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Book Review: The List

Title: The List

Series: -

Author: Yomi Adegoke

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: 20th July 2023

Pages: 372

Source: Purchased

Rating: ✰✰✰✰.5

CAWPILE: 8.86/10


Synopsis


Ola Olajide, a celebrated journalist at Womxxxn magazine, is set to marry the love of her life in one month’s time. Young, beautiful, and successful—she and her fiancé Michael are considered the “couple goals” of their social network and seem to have it all. That is, until one morning when they both wake up to the same message: “Oh my god, have you seen The List?”


It began as a crowdsourced collection of names and somehow morphed into an anonymous account posting allegations on social media. Ola would usually be the first to support such a list—she’d retweet it, call for the men to be fired, write article after article. Except this time, Michael’s name is on it.


Compulsively readable, wildly entertaining, and filled with sharp social insight, The List is a piercing and dazzlingly clear-sighted debut about secrets, lies, and the internet. Perfect for fans of Such a Fun Age, Luster, and My Dark Vanessa, this is a searing portrait of these modern times and our morally complicated online culture.



Review


From the moment I saw posters for this being put up at Croydon’s Waterstones I was intrigued, sat at a bench outside I googled what it was, and reading the synopsis my jaw dropped. My greedy little fingers immediately preordered it, and it is safe to say I was counting down the days until I could get my hands on it. I think what Adegoke has done is really clever as she has appealed to the absolute worst inside of us immediately, she has you wanting to know - What has Michael done, and is it true? 


This immediate reaction from us is part of the larger conversation within the book I think, our inherent nosiness and the gossip like nature of jumping on a scandal. The need to know, to be outraged. It was something I really enjoyed, and I loved how she reminded the reader that these issues are complex, that there are so many grey areas, and how we react is definitely one of them. She does a really good job at making you as the reader feel uncomfortable, because at so many points in the book you’re conflicted, desperately wanting a side but she points out how utterly impossible the situation often is. At times it felt like a horror to me, how the situation unfolds so slowly before you and the impending sense of dread that more is going to happen, you know it isn’t quite done.


I think there was some really good commentary, from the themes especially, the book looked at sexual assault, victim blaming, echo-chambers, social media pile ons, cancel culture, accountability and how we perceive ourselves. Honestly, there is probably so much more but this is what immediately springs to mind for me. It really made me think about being online and how we react to situations.


This is something I especially thought of in relation to the book community, especially book twitter and how quick people can be to cancel others or authors for things purely based on what one account says, without further research. Now don’t get me wrong, certain situations there is lots of evidence for so it is understandable to distance from them, but others there isn’t, and the vitriol from some people towards those accused / people who may genuinely not know about the situation is often awful. There seems to be an assumption from certain areas of the book community that everyone should know everything, even if it happened before they joined the community, and it doesn’t sit right with me. For a community that loves reading, you’d think we’d have a better understanding that there are grey areas in life, and that sides are not always black and white.


Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I quite literally could not put this book down, I messaged my friend Tazmyn (@teabooksandtazmyn) to say that it was on my imminent TBR at lunch time, started it a few hours later and then at 11PM sent them a follow up message saying that why have to read it because it is so good and booked in to go to the lush book club for it the next day! I liked how complex the characters were, neither good or bad and I cannot wait to see what Adegoke does next! 


Edit: It's been 9 months since I wrote this review (August 2023), and a lot of it still stands. However, one thing I don't think I touched on enough was how awful the characters were throughout it, at times they did feel insufferable which was frustrating! And a lot of it I think could possibly have been cut so the pacing was slightly off, but the intrigue really got me through. Posting this now as my book club (London Girls Book Club) has chosen it as the book of the month!

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