Friday, June 26, 2020

Fugly, by Claire Waller

At 18, Beth is an overweight outcast in a dysfunctional family.  In her own words, she's "fugly." Out in public she tries to be invisible.  She maintains an unhealthy relationship with bing eating and purging.

She's also a talented troll, able to dish out abuse and ruthlessly attacking and destroying people online whom she feels deserve her wrath because they are "too beautiful." Even she acknowledges that it may not be something to be proud of, but it gives her some comfort.  Then she meets another girl online named Tori, who turns out to be a kindred spirit in the trolling game.  However, Tori's much more brutal on line than Beth has ever considered being.  And while Tori's escapades seem initially thrilling, Beth has second thoughts when Tori starts attacking people closer to home.

The overall problem of this novel is the protagonist herself.  There's next to nothing to admire in the character.  She's self-pitying, self-centered, and mean.  I flat out hated her.  I felt no sympathy for her plight as it was largely self-inflicted and I didn't mind when it comes back to bite her on the ass.  A secondary problem is the utterly predictable outcome of the story.  There is no element of surprise beyond the idea that Beth could be unaware of what was going to happen to her. 

The originality of the story's idea saves this book from the trash bin, but I'd honestly give Beth and her story the treatment that all trolls deserve:  being ignored.

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