's a tumour. Real people who are losing their father's to cancer aren't interested in

    .

    The dad doesn't even TELL his family he has a tumour for ages until he starts selling himself on ebay. Also the ad he put up was like "you can do whatever you want with me when you buy me including torture or have a nice chat"...wtf mate. Part of me understand that the book is joking, but I feel it's wildly inappropriate to make slavery jokes.

    Mostly euthanasia. I just kind of pause at reading a book aimed at younger teens that's biggest theme is euthanasia and I think the book was

    pro for it.

    There are lots of things I want to read about: THIS IS EXACTLY NONE OF THEM.

    Like I think watching an actual goldfish swim around and actual fishbowl would be more productive to life. I hated the flippant/glib style, the joking and disrespectful way it approached terminal illness, and how everyone was just a caricature and 0% relatable. Oh and did I mention THAT THERE ARE SO MANY POVS AND THE BRAIN TUMOUR HAS FEELINGS????

    ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Esther
    Feb 14, 2017

    Ik vond dit een heel apart boek en daardoor weet ik niet zo goed wat ik er van moet vinden.

    Het was een interessant en nieuw verhaal, maar op sommige momenten kwam ik er heel moeilijk door heen.

  • Mrs. Midnight Reader
    Feb 25, 2017

    Всъщност това беше много странно четиво! Когато избрах книгата, беше опит да изляза от комфортната си зона. Гняв, тъга, радост и напрягане в смисъла на очакването как ще се развие историята!

    Давам четири звезди заради уроците, които дава! Историята е за човешките ценности и осмива поквареността на тези, които са готови на всичко за власт, слава и пари, излагайки на показ всичко това! И в същото време показва, че ролята на аутсайдерите в живота е огромна и че всеки има място в този свят, дори по-з

    Всъщност това беше много странно четиво! Когато избрах книгата, беше опит да изляза от комфортната си зона. Гняв, тъга, радост и напрягане в смисъла на очакването как ще се развие историята!

    Давам четири звезди заради уроците, които дава! Историята е за човешките ценности и осмива поквареността на тези, които са готови на всичко за власт, слава и пари, излагайки на показ всичко това! И в същото време показва, че ролята на аутсайдерите в живота е огромна и че всеки има място в този свят, дори по-значително, отколкото е смятал! Сблъскваш се с толкова много образи, че е неизбежно да преживееш адски много емоции!

    Не мога да простя на автора две неща! Едно убийство и лековатия начин, с който описваше случките! Усещах бездушие или по-скоро примиреност към съдбата на героите и това не ни се понрави, защото аз не можех да се примиря! До края! Когато изпитах невероятно удовлетворение от финала и по-скоро края на една агония за много хора!

  • Morris
    Feb 26, 2017

    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 handle

    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.