My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Publisher - Transworld
Source - Netgalley
Blurb from Goodreads
What a thing of wonder a mobile phone is. Six ounces of metal, glass and plastic, fashioned into a sleek, shiny, precious object. At once, a gateway to other worlds - and a treacherous weapon in the hands of the unwary, the unwitting, the inept.
The Cleverley family live a gilded life, little realising how precarious their privilege is, just one tweet away from disaster. George, the patriarch, is a stalwart of television interviewing, a 'national treasure' (his words), his wife Beverley, a celebrated novelist (although not as celebrated as she would like), and their children, Nelson, Elizabeth, Achilles, various degrees of catastrophe waiting to happen.
Together they will go on a journey of discovery through the Hogarthian jungle of the modern living where past presumptions count for nothing and carefully curated reputations can be destroyed in an instant. Along the way they will learn how volatile, how outraged, how unforgiving the world can be when you step from the proscribed path.
Dear lord what an unsavoury bunch a lot of the characters are in this book, shady, shocking, hillarious, rude ooft so so many words where to start. Meet the Cleverley family, George father and beloved tv personality with the BBC, Beverley his wife is a novelist snob and a firm believer in staff knowing their place. They have three grown children, Nelson the eldest is a teacher and socially awkward but working through it with a therapist and uniforms. Elizabeth is a spoilt brat who cares more about social media presence than pretty much anything else. Achilles is the baby, seventeen and at school, beautiful, gift of the gab and very aware how much he can get out of his looks. The book follows each of the characters and what is happening in their lives and the impact of actions and consequences.
I cringed so so many times at scenes in this book, sometimes I laughed out loud, shook my head, gasped, got enraged. The book looks at so many themes and issues, how we as a society are tied up with social media, our phones, our public personas. The book looks at homophobia, transphobia, racism, being pc and I think by making the characters such extremes of what they are it punches it through. Even in these times people behave appallingly but often think they can get away with it because of who they are or "it is just an opinion" or hide behind a computer screen. Whilst there is a lot of humour laced throughout there are some very serious messages/lessons in the book.
I do enjoy Boyne's writing, I have read a few of his books and find even if the characters are loveable or you loathe them you can sink into their world and loose yourself for a few hours. Prepare for some entitled self involved shady cheating unlikable characters - I sometimes find books with horrid people are often then ones you end up glued to, they said WHAT?!?!?! 4/5 for me this time.
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