Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lottie Moggach's Debut Novel Takes Readers Into Internet Relationships and Realities(?)

"I'm not yet sure what I'm going to do with this. Nothing, probably. I'm certainly not going to put it up online. I know that's what we "young people" are supposed to do, but it never appealed to me. Volunteering unasked for information presuming others will be interested in one's life, seems both pointless and impolite. Of course, on Red Pill we'd present our opinions, but that was different. There it was a rational discussion about a philosophical topic, not a splurge of whatever random thing came into our heads. It's true that some people did use the site as a kind of confessional, posting long accounts of their "journey" and what terrible childhoods they had, using it as an outlet for their angst. But I didn't join in with that. I never said anything personal. In fact, apart from Adrian, I don't think anyone there knew what age I was, or even that I am a girl.
"So, the first thing I want to say is that it's not true that Adrian "preyed" on the "vulnerable" and "socially isolated." The police psychologist, Diana, kept on going on about it too, making a big deal about mum dying and me living alone. But firstly, by the time I had found the site mum had been dead for almost three months and, secondly, it wasn't as if I'd never gone near a computer when she was alive. It's true that my online activity did increase after she died, but that seems a natural consequence of having so much more free time..."
Kiss Me First
By Lottie Moggach

Do you enjoy Chick Lit? Drama? Are you intimately involved with your computer? Then, check out this Debut novel by Lottie Moggach. It has much to offer to young individuals who dream of finding the right partner on the Internet, or uses the computer to connect with people with similar thoughts and interests... I confess that my own experience made this less than interesting for me, but you see, I've been there; done that...LOL!

So what does that say? I guess it means that if you haven't already learned, you'll be learning about what kinds of trouble you can get into if you read this book... For some of you, you may also find yourself as one of the characters. If so, please read it through so you'll understand that what you think you know about the Internet is far from true...

"Tell me Miss Leila, are you familiar with the claim
argument?" he asked.
"Now we're back to the proper interview, I thought.
Unfortunately, I didn't know what he was referring
to, I thought I could work it out rationally if I had a
minute, but Adrian didn't seem to mind my lack of
response and carried on.
"It says that not only do we not have the right to
prevent those who wish to end their lives from doing
do, but that we actually have a duty to help them, if
"Like in euthanasia?" I said.
"Well, yes," said Adrian. "But it's more encompassing
than that. And it may not be to do the actual act of
suicide itself. Put it this way--should there be a situation
when someone whom you judge to be of sound mind
asks you to help them in some way or other to end their
life, then--so says the claim argument--it is your duty
to do so..."
"I nodded. "Of course. Under the claim argument it'd
be my duty."
"He smiled at me, dazzlingly. "You really are an
extraordinary young woman, aren't you? I bet people
around you haven't appreciated this as much as they
This is a chilling story of what can happen online. If you don't believe it is possible, I believe you are wrong. The specific story might be different, but the potentials that are there are real...

Leila is the main character. She's a young inexperienced woman, early 20s, who just lost her mother to MS. She's alone for the first time ever. In the past she made money online by testing software and other short-term jobs as she cared for her mother. Then she killed her...

She believed that her mother had the right to choose to die and she helped her do that, even though they had never talked about it...

Leila was a thinker, quite intelligent and had excellent computer skills. With Google search, she learned about anything she wanted to know. So that when she found "Red Pill," a site that debated ethics, and other intellectual concepts, she felt right at home and quickly became totally involved...

Then one day Adrian, the guru of the site asked to meet her and proposed what she should consider a job... A woman wanted to die, and she wanted somebody to take over her identity so that she could slowly fall out of the lives of friends and family, not knowing she had committed suicide...

Leila carefully considered what he said and tentatively agreed and then started communicating with Tess, again challenging whether she was really serious about this. For me, this was where the novel bogged down because, of course, in order to "play" Tess, Leila had to get to know her very well! And as a computer researcher, Leila was diligent...so diligent that I kept waiting for Tess to say that Leila was driving her crazy and to forget about it. She didn't though, so if you begin to feel the same way, keep reading because the book does get much better.

All of a sudden then, Tess is gone, and Leila is Tess, and she answers emails, signs in on Facebook as Tess, talks with her friends, posts about where she is now living--yes, Leila's future for Tess was to move to Canada to a spot so remote that nobody would ever decide to drop over to visit. Actually, Leila did an excellent job, if you didn't think about what the end of the project was to be...

Perhaps you can imagine what Leila might have gotten into. There are some scene and time changes that I thought were hard to follow, but by the time you are back into the book, most individuals will have picked up on why Leila was still "working..." The most interesting issue that I found was the discussions on right to die...and if you believe in that concept, how far can and would you go...Of course, there's no answer to be found here...but it does give you time to think about it. The character Tess, who is a manic-depressive is well portrayed, I believe, and pulls in the issue of taking medication that may not be the right medication, resulting in people choosing not to take it at all... Check out other reviews as well...I have mixed feelings on this one...


Lottie Moggach is a journalist who has written for The Times, Financial Times, Time Out, Elle, GQ and The London Paper. She lives in north London. Kiss Me First is her first novel.

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