REVIEW

'I've faced and survived worse': Hunter Biden on staring down criticism from Trump supporters

Hunter Biden's second act. Picture: Getty Images

Hunter Biden's second act. Picture: Getty Images

  • Beautiful Things, by Hunter Biden. Simon & Schuster, $32.99.

Imagine if a Clinton, Kennedy or Trump decided to tell the truth, and dish the dirt, on how their family dynamics actually worked.

Their book would be more salacious, but less intriguing, than this autobiography by President Biden's surviving son, himself the subject of many different sorts of scandals.

Scott Fitzgerald claimed that "there are no second acts in American lives".

He had never met either Hunter Biden or his father.

Determined to be "not a curio or sideshow", Hunter Biden reviews, in detail, the family tragedies on which the President relies for rhetorical force, emotional succour and moral lessons.

Here once more, a mother and baby girl are killed in a car accident, a father suffers a life-threatening brain aneurysm, a promising brother dies terribly from brain cancer while another brother pursues "lots of dead-end detours" as he is consumed by "demons and addictions", drugs and alcohol particularly.

The former addict turned author, Hunter, also graduated from Yale Law, worked for the World Food Program, became a senior financial executive, and has performed "serious work for serious people".

In addition, he can write - honestly, poignantly and bravely.

His writing on the pain and shame, the impulses and temptations of addiction is consistently focused and touching.

Hunter Biden disposes briskly of Trump's ad hominem attacks on his connections and finances: "I've faced and survived worse."

Moreover, this biography is also a thoughtful account of a brother and a father, one dead too soon, the other in the White House perhaps too late (or maybe just in time).

Beau Biden is depicted as a "veray parfit gentil knight", brimming with potential.

His brother is especially moving when describing taking Beau on yet another vain visit to a hospital, "like a pilgrim visiting some sacred site".

Unlike Obama's memoir, where Joe Biden is too often damned with faint praise, Hunter Biden thanks his father for qualities which genuinely matter: unconditional love, loyalty, constant caring.

The President's antidote to grief was to enfold and envelop those mourning with waves of love.

Hunter Biden does not waste words drawing any explicit comparisons with Biden's lamentable predecessor: the invidious comparison is starkly obvious.

Biden seems to have recognised the deep truth in what the Beatles told us, a point which mattered enough to say it forwards and backwards.

"All you need is love."

This story Hunter Biden's surprisingly thoughtful call to love first appeared on The Canberra Times.