|Faber and Faber Ltd|
When twenty-three thousand and ninety six people have seen you in a compromising situation which makes you slither and crawl with humiliation, there really is nothing that you can do to feel remotely better about yourself. Teenager, Su Oliphant-Brotheridge is about to find out just how bad her life can get when a compromising video clip of herself in a Magaluf nightclub goes viral.
What then follows is a very modern story about the pitfalls of social media, particularly when mobile uploads can make or break people in milliseconds. The author does a commendable job of weaving the story away from its rather shocking opening sentence and delivers a salutary tale about the quirks of modern family life and of the petty jealousies which so often simmer below the surface. I think it also highlighted the insecurity of someone living in an environment not of their own choosing, of the heart-breaking search for lost identity and the complicated enigma of sibling rivalry.
The story sets off a cracking pace and never falters in what it sets out to deliver which is a moralistic story about what happens when private goes public. There is no doubt that many readers will pick up the book just to read the six words which make up its opening line, but the book is about so much more than that. It’s not all about shabby voyeurism, it’s also about calculated revenge and the search for identity, it’s about family and a feeling of belonging and it’s also about hope for a future which at first glance seems damaged beyond repair.
Perhaps if more people were to read of the unimaginable horror of what ‘could’ happen when a mobile phone gets into the hands of someone with no moral scruples, maybe, just maybe… it might make them think twice about what they share with the world.
Best read with…a strong cup of tea and a plate of your favourite biscuits…
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My thanks to Faber and Faber and NetGalley for my copy of Viral.