M’s drunk review of Followers by Megan Angelo
What I drank prior: it’s our last Disney watch night! For those who don’t know, S and I have been rewatching ALL of the animated Disney movies from start to finish. It’s been a lot but we made it!! Tonight I’ve been drinking a Spainish Tempranillo—not tomorrow, I mean normally, a fan but into this one.
An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the stunning moment that changes the world as we know it forever
Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss―a striving wannabe A-lister―who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss’s methods are a little shady and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can’t be wrong.
Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.
Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.
My Summary: The events of this book take place pre- and post- a cataclysmic event called “The Spill” that effected life as we know it. Pre-Spill is the era as we know it with a focus on social media and (bad) reality TV from the perspective of an influencer. Post-era focuses on Marlow, also an influencer, but of a different sort. In post-Spill, the reality TV stars, if you will, are all stuck in this fake reality world where they all live together and promote products basically. Everything they say or do is immediately read by the influencer in their head (never read the comments!).
Spoiler-free Thoughts: There was a lot that I liked here. There was also a lot that didn’t really speak to me. Like I get it sort of, but also the big event of the past tense timeline left a lot to be desired IMO. And there’s a lot that is fucked yo here too that really through me for a loop. TW include: suicide, infant loss, drug dependence, depression, privacy, attempted rape, white supremacy, certainly not in the right order.
Characters: In the past, we have our main character Orla, an aspiring journalist-turned-influencer who uses her position for her own gain. If I’m totally honest I did not love her by any stretch, but I didn’t think she was as morally corrupt at first as I think the author wanted me to think. But girl does not stand up for herself literally once and is too much of a wallflower for me to root for. And she was obsessed with a dude who totally sucked. Her efforts also elevate the brand of Floss, the eventual reality star and overall totally shitty person. That said, she did know what she wants and I can respect that more than w/e Orla was doing.
In the present, we have our main girl Marlow. I did like Marlow. She has a really shitty past and haha handled it the best way she could (and was coerced into). But she takes action to change it so good for her. I really can’t say more about how terrible her situation is, IMO. Her husband is literally the worst. Like, ew.
Plot: There were some pacing issues here (see below) but overall I really liked how the different timelines progressed together. Don’t get it twisted, there weren’t really any parallels between the two women’s experiences. But if I were guessing that is intentional. It still works though in a weird way. I didn’t love the ending and the plot seemed to stall at places, but im sure this won’t bother others as much as it did me.
World Building: As far as the world building, I really, really wish we got pieces and chunks of the supposedly massive event throughout the book. It seems like, ya know, a pretty big deal for them to reference throughout the book and make like THE event. Instead, we just kind of got a data dump very close to the end of the book. Questions I wanted answers to, yea, but I think it could have been done better. I do think the author did a decent job of building the Constellation influencer bubble and adequately making us understand what it means to be in there.
Writing Style: The style here was second person, I think? I’m not totally remembering now. Either way, I didn’t feel super connected to the characters for whatever that is worth re: writing style.
TL;DR: TBH I’m not even sure what I just wrote above, but this is a fairly middle to middle upper book. Read if you have any interest or knowledge in influencer stuff.
Drink Pairing: Champs all the way. Probably the cheap pink stuff (which I do enjoy).
Rating: 3.5/5 shots. There was some good here, but can’t totally say I loved it.