Study Guide

Jessica Chandler in Nine Perfect Strangers

By Liane Moriarty

Jessica Chandler

#deepthoughts #too blessed #livingmybestlife #transformedandlovingit #beautyisintheeyeofthebeholder

We’re guessing that’s how Jessica would tag this entry on herself. Hey, it’s important not to come off as superficial online.

Ever since Jessica and Ben won $22 million in the lottery, Jessica has become obsessed with her social media presence. And her looks. And celebrities. Don’t get us wrong—Jessica was into this stuff before she became rich. But once she got some money in her hands, she was free to take her interests to the next level.

That means Jessica is able to get tons of cosmetic surgeries and enhancements. She also has loads of followers online who watch her every move. And she’s finally able to keep up with the Kardashians. Literally.

All of this has caused real problems in her marriage. Ben doesn’t like the way she’s changed. He also isn’t a big fan of the way she looks now. But Jessica is loving her post-lottery body:

“I think that Ben is body-shaming,” said Jessica. “I’m still me. I’m still Jessica. I’m still in here! So what if I look a bit different? This is the fashion. It’s just fashion. It’s not important!”

“It’s important to me,” said Ben. “It feels like you took something precious and f***** it up.”

“But I feel beautiful,” said Jessica. “I feel like I was ugly before and now I’m beautiful.” She stretched her arms above her head like a ballerina. “The question is: Who gets to decide if I’m beautiful or not? Me? You? The internet?”

Right now, she did look beautiful. (43.6-9)

It’s not that Jessica doesn’t want her life to change after winning the lottery—it’s that she doesn’t really believe it will change for the worse. She can’t understand why Ben won’t just get with the program and be happy already. And why is her mother convinced that this windfall is actually a curse? So much negativity. They can’t be for real!

Maybe that’s why Jessica imagines a pregnancy during her psychedelic therapy at Tranquillum House. She believes that the last good thing that’s going to come out of her marriage to Ben is a baby:

The sex had happened in the dark on their second night at the retreat. Not a word spoken. It was all blind, silent touch, and it had been raw and real, and afterward she lay awake and felt a wave of peace wash over her, because if their marriage was over, so be it, but now there was going to be a baby, and even if they didn’t love each other anymore, the baby was created from a moment of love. (52.16)

You may be tempted to feel sorry for Jessica with her obsession with looks and celebrities and posting pictures of her feet to social media. But Jessica is truly happy. After she “announces” their divorce on Instagram, Jessica auditions for the next season of The Bachelor, organizes fundraisers with her society friends, and becomes an ambassador for all kinds of fancy charities.

It might seem like a superficial life, but this is the life Jessica wants. She’s happy, she’s healthy, and she’s not hurting other people. Maybe Jessica’s right—who are we to judge?