Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Viral by Helen FitzGerald – Independent on Sunday Review

Helen FitzGerald, Viral: ‘Humiliation, guilt, and a mother’s fearsome revenge’, book review

FitzGerald’s depiction of teens on a drink and drugs-fuelled holiday in a notorious party town feels unnervingly close to the mark

Helen FitzGerald’s eleventh novel opens with a killer sentence – not suitable for a family newspaper – that sets the tone for the rest of the book, which is a forensic exploration of a family mired in a modern crisis. When one family member goes off the rails, there are unexpected repercussions for the rest.

Teenager Su, adopted from South Korea as a baby, lives in Scotland with her snarky sister Leah, her musician father Bernard, and her mother Ruth, who is a judge in the Scottish court system.

Leah is only allowed to go on holiday to Magaluf if she takes sensible, hard-working Su with her.  Su reluctantly goes along and submits to Leah’s efforts to turn her into a party girl in the hope it will bring them close again. Things don’t go to plan and Su, drunk and possibly drugged, performs a sex act on several young men in a night club.

To make things worse, someone has filmed it and posted it to the web where it goes viral. Leah and her friends go home and Su, humiliated and feeling cast adrift, decides that finding her birth mother is the answer to her problems.

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Author:

Freelance writer, reviewer and radio presenter/producer. Cats Protection Giffnock & District Branch volunteer

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