ASK Musings

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January 2021



All This Life by Joshua Mohr

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

Best for:
People interested in exploring how technology affects relationships.

In a nutshell:
Four different stories involving eight different people intertwine against the backdrop of an event that makes national news.

Worth quoting:
“All that matters in content. New content. More content.”

Why I chose it:
Gift from a friend.

CN: Suicide; Non-consensual distribution of sexual images

A young teen boy films a marching band on the Golden Gate bridge, the members of which end up jumping to their deaths. He then posts the video to YouTube. An 18-year-old finds that her boyfriend has posted a video of them having sex to a porn site. A boy turns 18 but still can’t speak more than a few words, after an accident. A man learns of his sister’s death and feels responsible. A mother leaves her son after an accident, and tries to stay sober. A teen runs away.

This book explores relationships, and what happens when things go ‘viral,’ though it isn’t framed exactly as such. What happens to the person who has a sex tape posted against her wishes, without her knowledge, and everyone she knows sees it? What happens what a young teen films a mass suicide and then chooses to post it online, racking up views and comments? How does the decision to come up with pithy names for incidents and individuals impact the victims of the events?

I like how Mohr weaves these stories together, though there are a couple of parts that don’t entirely make sense. It’s not enough to spoil the book or anything, just a bit out of nowhere. I also perhaps am too far removed from being a teen (and I certainly wasn’t a teen with social media), but the inner monologues Mohr assigns to the 14-year-old who posts the suicide video online seems a bit what an adult imagines a kid would think, as opposed to what kids are actually thinking, if that makes sense. I mean, obviously a grown man isn’t going to know what’s in the head of a teen boy with the internet at hand, but still, the decisions here don’t exactly ring true to me.

Then again, a bunch of grown adult white supremacists were recently convinced by a failed real estate mogul / reality star and a dude who sells pillows to stage a coup, so perhaps I think too highly of what goes on in most people’s minds.

I don’t think I’d go as far as to recommend this book, but if one were to receive it as a gift, or come across it at a library, I think it’s a decent read.

Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Donate it.

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