I hadn’t heard of ‘Dotty’ before, so I don’t think I’m the target demographic for this book, however I am fascinated and disturbed by the perpetual state of outrage that many people seem to find themselves in these days – particularly those I see flaunting their fume on social media.
A few years ago I read and enjoyed Jon Ronson’s ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ which I thought may have been an inspiration of sorts, for this book and indeed, Ronson does give a testimonial on the cover – so when I was offered a place to read this book via the Pigeonhole book club, I took it up with interest.
The book focuses mostly on outrage that circulates online – be that on Twitter, Facebook or via various Daily ‘news’ papers/sites. It’s an easy read, not very long at shy of 200 pages, and it is interesting, however as others have said it does present itself as a series of essays, or blog posts, cobbled together to call itself a book. It didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know or give me anything new to think about – but then, as I said, as woman in her 40s who has lived through the birth and subsequently alarming growth spurt of the permanently outraged, I have probably picked up a lot of this along the way. I spent a lot of my time shaking my head in disappointment (not outrage, you understand) at how people who claim to hate the Daily Mail do so by re-posting direct links to their ‘SHOCKING’ media stories thus earning them more and more money, and they genuinely don’t see the futility of this.
Dotty has an engaging and warm writing style, although she does labour some points a little too hard and I felt she lost her way a little in the latter half – seeming to contradict her own thoughts at times – but ultimately there were some good tips and recommendations at the ending that would prove useful to younger readers – and particularly older teens who may be getting swept up in and feeding the outrage model without realising it.
I’m glad I read this book for free as I think had I paid for it, I’d be a bit disappointed, but then having read the first few pages I probably would have assumed it was directed at younger readers who didn’t really understand the hamster wheel effect of outrage, and so wouldn’t have bought it.
However if you’ve got anyone that you would like to introduce to the concept of ‘fake news’ and how agendas can be pushed through less than transparent ways, then it’s not a bad book at all.