Friday, July 12, 2019

"Everything About You"

Heather Child's experience in digital marketing has brought her into close contact with the automation and personalization technologies that herald the "big data" age.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Everything About You, her debut novel, and reported the following:
We are not far from a world in which people are constantly tracked, with facial recognition and the ‘internet of things’ meaning it will be increasingly difficult to ‘go dark’. However Freya’s foster sister Ruby vanishes into the night and leaves the younger girl heartbroken, just as we come up to page 69, on which Freya is experiencing the aftermath of the loss.
Others were openly cruel, taunting her in the hangouts with rumours that Ruby had been a prostitute and her pimp had finally killed her. All that hanging round Peckham now became evidence that she was a streetwalker, loitering in greenzones late at night to solicit business. This was when Freya shut down. Comments were left to build up online, and at school she would wear headphones and stand outside in the cold, away from everyone.
On page 69 we see the real-life Ruby, the seventeen year-old who took risks, who was achingly close to Freya, leaving the younger girl without a role model when she disappeared. It is a page of grit, of her mother viewing grim news stories.
Freya knew she had given Ruby up for dead. Perhaps it was the only thing to do. There were too many stories of missing schoolgirls, one man after the next arrested with a string of murders to his name. They were in the press where they had not been before.
It is perhaps one of the most ominous pages in the book. What is missing is the ‘new’ Ruby, recreated as an artificial intelligence. Years later, her colourful personality is scraped from the internet, and she reappears as Freya’s virtual assistant.

This Ruby is as wild and fabulous as before, and programmed to give Freya everything she wants. The trouble is that Freya will do anything for her foster sister, and follow wherever she leads, even down those same dark paths from long ago.
Visit Heather Child's website.

--Marshal Zeringue