Saturday, 30 January 2016

Review: Viral by Helen Fitzgerald

So far, twenty-three thousand and ninety six people have seen me online. They include my mother, my father, my little sister, my grandmother, my other grandmother, my grandfather, my boss, my sixth year Biology teacher and my boyfriend James.

When Leah Oliphant-Brotheridge and her adopted sister Su go on holiday together to Magaluf to celebrate their A-levels, only Leah returns home. Her successful, swotty sister remains abroad, humiliated and afraid: there is an online video of her, drunkenly performing a sex act in a nightclub. And everyone has seen it.

Ruth Oliphant-Brotheridge, mother of the girls, successful court judge, is furious. How could this have happened? How can she bring justice to these men who took advantage of her dutiful, virginal daughter? What role has Leah played in all this? And can Ruth find Su and bring her back home when Su doesn't want to be found?

Wow what a line to start a book with! But you will have to find out for yourself. Certainly had me interested from the very first line. Imagine going to Magaluf, getting stupidly drunk, so much so you do something you would never ever do. That's exactly what happed to Su. The same Su who is a virgin and ready to go to university. But things get even worse when, during her most embarrassing moment, she is being filmed and finds herself all over the internet. The video goes viral and the views keep going up and up.

What else is there to do but disappear. Instead of going home, Su doesn't turn up at the airport and her sister has to go home by herself. Now while Su is hiding away in Spain, her family is picking up the pieces. The mother who is a successful court judge, the sister who is blaming herself and the father/husband who is suddenly questioning his wife's treatment of the girls. Because Su is their adoptive daughter while Leah is their biological daughter.

We go on to experience the extreme backlash of such a viral video. One that doesn't only affect the person in the video but all the people close to her. How much damage can it do? And what can you do when no laws have been broken? But most of all, how far will a mother go to revenge her daughter?

This has been a very interesting read. While its not the best book I have ever read it had me hooked all the way through. I was absolutely gobsmacked at how much damage one silly night can do. And its kind of very scary, because this is the world we live in. Not only is it cool to go to magaluf or suny beach to get in this kind of state. But with everyone having a camera phone these days, every embarrassing moment can be made public. This certainly opened my eyes to a lot of things.

However the book doesn't only focus on the video, it also focuses on a rather complicated mother and daughter relationship and one between two sisters, of which one is adopted.

A very compelling and intelligent read. I really enjoyed the characters and where the story ended.

Thank you to Sophie at Faber & Faber for my copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Viral will be published on 4th February.

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