Book Review: Beautiful Things by Hunter Biden
For those who have echoed the Right's rallying cry of "Where's Hunter?", this book was written specifically for y'all. Hunter aims to disclose exactly where he has been while his father was on a campaign trail. But he begins with the tragic story of two brothers who were arms and arms through the early heartbreak of losing their mom and their sister. Joe, Beau, and Hunter's relationship besides that of being familial, was also a euphoric, idyllic brotherhood, one that's forged in tragedy and strengthened by love and loyalty. Don't get me wrong, Hunter's descent to drug and alcohol abuse is far from 'idyllic'. All I'm saying is, we all could use the kind of love these three share. Knowing that regardless of our frailties, we have the kind of sibling support and fatherly love Hunter's been bestowed upon.
I don't think I've read a memoir of a book where you see two different sides of the same person. There is the accomplished Hunter. He takes charge, a champion for the hungry (he headed the World Food Fund that provided aids in impoverished countries); sat in a number of Fortune 500 companies as a board member, presided a number of congressional hearings that aimed to give attention to climate and poverty issues plaguing the world, a lawyer, a consulting business owner, and a father to three girls.
And then, there is the other Hunter who is a prisoner of his demons and addictions. His harrowing bouts of checking in and out of rehabs; the man who did a 14-day binge smoking crack and drinking vodka; the man who let his 'buyer' move in with him in DC for convenience' sake; the man who put his life in danger time and time again looking for his next dealer.
It's a stark contrast for sure, and calling himself a "functional addict" fits him to a T. How does one go on a bender one day and catch the next flight to meet with the King of Jordan? How does one find himself in the dark alleys of Nashville, elbow to elbow with the dregs of the society then find himself in an affluent villa in Beverly Hills the next? It's truly mind blowing to witness how he perfected the façade of an individual that constantly battled with his demons.
He was weak and strong at the same time. Though most days, his weakness wins out. Through his own words, he bestows upon his all his vulnerability. His heartbreaks and successes, and though you'll never meet an accomplished man, you couldn't help but think how an utter failure he is. As a husband, a son, and as a human being. But man, we are not perfect. Nobody is.