Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:
Synopsis for So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (from Goodreads):
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has traveled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us, people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly or made a mistake at work. Once the transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know, they’re being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.
A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice, but what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people’s faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.
Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws and the very scary part we all play in it.
Author: Jon Ronson (The number of times I typed Ron Jonson: 30)
Genre: Nonfiction, Psychology, Sociology
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I’m a huge Daily Show (with Jon Stewart) fan. One night, he had Jon Ronson on to discuss his newest book which was this one. The premise fascinated me and he is quite a humourous guy so I knew this book wasn’t going to be particularly dry. (I couldn’t find the Daily Show interview on YouTube but check out his interview with Channel 4 if you are curious)
Social media is so ingrained into society that it’s crazy! Never before have we been so connected to the entire world–and it to us–and I think we often forget that. Who hasn’t heard a story about someone posting something on Facebook only for it to bite them in the ass with their partner or boss finding out? Sometimes the world even gets on their case! It also is the prime method for delivering cyber bullying, often resulting in deadly consequences.
And while social media does have it’s negatives, it does have it’s positives. Social media can cause real change when like minded people band together.
The question Ronson purposes is: when is this “banding-together” taken too far?
This book is basically a documentary but in written form. It has interviews, investigations and history all relating to the topic of public shaming. All are very well researched and thought-out.
While I mostly read this for the social media aspect, I found myself fascinated by the other types of shaming discussed: like prisoners in a jail or public shaming as a verdict for a legal case. There were also some shaming situations that I had never considered before discussed which I found to be really interesting (like “watch your speed” signs”).
Not only does Ronson talk about what public shaming is and its various forms, he also tries to find out why public shaming has the effects that it does on some people and not others. I’m a science student, so I really liked the psychology aspect to this story. It added another layer to this story I think.
This book had a great flow to it and was easy to follow. I never really got bored with it and it kept my attention from start to finish. Everything was explained clearly and it was broken down nicely. It really felt like you were on this journey with him as he explored the world of public shaming.
Ronson has a witty sense of humour and I found myself chuckling on occasion. His personality showed in his writing and I think that’s what stopped this book from being dry.
Did it Impact My Life?
Yes! It’s funny (in the ironic sense), that the day I started reading this I noticed a video trending in Canada that was a “fail” video about some Jeopardy contestants getting Canadian city questions wrong. I will admit, I’m the first person to watch a fail video because I have a twisted sense of humour. BUT this book made me realize that maybe I am a part of a bigger problem. That by watching that video–even if I’m not saying hateful comments to that person–I’m contributing to the “attack” on that person. How that affects that person can vary (it could ahve positive or negative outcomes) but this book has definitely made me think twice about what I post AND click on when using the internet.
My Rating: 4/5
I really enjoyed reading this book! I found it to be very interesting and easy to read. I think people of all ages can enjoy this book but I encourage those in the “Millennial” generation to give this a read. It never hurts to think twice about the consequences of your social media actions 😉
Read if You Like: documentaries, investigative journalism
Avoid if You: don’t like nonfiction books