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?
Viral by Helen Fitzgerald is a shocking and very topical novel that really made me think about the effect that the internet, and today’s ‘instant share’ culture has on society.
The story is fast paced and Fitzgerald creates some brilliant, convincing characters. You really feel for poor Su; although many will see her as naive and stupid (which she was!), she certainly didn’t deserve to have this happen to her, and it made my blood boil reading about the experience she had in Magaluf. I won’t give too much away about the storyline as I don’t want to ruin it for those who don’t know much about it.
Viral certainly doesn’t paint this kind of drinking culture in Magaluf in a positive light- though we all know what goes on there to a certain extent, it’s so shocking that the bar reps encourage this kind of behaviour, and that there are so many young men willing to participate without thinking about what they’re doing at all, it seems. Her sister really fails on looking after her, and it could be easy to blame her for this, but I blame the others involved.
I really enjoyed reading about her determined mother’s efforts to bring the people in the video to justice, and though it all got pretty strange and crazy towards the end I still really enjoyed reading every minute! You feel like you really get to know the family as the novel goes on too, as we read more of their backstory.
I’d really recommend this novel- it’s easy to read and very entertaining. Just try not to think too much about the content because it will hugely sadden/ piss you off!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.