Virtual truths and reality

2010-06-23 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

blueeyedboy

Joanne Harris

Doubleday

B.B. is not what he seems to be to the other members of his online writing group. To them he is a slick but solid killer who mercilessly plots the death of his hated mother, writing about it with flair and wit.

His virtual community has elements of those found in real life, and all of its members seem to use his writing to fulfill some need they have. In turn, their comments and praise feed his desire for acceptance and popularity.

In stark contrast, he is, in reality, a socially inept hospital porter in his 40s, living with his overbearing mother. As he writes, aspects of his past are played out online and he connects up with Albertine, a woman he knew as a child. B.B.’s twisted relationships with his brothers are examined and the mystery of a blind girl who could see sounds is painfully unravelled.

Note: skim readers beware. Read this book carefully, and if you find your concentration lapsing, re-read what you missed. The plot moves swiftly at times and you may be left scratching your head and wondering why something doesn’t fit. Also, in terms of the online entries, all is often not as it seems and the online entries are not 100% reliable, but it is worth suspending your belief that everything should add up all of the time, and to dive in, but bear in mind that this may be the type of book that reads better the second time.

A psychological thriller woven around the concept of multiple ­identities, masks and simulated personas online, blueeyedboy is a well­written, captivating book.

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