Whispers Through A Megaphone by Rachel Elliott

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Whispers Through A Megaphone by Rachel Elliott

Buy Whispers Through A Megaphone by Rachel Elliott at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: As a literary debut, Whispers Through A Megaphone is so good it will give you chills and even if this was not Rachel Elliott’s first book, it is indescribably good. In analysing this over-connected world that hums constantly with social media, the author asks a great question: is it actually possible to disconnect from virtual reality and find the real thing?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: September 2015
Publisher: One
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0992918224

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Longlisted for the 2016 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction

Miriam doesn’t speak. Well, that’s not strictly true. She does speak, but nothing above a whisper which makes it hard to have a conversation with her. Particularly as she hasn’t left her house in three years. But today is the day. She’s going to open that door and walk outside. She really is. Ralph has finally twigged (and with no small amount of surprise) that his wife Sadie doesn’t actually love him. And now he’s not sure if she ever really did. Having spent so much time regurgitating his every moment onto Social Media, Ralph hasn’t really had a chance to think about it. But now he has, it is so shockingly awful that he has decided to run away. And of all the places he could run away to, he has chosen the same woods that Miriam has picked to be the first place she will visit out-of-doors. And Sadie? Well, she’s had enough of reading Tweets and living vicariously through the posts of others. Sadie is going to have an adventure of her own.

It is with great skill that Rachel Elliott guides us through Miriam’s story; seeing her emerge, butterfly-like from beneath the oppressive shadow of her mother and the dismay of Ralph’s light bulb moment regarding the sad state of his marriage and the rejection he feels through to the almost palpable confusion that Sadie suffers as she looks at her life and doesn’t really recognise the person living it.

Whispers Through A Megaphone is not just a great first novel; it’s wonderful. The back and forth between the characters as we see them progress toward great life change and the inevitable introspection reading a story like this brings. The Social Media angle was fascinating – particularly as I have latterly discovered that the author is without Twitter or FaceBook accounts. Because even if you’re not a prolific user of Social Media, even if you don’t go anywhere near FaceBook or Twitter, it’s impossible to avoid it in one way or another. Anyone with a FaceBook profile will tell you that they get sick of reading about other people’s minutiae and regularly log out and delete the App. But they always go back to it.

Whispers Through A Megaphone is a real slow-burn of a book and if you like complex characters, then this is definitely one for you. I’m not going to tell you a single thing more about the story, because you should read it yourself and perhaps you too will find yourself in a reflective frame of mind. Maybe you will delete your Social Media accounts and maybe you won’t. But I bet you look at that incessant stream differently afterwards.

Rachel Elliott’s debut may very well be up your alley and if you think it is, you might also like to take a look at Hilary and David by Laura Solomon because we very much enjoyed it here at Bookbag. Perhaps you don’t do Social Media at all or have found it all too ugly for your liking, in which case you really ought to read You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett, as whilst it is technically a Young Adult novel, I think every parent ought to read it, since it covers media manipulation, cyber-bullying, body image, romance, friendship, making choices and doing it all with incredible heart and a wonderful cast of characters.

Finally our huge thanks to the kind folks at One for sending us this copy for review – you certainly have a winner on your hands here!

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