Idol by Louise O’Neill
Idol by Louise O’Neill
UK Publication: May 2022
Reviewed by: Book Worm
This ARC was provided by Random House UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
One word review – Intense
Synopsis from Goodreads: ‘Follow your heart and speak your truth.’
For Samantha Miller’s young fans – her ‘girls’ – she’s everything they want to be. She’s an oracle, telling them how to live their lives, how to be happy, how to find and honour their ‘truth’.
And her career is booming: she’s just hit three million followers, her new book Chaste has gone straight to the top of the bestseller lists and she’s appearing at sell-out events.
Determined to speak her truth and bare all to her adoring fans, she’s written an essay about her sexual awakening as a teenager, with her female best friend, Lisa. She’s never told a soul but now she’s telling the world. The essay goes viral.
But then – years since they last spoke – Lisa gets in touch to say that she doesn’t remember it that way at all. Her memory of that night is far darker. It’s Sam’s word against Lisa’s – so who gets to tell the story? Whose ‘truth’ is really a lie?
‘You put yourself on that pedestal, Samantha. You only have yourself to blame.’
Riveting, compulsive and bold, IDOL interrogates our relationship with our heroes and explores the world of online influencers, asking how well we can ever really know those whose carefully curated profiles we follow online. And it asks us to consider how two memories of the same event can differ, and how effortlessly we choose which stories to believe.
My Thoughts: Wow well this book just about blew me away and that ending arrgghh.
O’Neill is not afraid to take on controversial issues and run with them. The reader is treated to a great book that raises many important issues around the idea of social media personalities, of how it is OK to blur the lines to get a start and how we never really know who anyone is when you only know them online.
The book also looks at cancel culture, at female/female abuse and how this is treated differently from male/female abuse, it looks at how intensely people experience things when they are young and how no two people ever have the same memories of the same event. It challenges the reader to question who they believe and why and to look beyond the echo chamber of social media.
A riveting look at the issues that still affect young women today and that society needs to do better to finally overcome.
Who would like this? I would recommend this to anyone who appreciates a nuanced look at social issues facing young women and who has no problem with unlikeable characters.
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