People like her by Ellery Lloyd
Emmy, Dan and their children Coco and Bear seem to have it all. They live in a Georgian town house in London and have all the trappings of success. Emmy is an “influencer” with thousands of followers on instagram. She is Mamabare to her fans. She posts insights into her life as a mother of her two children and responds to fans (and haters) giving advice and support to other mothers.
Dan is a writer who published novel several years ago and his publisher would love him to publish another. He just doesn’t seem to be able get it right. He is conflicted, he has no study where he can write in peace and he has to fit in with the Mamabare brand.
Emmy has an agent, Irene, who has a stable of other influencers, sports stars and A listers she manages and carefully profiles. Emmy is one of her big earners and she has outlined exactly what she needs to do to retain her image and keep the endorsements coming in. Emmy is a business - a very carefully managed one. Mamabare is like producing and editing a magazine, photos are shot weeks in advance and edited to look spontaneous, there are streams on topical themes tags to her influencer friends and precision planned hash tags.
In truth Mamabare and her family is a fiction. There is a lot of air brushing and a huge amount of stage managing. When the Sunday Times reporter and photographer arrive the house was artfully untidy and Emmy was studiously imperfect to suit her image as the somewhat harassed mother of a toddler and baby.
Dan on the other hand is becoming more disturbed at the way the children are being used to promote an image especially when Coco’s birthday party is an enormous event with product endorsement and placement at its centre.
Their lives are turned upside down when the lives of Emmy and Bear are threatened, and Emmy’s Mamabare persona revealed as a fake, life changes but not as much as you would think.
Ellery Lloyd is the pseudonym for husband and wife writers Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos. Their peek into the lives of a celebrity couple is a revelation especially for readers who are not part of the whole online “instaworld”. The careful grooming and management of these ordinary people who become extraordinary through social media, but are in reality tools for commercial gain is fascinating. But added to the mix are the disaffected followers, particularly one whose sinister intent comes into focus as the narrative reaches its climax, making this novel very readable. Emmy and Dan are not likeable characters and there is a wish by this reader for them to get their just desserts. Thoroughly recommended.
Themes: Crime, Influencers, Social media.