Review: Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth


Title: Unfollow Me

Author: Charlotte Duckworth

Published: 15th October 2020, Quercus UK

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy Quercus/Netgalley

++++++

My Thoughts:

“It’s what you want, after all, isn’t it? Without an audience, without people like me watching, then what are you?”

When popular mummy-vlogger, Violet Young deletes all of her social media accounts without any warning or explanation, her millions of fans are left to speculate as to the reasons why.

Unfolding primarily from the perspectives of two of Violet’s most ardent followers, Lily, and Yvonne, and Violet’s husband, Henry, Unfollow Me is a story of obsession, secrets, betrayal, deception and yearning.

Lily, a widowed single mother, is devastated by Violet’s sudden disappearance. She’s been an admirer of Violet, and the image of family perfection she projects, since the birth of her own son. Yvonne is a photographer in her 40’s, newly married and desperate to conceive, her interest in Violet has little to to do with her channel content though. Henry refuses to comment on his wife’s actions, fuelling gossip among her followers, and suspicion from Lily and Yvonne.

“Nothing about her was accidental. It was all meticulously constructed, her carefree façade, when in truth she was in control of everything the whole time.”

None of these characters however are quite who they present to be, hiding aspects of themselves from others, and even themselves. The women have a relationship to Violet marked by an uncomfortable mix of reverence, envy and resentment. Neither is Henry the perfect husband he is portrayed as in Violet’s vlog.

The plot is timely as Duckworth explores issues related to the social media influencer zeitgeist, among them the veracity of the carefully constructed facade presented by influencers; the entitled obsession and fickle nature of their fans; the perceived exploitation of minor children, the line between a public and private persona, and the culture of trolling.

“I just . . . I just lost all sense of what was appropriate.’”

I had some issues with the pacing, finding the latter half a little slow and a touch repetitive, which reduced the tension. There are some entertaining and unexpected twists, but not much in the way of excitement.

I thought Unfollow Me was an engaging read with a modern, interesting premise but not as gripping as I had hoped.

++++++

Available from Quercus UK

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I HiveUK