The last gasp of Giuliani’s campaign against the Bidens featured a laptop supposedly obtained from sources that would document the younger Biden’s drug use and other offenses. The laptop story was discredited by U.S. intelligence and independent investigations by news organizations.
As for the drug use, however, there could scarcely be a more damning account than Hunter Biden’s own in his memoir. Repeated attempts at intervention by his father and family fail to stop him. He is estranged from his wife, who divorces him and has custody of their daughters. With each relapse he descends another rung until he haunts a nocturnal underworld of addicts, dealers, ex-cons and con artists in Los Angeles.
And then, in the final pages, it is the spring of 2019 and Hunter meets a South African filmmaker and activist named Melissa, who swiftly brings his life under control in ways Hunter himself never had. He stops drinking and smoking crack. The two, who married not long after meeting, now have a son, a toddler the nation saw onstage at the Biden victory celebration the Saturday after the election in November.
That little boy is named Beau, for Hunter’s older brother who died of a brain tumor in 2015. But by this point in the book, one knows the son could have no other name. Beau Biden is as much a character in this memoir as anyone, appearing in memories beginning with the night in 1972 when the boys are injured in a car crash that kills their mother and baby sister. They wake up next to each other in a hospital. Their shared memories of this loss bind them far more than even close brothers are usually bound. It is after Beau’s death that Hunter loses the will to fight the demons he has battled for so long.
When he meets Melissa, the first thing he tells us about her is that she has blue eyes like Beau’s. The last section of Beautiful Things is a letter to Beau, and the title refers to a mantra the two had in the days they spent together near the end of Beau’s life.
This memoir is surely a confession, but it seems to seek something other than conventional forgiveness—something other than sympathy.
It is not an easy thing to be a senator’s son. It may be cushy at times and many doors may open. But Hunter Biden’s father was not just another senator. And while no one can doubt the love between the two, as amply demonstrated countless times, there is also a chasm between the hungers of the son and the trajectory of the teetotaler father. (Aware of stories about problem drinkers in the family tree, the elder Biden steered clear.)