Social media – love it or hate it, we all have a relationship with it and it defines us to a point and especially in confinement, we may have rethought our use of it.

This book may have been written before the world changed, but it comes at the perfect time. Disguised as a story about social media, Kelly Harms makes us analyse our family relationships, our life and our anxieties.

For some, social media was/is the saviour in unprecedented times, a way to stay social, stay updated, and stay in touch with loved ones. For others, it became a source of stress and anxiety and they stayed away from the “online world” as much as possible to limit their exposure to bad news.

Your Internet Usage: How Long Are You Really Spending on Your Devices?(Opens in a new browser tab)

Whatever your path, you learn something about society and about yourself.

Mia’s life is social media. She is an influencer on the Pictey platform; her every move is shared online to her followers and everything she does has to be picture-perfect. Except it’s not. Being told days before your perfect (sponsored) wedding that it’s “not happening” is not picture-perfect.

Paige’s life is also social media. Not that she is on it herself that much, but it is her job. Daily, she checks flags on the Pictey page. One night, she turns off her computer and leaves work, not knowing the next flag was a cry for help from her sister on Mia’s post.

Both women have decisions to make: Mia fakes her wedding for her followers, then throws her phone off the mountain, goes dark and experiences screen-free life for the first time in years.

The Bright Side of Going Dark Kelly Harms

Paige, forced to take a break from work, goes to see her sister in hospital and spends some time investigating Mia, the woman who her sister idolises so much she appealed to her in her hour of darkness.

The women’s lives become entwined and Kelly Harms carefully weaves in stories of anxiety, family and grief into the story. What started out as a story about screens and online presence very quickly develops into something much more human. Buried family histories surface, the women deal with pain they had tried to supress, and we all question what life is really about, and how we can influence people around us on and offline.

The Bright Side of Going Dark, by Kelly Harms; available with Lake Union Publishing from 12th May 2020; ISBN 978-1542020916

Order it on Amazon here, currently £1 to read on kindle.

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