Book Review: Viral


Title: Viral
Author: Helen Fitzgerald
To Be Published: 4th February 2016
Publisher: Faber and Faber

Many thanks to Helen Fitzgerald, Faber and Faber and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Leah and her adopted sister, Su, go on holiday to Magaluf with friends. Su is the opposite of Leah – studious, organised and in control. But it’s Leah that comes home from Magaluf while Su goes in to hiding. A drunken video of her performing a sex act in a bar goes viral and Su can’t face coming home. Ruth is both the girls mum and a court judge and she is furious. How could Leah let this happen? And more importantly, how she can find Su to bring her home?

I was hooked immediately with a shocking opening line – honest and unabashed. A pacey read; I quite literally could not put this down. A modern subject matter which makes you question your own morals about sharing online video content and whether you think about the individual when you watch and discuss video’s like this.

I fell in love with Su. I felt her shame and despair and was on the edge of my seat wishing that in the end everything would be okay. This is a compelling and thought-provoking modern read exploring the impact of public humiliation on a family. At times, this made for some difficult reading. You can’t help but imagine yourself and your family if something like this ever happened to you and it sharply made me understand how important it is to have loyal friends and family to listen to all sides of the story.

Su and her family have a distinct lack of control during this dramatic episode and are locked in a comprehensive and convincing struggle. A story of this nature was intended to provoke thought rather than give you a traditional happy ending, which it certainly did. Absolutely fascinating to read – moving, uncomfortable but unputdownable.

four stars


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