THE UGLY TRUTH
Melanie Lange has disappeared.
Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.
Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.
The media will say whichever gets them the most views.
But whose side are you on?
The #FreeBritney movement has had a lot of attention in the past few months, and The Ugly Truth is a fictional take on a similar situation, which focuses on how social media and the press can influence (and ruin) people’s lives.
The marketing of The Ugly Truth revolves around the question of whose side are you on – #SaveMelanie or #HelpPeter. The book is entirely written in the form of interview snippets, diary entries, newspaper articles and Twitter comments telling both sides of the sad tale of Melanie Lange. Melanie was thrust into fame at an early age and has been dominating the tabloid headlines ever since, but when she disappears, her fans are left wondering where she went – is she in rehab? Or is something more sinister going on?
I really enjoyed the writing style of The Ugly Truth - sometimes mixed-media snippet style narrative can keep you from engaging with the characters and make for a difficult read, but I was hooked throughout for most of this. I do think it felt a little long at times though and it did feel repetitive as you were hearing the same things multiple times from different perspectives.
Although a lot of the marketing for the book focuses on #SaveMelanie or #HelpPeter, I don’t really think the #HelpPeter movement is explored at all in the book. It’s either #SaveMelanie or don’t believe she’s in trouble - we never really fully believe that Peter is innocent and there isn’t really a convincing argument for his side of the story – we just have to read more to see how his character develops.
The plot of the story, and particularly its ending really hammers home the dark side of the press and how even small, judgmental comments on Twitter can really affect celebrities. It’s a warning about the way we conduct our lives online and the high price of Fame.
Overall, The Ugly Truth is a cautionary tale, I just wish there was more of a two-sided story at play. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers & Bantam Press for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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