Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (6/11)
“Stockholm” takes us into the world of advertising specialist Anakin Carver. Each chapter of his life is shared with us as a colorfully, well described episode. During this time period, which appears to be in our near future, everything operates through social networking profiles. The government has deemed these profiles to be mandatory to each citizen. Accepting friendship requests is also deemed mandatory because you don’t want to hurt someone by rejecting their request. Privacy is a thing of the past. Advertising, socializing, and consumerism, can all be managed through each person’s profile.
In Anakin’s case, he meets a Natasha von Ottmann who is a beautiful actress whom he helps make famous. While he is working with her, he also finds himself falling for her. As they work together on his campaign, they have to deal with issues brought forth by others, including Anakin’s coworkers. Life is never very easy, but when everything you do is tracked by others, and the main part of your job is to encourage this via social media, life becomes much more difficult and convoluted.
Initially, while I enjoyed the unique idea of taking our current social networking mania one step beyond in a fictionalized story, I felt it was a little far-fetched. But as I sat enjoying this book, I found myself frequently distracted by the buzzing of my cell phone to let me know that I had an incoming email. The majority of these emails were from my Facebook account. As I read people commenting on the state of their health, curiosity over why someone un-friended them, or personal comments about other people’s profiles, I began to realize that the author really didn’t place this story too far into the future. In spite of my enjoyment of the story, I found this reality to be a bit disturbing.
I highly recommend reading “Stockholm” for two reasons. The first reason is the pure enjoyment that you will get from reading a well written drama that is based upon quirky engaging characters. The second reason is that there is an aspect of reality tied to this plot that I believe we should use as a wake-up call for ourselves so that we be more aware of how much personal information we share via social networking. If in doubt, leave it out!