“There was only one way the American Television Network was leaving the Stone house, and that was over his dead body.”

I was confused by a lot in Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos but I couldn’t stop laughing, so that’s a yes from me. Read it and weep (tears of laughter). I blogged about the YA-ness or not of Fishbowl.

“Ethan also knew that denying Jared medical care would be tantamount to murder, and while that would make for good television, it wouldn’t resonate with the sponsors.”

So many of my Goodreads friends gave Fishbowl 1 star or DNF. I understand why. It’s promo-ed as YA, but it isn’t and the meandering start is kind of excruciating. Most of the POVs could be cut and Glio is the worst thing ever written, although a story written only from his point of view would be clever.

I think Vlahos read Nutshell by Ian McEwan, aspires to Chuck Palahniuk and came up with his satirical paean to euthanasia and our obsession with celebrity. The humour is so very wrong and so very funny. After 100 pages when I wondered whether I should give up (my fav thing to do with a book) the dark comedy kept me going. If he skipped the set-up and went straight into Life and Death I might have skipped the vacillation. And that fucking nun – why was she not stabbed instead of Trey?? or

“using a World of Warcraft spell to immobilize the nun in creeping vines, and a second spell to blow her head clean off her body.”

The whole euthanasia debate could have been compelling, but there was so much wrong with the details. No one would come away from this book thinking they now agreed with euthanasia.

How did Jared not write a will? If he had time to sign up for a reality tv show, he had time to write a will, particularly as he was considering euthanasia. Euthanasia is a decision made before a patient becomes comatose, while he/she is still lucid and of sound mind. And it is the sole decision of the patient – if others coerce the patient, it stops being euthanasia. You could ask your loved ones to turn off life support, or Do Not Resuscitate, but neither of these are euthanasia. People who are against euthanasia might also be against both of the former, but that doesn’t make them the same. When Deirdre turned off the life support, it had nothing to do with euthanasia. Or is that the point? Deirdre smothering Jared wasn’t the only overkill.

And when the Stone family start to regret turning their life into a circus. So hard when your parents sign your family up to be watched 24hrs a day and now Ethan Overbee and his minions are watching Jackie & her family 24hrs a day. Seriously, what did they think was going to happen? Ok, so it was Jared who signed them up, without consulting his family.

As an allegory for the current US political situation, it’s well done. A Wall, marauding murderers, religion tangled with the State, excess stupidity sponsored by Maccas. The land of the free certainly got what they signed up for. And is Vlahos saying: all the US needs is a camera? Don’t worry guys, we see your footage and it’s hilarious.

Just wait a couple more years and you can vote in the next clown.