On Beauty Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of On Beauty

The Belsey family is NOT your typical family! Living in Wellington, a fictional college town in the Massachusetts, their lives revolve around the "snooty" liberal arts college (Wellington) at which Howard Belsey, the father, is a distinguished professor of art history. Although he has been happily married to Kiki for nearly thirty years, Howard has an affair with one of his college colleagues. Although the affair is in the past, it still haunts the family and creates problems for Zora, one of the Belsey children who sees herself as a poet and desperately wants to get into the class of the person with whom Howard has had the affair. In the meantime, Jerome, the eldest of the Belsey children, has fallen in love with Victoria Kipps, the daughter of Prof. Kipps, the visiting art historian to Wellington from England, who also happens to be Howard Belsey's arch enemy! Finallly, youngest child Levi Belsey has decided to take up the cause of a Haitian "brother" (the Levi children are products of an interracial marriage) to help restore dignity to their country.   
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The review of this Book prepared by a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of On Beauty

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   very sensitive (sigh) Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Married, fooling around?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   teacher Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British Unusual characteristics:    -   Extremely cynical or arrogant


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   10 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Lot of foul language?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Zadie Smith Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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