About the Book
‘We haven’t elected a Prime Minister, we’ve elected a lifestyle’.
As the fourth decade of the 21st century looms, new PM Guy Morrissey and his fitness guru wife Mona (hashtag MoMo) are hailed as the motivational couple to get the UK #FitForWork, with Mona promising to ‘change the BMI of the nation’.
Lita Stone is an influential blogger and social media addict, who watches as Guy and Mona’s policies become increasingly ruthless. Unemployment and homelessness are out of control. The solution? Vast new compounds all over the country, to house those who can no longer afford to keep a roof over their heads.
These are the Hope Villages, financed by US corporation Nutricorp.
Lita and her flatmates Nick and Kendall feel safe in their cosy cyberspace world. Unaware of how swiftly bad luck can snowball, they suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, behind the carefully constructed mirage of Hope.
Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller that weaves through the darker side of online life, as the gap between the haves and the have-nots grows ever wider. Whether or not it will mirror a dystopian future that awaits us, we will have to wait and see.
What I thought
When I saw what this book was about, I was really excited to read it. Within a few chapters, I began to think this is not so much futuristic as the here and now.
The thing with this book is it’s all just so believable. Guy Morrisey is the Prime Minister, and with his wife Mona or hashtag MoMo as she’s been dubbed, they have a vision – to get Britain #FitForWork. If you find yourself out of work for any reason, not only do you have to persuade any prospective employer that you have the qualifications and the experience to do the job, you also have to prove that your health is up to the job too.
Due to growth in population, more and more automation of jobs etc, work is in short supply. It really is the survival of the fittest who get what few jobs there are available. There is little in the way of a social safety net in this book. There is still social welfare but if you think you have to jump through hoops in real life now to get it, then think yourself lucky you’re not living under the premiership of Guy Morrisey.
Just like now, it’s the global corporations that have the monopoly on well……everything. It’s not difficult to imagine a US pharmaceutical corporation getting contracts for everything even vaguely related to health. Nutricorp has its fingers in just about every pie you can think of. They carry out health assessments to decide if you’re fit for work, if you’re not fit for work then you can’t have any benefits because they’re only to tide you over until you get a job and if you’re not fit and healthy then no ones going to give you a job so you can’t have any benefits. It all sounds sooo familiar doesn’t it.
Under our current ‘Austerity measures’ with benefits being stopped for the very slightest of misdemeanours, with our sick and disabled often being declared fit for work only to die not long after, we often joke (though without much humour) that it won’t be long before they bring back the Victorian workhouses. Enter Hope Villages.
In part two of the book it is a Hope Village where the protagonist Lita Stone and her two previous flatshare friends end up. Without a roof over their head and not entitled to welfare payments they have no alternative but to take up residence in one of these ‘back to work’ centres. Guess who runs them? Yep Nutricorp.
Part two revolves around life inside one of Nutricorp’s better ‘villages’. The story follows Lita and her two friends within the village. And Part 3, well you’ll need to read the book but suffice to say things get ever more chilling. The writing is very atmospheric, so much so that it kind of becomes claustrophobic just reading about life in a Hope Village. I could imagine places like this popping up in the not so distant future.
Personally, maybe I took it all too seriously I don’t know, but I just found the book quite disturbing in some respects. With the current divisions in this country and all the turmoil over Brexit, this story certainly makes you think about what the future really holds for us. I think it would make an excellent read for a book club as it opens up some interesting topics for discussion.
♥ Happy Reading ♥
Available now on Amazon Kindle
With special thanks to Terry Tyler for a copy of this book.
For further reviews on this book I’d strongly point you in the direction of GoodReads. There are some brilliant reviews on there for this book and have given some really good insights into the story.