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Friend Request by Laura Marshall
About the author
Laura Marshall grew up in Wiltshire and studied English at the University of Sussex. In 2015 Marshall decided to complete a lifelong ambition to write a book, and enrolled on a three month creative writing course. Friend Request is Marshall’s first novel and it was shortlisted for the Bath Novel Award and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize in 2016. Marshall now lives in Kent with her husband and two children.
Maria Weston wants to be friends with me. Maybe that had been the problem all along: Maria Weston had wanted to be friends with me, but I let her down. She’s been hovering at the edge of my consciousness for all of my life, although I’ve been good at keeping her out, just a blurred shadow in the corner of my eye, almost but not quite out of sight. Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston has been dead for more than twenty-five years.
I saw a lot of good reviews about this book, on a few of my book related facebook pages and so I had to get a copy. I always take a list of possible books to buy when I go to Waterstones and I bought this last month with high hopes.
I was quite excited to read this book and although yes it was a good read, I was also rather disappointed. The lead character Louise sadly got on my nerves somewhat, as she just seemed to be rather weak and at times pathetic. At times I felt sorry for her son Henry as I couldn’t help but wonder what type of example she was setting him. Polly was the typical strong friend who everyone wants in their life. Sam is portrayed as the strong in control character but obviously a total jerk and the old school friends we have all gone to school with and are familiar with the different characters and social groups they were in.
The major element of this book is bullying and I was glad to read a book which discussed this in detail, as sometimes I find bullying is still hidden away and not talked about. I admit my life in school was not easy and I was a victim of bullying for my middle school years (I was in a three tier system). In some ways I was lucky I had a small group of friends but sadly my friends and I suffered a great deal at times and life was not easy. However I have no idea how I would have coped without those friends. This book shows the grizzly details of bullying and the hurt caused by excluding people from things and the consequences. I honestly wonder if Marshall is not drawing on experiences she might have had at school.
It was really interesting how social media played a major role in this book and how vulnerable it can make us if we are not vigilant. It really made me realise that anybody can pretend to be anyone on social media and you are none the wiser who you are really talking to. The fact that Maria Weston who has been dead for twenty-five years is suddenly adding people on social media is very haunting and better than a ghost returning in my opinion.
As a thriller, this book was good but I would have liked a bit more suspense and eventually it started to get a little predictable and I’m sorry to say but the twist was obvious to me. However all the elements all fitted together brilliantly and I did enjoy reading it. It was a fast paced read which had me hooked most of time.
As Marshall’s first novel I think this is brilliant and I can’t wait to read more of her novels especially if they draw on real life situations as Friend request has.
My rating on Goodreads is 3/5 stars.
Lady Book Dragon