Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review - Kiss Me First by: Lottie Moggach

Title: Kiss Me First
Author: Lottie Moggach
Publisher: Picador
Pages: 337
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase


On the internet, we can be anyone we choose. No one knows who we really are. Sheltered and obsessive, Leila spends more time online than out in the real world. So she seems the ideal person to take over the virtual identity of the vivacious and fragile Tess, who wants to disappear. But even with all the facts at her fingertips, there are things that Leila can’t possibly know about Tess – or herself – until it is too late . .

My thoughts:

I was rather intrigued by this book, probably because it came right after I was done with Talking Back to Facebook, which led me to constantly think about internet and social media's roles in our lives. I am a person who is very much addicted to the internet, to the point where I freak out if I don't have an internet connection. The main character of the book, Leila, on the other hand, has taken this addiction to a whole different, uncomfortable level.

I don't remember whom Kiss Me First was recommended to me by. And, I must admit, I almost wasn't going to bother with it when I saw it being compared to Gone Girl, which I didn't really enjoy. But the fact that it handled internet addiction and was targeted toward young adults grabbed my attention anyway. Leila is a young girl who starts making money on the internet (not in an illegal way or anything before your mind wonders off) after her mother's death. While she's not playing World of Warcraft online, she's hanging out in forums, which is something I too did a lot in my teens. Her forum of choice is one called Red Pill, and he manages to get the founder Adrian's attention with her smart comments and attitude toward life. This is how she comes to accepts a job he has for her: continuing a women called Tess's internet presence after she kills herself.

I must say that I got myself getting quite bored with Leila and everything in her life until a bit more than half of the book. Because Leila is also the narrator, we have to read through what she thinks is important at the time. Even though this might be the case, I couldn't help wondering whether or not I would accept such a job if it ever came up...

Adrian thinks that everyone has the right to do whatever they want with their bodies. People he finds, people like Leila, are hired to "help" those who want to do just that by committing suicide. As a person who's lost loved ones to suicide, I have to believe that there is a good reason for them to choose to do that. What I don't understand is what they might gain from having someone impersonate them on the internet to help them "fade away."

Just think about it: you think your close friend has moved to another country. You e-mail each other everyday, message on Facebook and keep up with each other's lives. However, that friend is already dead and the person you think she is is a stranger who supposedly has enough knowledge to keep up the act. If this isn't disturbing beyond words, then what is it?

There is also Leila's character development, which leads to her actually wanting the life that Tess lost, even almost wanting to be Tess. She gets to wrapped up in this that when an old fling of Tess's gets in touch with her, Leila is sure he is actually falling in love with her, and not Tess. This was very disturbing for me as well, but I guess it is expected from a young girl who knows nothing about real life except for what she reads about it online. 

Kiss Me First has made me realize once again just how dangerous the internet can be and how everyone should really be more educated about it.
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