International Writers Magazine: Review
Inbox, by Holly Denham
Published by Headline Review
ISBN 978 0 7553 4374 4
know about you but I love to gossip! Whether its about the
hottest celebrity at the moment or just the woman down the road.
We all do it, whether we like to admit it or not. So how would you
feel if you had total access to someones email account and
could read everything that they sent and received? Wouldnt
that be the ultimate thrill? Well look no further because thanks
to Hollys Inbox you can!
It all started when Holly Denham started a website, www.hollysinbox.com,
which allowed the public to read every email that she sent and received.
It became a huge success and thousands of people were logging on everyday.
Eventually those emails got collected and published, and thank God that
they did because otherwise I would have never stumbled across this gem!
Hollys Inbox tells the story of this years Bridget
Jones, Holly Denham, a lovable, modern woman with the flaws of a real
person. We become entranced as she goes about her everyday life: starting
her new job as a receptionist and trying to escape her former life. Eventually,
Hollys love life becomes the main focus of her emails as she starts
dating her boss, later gets dumped by him and then has to continue working
with him as he dates other women. Every woman knows how crap this feels
so Holly becomes instantly lovable. Eventually, Hollys own dark
past is revealed, creating real empathy for the character and bringing
the story to a dramatic finale.
But Hollys Inbox is chick lit with a difference! Forget the
traditional form of the novel; this is the novel for the Facebook generation,
where we are used to learning and gossiping about our friends through
messages rather than actually talking to them. Facebook now allows us
to talk to, or about, anyone with anyone, no matter where they are in
the world. But is this really the amazing technological breakthrough that
it deserves to be? Or does it just emphasise how shallow our society has
become? We have become obsessed with watching others, and the media is
fuelling this obsession. Whether its reading Heat magazine or watching
Big Brother, society has never been more voyeuristic.
But why are people so fanatical about looking in todays world? Why
are we so interested in everyone elses life? Is it because our lives
are so boring we need to focus on someone elses? That would certainly
explain why soap operas are so popular today everyday we can tune
in and immerse ourselves in someone elses life and forget about
our own. Or perhaps it is the total opposite. Perhaps we focus so intently
on other peoples lives because we dont live in the happy,
fairytale land that can exist in books. We live in a world full of fear
and terror; a world in which love doesnt always end happily and
people can be lonely forever. If those were my options then I would certainly
want to escape into a book, into another persons life.
Hollys Inbox is one of those fantastic books that you can
completely throw yourself into, disappearing from your own world and nesting
comfortably in Hollys. Having such unguarded access to a character
like Holly makes you care more for her than you do your own real friends.
Full of pure, natural conversations and reactions rather then forced dialogue
or considered emotions, the realism of Hollys Inbox will simultaneously
shock and amaze you. It does not tell a characters story, it tells
the story of a real person. But be warned, once you pick this book up
you wont be able to put it back down again until you have discovered
all the secrets of Hollys Inbox.
© Chris Burden November 2007
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