Hello! I hope you had a great week. It’s been a really good week at work this week, our favourite pan asian restaurant was crowned best British Noodle Takeaway, and I’ve found a really good alcohol free beer to sip on weeknights, courtesy of the lovely Ocado and The Brooklyn Brewery. So all in all, it’s been great!
This weekend the plans (to my fiancé’s delight) is to have a full blown clearout of the house (in true Carrie Bradshaw ‘keep, donate and toss’ fashion) followed by a deep clean on Sunday. Go figure!
In today’s blog, I want to tell you about a book that I was suuuuper fortunate to receive early from the very lovely folks at Random House. It’s bold, its uncompromising and I will happily bet you a bag of Percy Pigs that this is going to be all over your social media feed, the talk of book clubs everywhere and splashed all over the window of your favourite book store, very soon.
IDOL, BY LOUISE O’NEILL
Publication date: 12th May 2022
“Im hungry for everything,’ she screamed. ‘For love, for money, for acceptance. To be valued. To be special. And I made myself into this. I made myself a fucking idol for millions of women around the world. They’ll do anything I tell them to do, anything. I fucking own them.“
Meet Samantha Miller, social media influencer extraordianire, with an army of her ‘girls’ who she tells how to live their lives, live happy and ‘speak their truth’. She is at the peak of her career – 3 million followers, a bestselling ‘self help’ book called ‘Chaste’ and she’s got sell out tours. We open with a sell out tour and delve straight into the mindsets of the social media mogul, her fans, and how her ego deals with difficult questions.
In the spirit of vulnerability, honesty and accessibility (the ‘must have’ for all modern day social media influencers), Samantha shares the details of a sexual encounter she had as a teenager, with her female best friend, Lisa. Whilst she doesn’t name Lisa per se, she does not make it obscure enough for Lisa – and those in her life- not to notice who she is talking about. Unfortunately, this moment of ‘sharing’ and ‘grounding’ with her fans, comes to backfire in the most tremendous of ways.
One angry drunken email from Lisa later and Samantha finds herself slap bang in the middle of the #metoo movement. Lisa doesn’t remember the encounter with quite such rose tinted spectacles – in fact, she doesn’t remember it happening that way at all. Unfortunately for Samantha and her career, she’s accused as a perpetrator. It sends Samantha into an absolute spiral, and as a reader – this ‘grounded’, calm powerhouse starts to look very different.
As we begin to question everything we know about Samantha, what would Lisa’s motives be if she was not telling the truth? Who’s memory is right? Who’s account of the story can we, the reader (and most importantly to the plot, Samantha’s fans), trust? And who is the real face behind the anonymous troll who is absolutely massacring Samantha in social media comments everywhere?
‘You put yourself on that pedestal, Samantha. You only have yourself to blame.’
It’s a story set in the past and the present, and an interesting viewpoint on memories, their reliability (what is ‘the truth?’ when we share a memory together) and the impact of negative public allegations (bullying, sexual and otherwise) on those with the status of ‘celebrity’.
It’s a perfectly timed, psychological thriller from the author of After the Silence, which dives right in to the minds and the worlds of online social media influencers, the ‘god like’ status they can reach amongst their followers, their egos, their pride, their rise to fame…. and their downfalls.
If we think about how every week there’s some new twist in the news about what famous people are doing and the next thing you know, they’ve been knocked off their pedestal by something thats gone viral – these days it’s all over social media. Thats right, the thing that made them famous can also cancel them. It’s a double edged sword.
It’s also going to make you question so many of the things you’ve seen in the press in real life. Is there such thing as “good” intentions anymore? Is there truth behind all of the virtue signalling? Can we trust influencers? Are our memories the truth? Is what we recall as happening, really what happened?
CAN’T PUT IT DOWN RATING: 4.5/5
Woweeee!!! Sophisticated, compelling, delicious.
What a page turner, I couldn’t put it down. An influencer who used the internet to build up her fortune, fame and following is destroyed by the very same medium. I could read about this character for at least four more books!
This is a story of addiction, sexual abuse, eating disorders, internet trolls, manipulation and an unpredictable and unreliable narrator to boot! Lots of heavy themes and the perfect ingredients for a real page turner.
In today’s ‘cancel culture’ this is absolutely ON POINT. You only need to look at the trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard to see how this can play out in real life.
The characters were well developed, the plot absolutely on point, the fanbase vibes were perfect.
The only downside for me is I already guessed all of the plot twists, hence why I didn’t give it a 5 star review – but it’s so addictive and immersive, I doubt many would really care. Recommended to thriller lovers everywhere!
Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for my advanced copy in exchange for an honest review :).
Out now in Hardback, RRP £14.99
I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed this review (and found a new thriller to add to your TBR!). If you have, please like this blog, follow and/or share – please show it some love!
As always, you can get in touch via the comments, email or social media @papyrusandpeppermint – I’d love to hear from you.
I’m currently accepting similar hard proofs from Publishers, so if you are one (hello!) – please get in touch.
Until the next chapter,