Friend Request is a mind-blowing thriller starring the mother of a four-year-old boy. Basically this is The Girl on the Train meets Big Little Lies.
What it’s about
Louise is your pretty average Londoner. She’s got a pokey little flat, an ex-husband, a four-year-old son, a good friend or two, a taste for wine and a freelance interior design business.
Life is not perfect but it’s not terrible.
She also harbours a deep-seated guilt over her part in the death of Maria Weston, a girl who died at their highschool leavers’ party more than 20 years ago. But, you know, it’s 20 years in the past so she’s learned to live with it, more or less.
Until she’s invited to her 20 year highschool reunion. And she starts getting Facebook messages from Maria Weston… the dead girl.
What I thought of it
I absolutely loved this book. I could not put it down and by the end I felt utterly breathless.
Friend Request starts out like your standard women’s fiction book. Told in the first person by Louise, she offers us a few whines, washed down by a few wines and a couple of entertaining anecdotes about losing-at-life. Nothing too uncomfortable.
Then the weird messages start arriving on Facebook.
Louise starts digging up her past and things go from WHAT THE? to OH MY! and down the rabbit hole we go. The pace picks up and just does not stop until the ending, which I actually did not see coming but made so much sense in retrospect.
I loved the way Laura Marshall puts social media front and centre. In 2017 Facebook is a part of most people’s lives – some more so than others. She weaves into narrative an ongoing commentary about the way we use Facebook to pretend we’re something more than we actually are, or to beat ourselves up by believing others’ curated versions of themselves.
If you hate Facebook, you’ll love this novel – it will vindicate every belief you have about the way it negatively affects our lives.
If, like me, you’re a bit of a Facebook addict, it’ll have you pausing before you tap on that little blue icon on your phone again (but probably only for a second, because you HAVE TO KNOW what lies behind that red notification icon).
Ultimately though, Friend Request shows that there were just as many people entirely lacking in manners and social skills (and basic human decency) in 1989 as there are in 2017.
Grab a copy of Friend Request from your favourite bookshop or online from:
Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. This post contains affiliate links.