BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Vicarious Vacations by Michael Wojciechowski


Just before reading this book, not even knowing what it was about, I had checked my latest Instagram post to see it had attracted the normal 10-12 likes that all of my posts normally get. I then checked my feed and saw a post from Chrissy Teigen. It was a close-up of her looking in the mirror while carelessly fussing with her hair. How many likes did this simple snapshot get? 1.7 million.


Not complaining, because I understand I’m not a celebrity, but the contrast remains somewhat staggering. My post is an ad for my new book, and the ad took me more than a few minutes to create. How long did her post take? I have no idea, but it couldn’t possibly have been more than a couple seconds. Still…1.7 million likes to my 12.


Then I came across the novel Vicarious Vacations, which made me think of the 90’s movie Jawbreaker if it had happened during the age of social media. An average girl named Paige becomes the beautiful Instagram pin-up she thought she always wanted to be, inhabiting a world in which a person’s true value is measured only in how many digital “likes” strangers will give her. Our smart phones have become extensions of not only our bodies, but our personalities. How many times have you seen a table of friends sitting together at a restaurant, all of them with their faces buried in their phones, none of them speaking to one another? It’s sad, pathetic, and profoundly troubling. This novel does a wondrous job of addressing this modern social issue in the form of one Paige Reynolds.


Thanks to the services the company Vicarious Vacations provides, Paige is the proverbial ugly duckling turned swan at the cost of her soul. This is a gut-punch poignant and incredibly well-written book. I genuinely wish there was a way to make it required reading for every 8 to 12-year-old alive before their character and self-esteem becomes too tied-in with their online presence. It’s a novel which makes you cringe to think where our society will be in, say, another fifty years from now. Entire lives will play out for the sole benefit of a single screen. Nobody will know anybody, except for what they want them to THINK they know.


There are points in which the satire becomes a tad heavy handed and the devious, privacy-desecrating practices of Vicarious Vacations would be considered absolutely preposterous for a work of fiction...only, it’s actually happening in real life all around us. For evidence, watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix. This novel is happening and it is terrifying…


To purchase this book, click on the cover above!




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