Before we go any further, I want you to understand this: I am not a good person.
We all want to be seen. We all want to be heard. But what happens when we’re seen and heard saying or doing the wrong things? What then?
When Winter Halperin—former spelling bee champion, aspiring writer, and daughter of a parenting expert—gets caught saying the wrong thing online, her life explodes. All across the world, people knows what she’s done, and none of them will forgive her.
With her friends gone, her future plans cut short, and her identity in shambles, Winter is just trying to pick up the pieces without hurting anyone else. She knows she messed up, but does that mean it’s okay for people to send her hate mail and death threats? Does she deserve to lose all that she’s lost? And is “I’m sorry” ever good enough?
My Rating:3.5/5 Star
Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
While I love the internet with every fibrer of my being and it has pretty much shaped me into the person I am today, it also kind of sucks. Though it’s used to spread joy and kindness and love, it’s also used to spread hate and venom and vicious words that would never be spoken in real life. People so often forget that there’s a person behind the user they attack which produces a really toxic environment. Another really great thing about the internet is that it’s a easy way to spread information and teach people about a variety of issues. Unfortunately some people take it upon themselves to teach those who are in the wrong a lesson and aren’t always the nicest. Instead of calmly explaining why what was done was problematic and allow that person to learn from their mistakes, vicious words and threats are thrown around. I’m sorry but your words don’t help a thing especially when that’s your first response. It’s disgusting especially when done to minors. If You Don’t Have Anything To Say discussed this issue in a really interesting way and I’m so glad that I picked this book up because it allowed me to think a lot about the internet and my role in it.
I’m going to start off this review by saying that while I enjoyed the large majority of this book, the internet post that sparked the public shaming kind of rubbed me the wrong way and I just feel like it was never talked about properly. Due to the fact that we never saw the moments leading up to her posting it, we just had to take her word for it that she didn’t mean it offensively. Basically what happens is that the main character,Winter, was a Spelling Bee champion when she was like in seventh grade and then a couple of years later she posts about that year’s Spelling Bee Champion who is black and basically says that she’s surprised that a black person person won. Though she insists throughout the novel that she didn’t mean to be racist, it still rubbed me the wrong way. There’s also lots of moments where she realizes how much oppression black people deal with which is just so frustrating because how sheltered do you be to not realize that black people are oppressed? So that aspect of the novel really prevented me from enjoying it as much as I could have.
I don’t know why but I really love stories that feature people in rehab. I find the dynamic super interesting and it’s fun to see how people who are forced to be together interact with one another. Winter goes to a “rehab” of sorts for people who have suffered public shaming which was nice because that allowed me to get different perspectives of people who get publicly shamed. While I didn’t entirely agree with everything that was said in this book, it opened my eyes to an occurrence that I had not thought about previously. I truly think that for the most part it’s not people’s jobs to shame others no matter what they did. You condemning them among a sea of thousands is doing shit fuck all and it’s a waste of time. Maybe they do deserve it, maybe they are horrible people but there’s no point in being so cruel. Words are beautiful things but you ruin that beauty when you tell people to go kill themselves.
What Do You Think About Public Shaming?