cover image Beautiful Things: A Memoir

Beautiful Things: A Memoir

Hunter Biden. Gallery, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-1-982-15111-9

President Biden's son takes a searing look at the vicissitudes of his life in this bracing warts-and-all memoir. The lawyer and former lobbyist's exposure to trauma began early; in 1972, when he was three, Hunter was in his mother Neilia's car when it was struck by a tractor-trailer, killing Neilia and his younger sister. The entire Biden family stepped in to give him and his older brother, Beau, as normal a childhood as possible, with their father, a senator from Delaware, commuting home every night from D.C. to be with them. Despite his relatives' support, his success at Yale Law School, and a lucrative profession, Hunter became an alcoholic and, after his brother Beau's death from brain cancer in 2015, he turned to crack cocaine. ("At one point I dropped clean off the grid, living in $59 a night Super 8 motels"). Even before then, Hunter's addiction had taken control of his life and destroyed his first marriage. In depicting the depths to which he'd sunk, Hunter powerfully demonstrates how even a child of privilege can flounder. He gives Trump's allegations about his business dealings in the Ukraine only scant attention, and it's his story of persistence and finding love again that makes this notable. This courageous self-assessment makes the despair of substance abuse devastatingly palpable. (Apr.)