Follow Me by author Kathleen Barber
Follow Me is a popular thriller that alternates perspectives between Instagram influencer Audrey, her old college friend Cat, and her new stalker. It’s a digital age stalker story that does little to upgrade any old tropes.
The basic premise is that Audrey shares all of her life online. This leads to an unknown until the ending male to become obsessed with her and try to bring her into his life in reality. Meanwhile, Audrey becomes ever more frightened by everyone around her because she knows someone is manipulating her and her belongings but doesn’t know who or how to stop it.
I’m going to come out with the main problem with this book right off the bat. It’s sexist. But not in the way that you probably assume when anyone says something is sexist. No, this book is extremely sexist against men.
Every male character in this book is a creep, pervert, and/or amalgam of many negative male stereotypes. There’s the ex who still wants to have lots of sex and can’t let Audrey move on. There’s the gropey coworker who no one seems to report for sexual harrassment. There’s the creepy drug dealing thief of a neighbor. The weirdo who can’t stop staring and intimidating Audrey at work. And of course there is the NiceGuy TM who obviously won’t be as good as he appears.
There are no redeeming male characters in this entire book. All of them are written to be scum. That’s pretty sexist if you ask me. Everybody is always crying for strong female characters. Well, I just want real characters all around.
Besides the sexism the writing is simple. It’s an easy book that is enjoyable enough to read as long as you don’t put any extra thought into it. Perfect for an airplane ride for less discerning readers.
However, if you are a discerning reader you may notice that the last third of the book makes very little sense. There is a plot that runs between Cat and Audrey’s new boyfriend Max that I found unbelievable, uneccessary, and utterly clumsy.
The author seemingly has attempted to deepen the plot with an unusual backstory but all it does is muddle it. Sometimes less is more.
The ending itself is also weak, Spoilers ahead!
Why in the world would I think it’s a happy ending for Audrey to end up settling for her loser ex boyfriend after a stalker scare? That’s just really sad. She’s now too afraid to try anyone new so she just stays with the guy who thinks with his dick and has never taken her out on a proper date? No, that’s pathetic, not empowering.
Also, why in the world did Cat go to jail and not Max? Seems like there would be a ton of evidence against the actual stalker for him to be imprisoned too… He was even so careless as to label his stalker folder of pictures after the person he was stalking and put it right on his computer desktop! He’s not that bright!
Mini rant over.
What I can give Follow Me credit for is keeping me interested. I did want to see how far the stalker would take things. I wanted to see if my assumption of who it was was correct. I wanted to finish the story. I may not have been happy with it but I didn’t want to leave it unfinished and that’s something.
2/5 selfies 🤳🤳
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For an indie thriller check out A Trade in Tears
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