Standalone or series
First time reading this author?
Why I picked this
Offered the chance to read this and Anatomy of a Scandal as part of s readalong and Anatomy if a Scandal has been on my TBR list for a long time.
Review copy or purchase
I read this with a gifted copy courtesy of publishers Simon & Schuster and as part of a Tandem Collective readalong. This review represents my own thoughts on the book.
What it’s about
Emma Webster MP is making a difference. A few years into her term in opposition and she’s featured in The Guardian and has secured a powerful concession from the Government on protections for victims of revenge porn. But, with attention comes abuse and hate and as the life she knows spirals out of control events which will impact on her reputation for ever are about to be exposed.
Toxic masculinity. Toxic social media. Should people who choose to work in a role which places them in the public spotlight just accept this goes with the territory? Clearly not, but it’s this that Sarah Vaughan explores by looking at the tragic consequences of a female MP who lives in a constant state of fear and pressure.
In Reputation Sarah Vaughan has created a very believable and viscerally realistic portrait of a woman living in fear while getting on with her life. A rising star in the Labour Party Emma Webster is committed to supporting changes in law to protect victims of revenge porn. As the threats and vitriol towards her online and in her constituency surgery grows an incident involving her own teenage daughter creates a perfect storm around Emma.
Emma is a great character. She’s not perfect, at the beginning of the book she comes across as a little bit self-righteous, but also someone who is conscious about the choices she’s made and the impact of these on her family and constituents. As the pressure builds the author cleverly let’s us see this through Emma’s eyes as the target of abuse, and also through the social media and WhatsApp comments made about her, the attitude of journalists, her ex’s new wife and more.
I raced through this books paying little attention to the suggested page count for each day as I just didn’t want to stop reading. A scarily observant look at the way female politicians are judged and considered fair game for abuse.