Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#Review: Identity Theft by Laura Lee

When the rock star she idolized responded to her e-mail, Candi was thrilled. When he started to flirt with her, she thought all her dreams could come true. The fantasy takes over her entire life, but none of it is true. The man of her dreams is not a rock star at all, but a bored office worker whose internet game quickly spins out of control.

Laura Lee’s second novel, Identity Theft, is now available. It is a humorous, thought-provoking examination of the state of the self in the 21st Century full of surprising plot twists.

It explores celebrity, online relationships, the loss of professional identity that comes with insecure employment and how inner reality is often at odds with outer image.



I must confess that I had trouble at the beginning of Identity Theft by Laura Lee.  Maybe the story hit a little close to home for me.  Back when I was in college, you could get on a computer at the blazing fast speed of 286, and go 'online' to a MUSH (Multi-User Shared Hallucination).  I 'met' a lot of interesting people ... and a few downright dangerous ones.  Very few of the people were who they pretended to be.  It got so bad that I stopped going online for a while because nothing was what it seemed.

It seems to me that Ms. Lee did a disturbingly accurate retelling of some of the dangers of exclusively online relationships.  (Of course, things are different now, with video-conferencing and the like, but still).

Reading about a similar situation in the book kind of gave me the creeps.  It was bad enough that Candi became so wrapped up in the dream of being attractive to a rock star.  But that was tame compared to my dislike of Ethan.  Sure, he was socially awkward.  I can sympathize with that.  And he had his boss's directive to 'handle his social media'.  But misleading Candi, becoming emotionally intimate with her under false pretences, engaging in computer sexualized encounters is almost unforgiveable.

What is totally unforgiveable is that after the crap hit the fan, Ethan (despite his professed love for Candi) let her take the fall for everything, including the keying of Blast's vehicle.  Candi is confined in a lock-down mental facility, having been found incompetent to stand trial for 'stalking' Ollie/Blast and his family and the damage to the vehicle.  Candi was medicated for a mental condition that she did not have.  Her freedom was taken away.  Her name and reputation were dragged through some very public mud.

When I visited Ms. Lee's website, I was rather blown away.  Here is an author who writes non-fiction and fiction, and is very intelligent and eloquent.

So, I was rather disappointed to read the very detailed description of Ethan masturbating while imagining his 'relationship' with Candi.  I almost could not continue with the book.  I did not think Ms. Lee would need to commercialize her book in this manner.  And I know, I am in the minority in this, but I just do not care to read erotica.

This would be a great book to give someone as a cautionary tale against the dangers of anonymous internet relationships.  (I suppose I should say at this point, that I have been married to a man for 18 years, whom I originally met on a MUSH - where my character was a vampire and his was a shaman.)



Laura Lee is the author of 14 books. She is best known for her non-fiction with such publishers as Reader's Digest, Harper Collins, Running Press and Broadway Books. Her first novel Angel was published in 2011, released in an audio edition last year and will be published in a second edition later this year. She has also written two collections of poetry, and a children’s book (A Child’s Introduction to Ballet). She brings to her writing a unique background as a radio announcer, improvisational comic and one-time professional mime and she divides her time between writing and organizing national ballet master class tours. The San Francisco Chronicle said of her work, “Lee’s dry, humorous tone makes her a charming companion… She has a penchant for wordplay that is irresistible.”

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(Disclosure:  I received an e-copy of this book from the author and publisher via Sage's Blog Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)

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