“It’s not about the $200, which I could most definitely use. It’s the principle.”
Psychological warfare heats up on the Internet in author Holly Brown’s thriller, THIS IS NOT OVER (William Morrow).
Thirty-year old Dawn Thiebold grew up poor in a lousy Northern California town. She’s about to graduate from college and is married to a guy who gives her pretty much whatever she wants, but that’s not enough. They live in a rundown apartment luckily in the best part of the city and her sometimes too perfect husband takes her on long weekends to luxurious rentals, where she makes believe she’s rich.
Dawn belongs to Getaway.com, an online rental site and finds a perfect beach house in Santa Monica. After a less than perfect vacay, she receives a letter from her host, Miranda telling her she’s keeping half of Dawn’s deposit because she found a “stain” on the sheets. This hits a nerve with Dawn, who immediately wants to lash out and find out just who this Miranda woman thinks she is.
Dawn looks into Miranda, finds out she owns two homes, one in Beverly Hills, she’s married to a doctor and obviously wealthy. This doesn’t sit right with Dawn who feels as if she’s being ripped off and that her host is stealing from her. After less than civil email exchanges, in which Miranda insinuates she’s better and cleaner than Dawn, Dawn is ready to take this Internet fight to a new level. She leaves a scathing review on Getaway.com about Miranda’s rental.
This is not over.
Miranda Feldt is well off , but despite the image she projects, her life is far from perfect. Miranda is dealing with her son, Thad who is a drug addict and a husband who has cut him off, after repeated chances for Thad to get clean. He makes it known that Miranda is not to have contact with Thad in any way, but Miranda is a classic enabler, and living a secret. She uses the money she makes from renting out the Santa Monica house, which her father left to her, to financially support and stay in contact with Thad. When the negative review posts, Miranda’s revenue is in jeopardy.
This is far from over.
The tension increases, exchanges on the Internet and text messages continue to escalate until finally Dawn and Miranda have their day of reckoning.
Brown’s novel captures how social media has changed the entire landscape of communicating; the projections, misperceptions and how it can embolden writer to lash out behind by the veil of anonymity.
The novel is written with alternating narratives between Dawn and Miranda. You can feel the tension and anger rising, but there were also sections while reading that I felt the fighting had gone on too long. Enough already, ladies. The prose was repetitive and needed an editor’s eye.
THIS IS NOT OVER is coming out at a highly relevant time. Personally, the novel made me revisit how much information I have made accessible on the Internet and perhaps, I need to take a moment and breathe before sending that next email or text. A good rule of thumb is responding, rather than reacting.
Holly Brown lives with her husband and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she’s a practicing marriage and family therapist. Her blog, “Bonding Time”, is featured on Psychcentral.com, a mental health website with 1.5 million visitors per month. For more, visit hollybrownbooks.com.
We have one copy of THIS IS NOT OVER to giveaway. Just tell us if you’ve ever gotten into a nasty exchange via the web or text-messaging. We’ll announce a winner next Monday, the 23rd.
USA only, please.