This book was brought to my attention due to it being selected as Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month for July. I was immediately intrigued by it’s premise – the idea that Outrage is a seriously over-saturated market, with social media adding fuel to the flames and, in consequence, limited actual action… Mmm interesting right…? However, with my toppling TBR and current disinterest in non-fiction (reading slump being one reason), I dismissed the idea (effort) of reading it…until I saw the audiobook available on Net Galley….!
Ours is a society where many exploit the outrage of others in order to gain power – and we all too quickly take the bait. But by shouting about everything, we are in fact creating a world where outrage is without consequence.
There is still much to be outraged by in our final frontier, but in order to enact change and become more effective online, we must learn to channel our responses.
This is the essential guide to living through the age of outrage.
Dotty had me laughing out loud on several occasions – she is the perfect narrator for her own book. You really get a sense for what she is saying; the humour, the irony, the frustration and the subtleties all come across so well. To add to this, Dotty really has a way with words. I particularly enjoy non-fiction that can competently balance engaging and charismatic prose with facts and figures. For me, Dotty achieved this – and she has some cracking one-liners to boot!
However, there were still a few elements that didn’t work for me. There almost didn’t seem to be enough research for a whole book, and it’s only short as it is (just 176 pages). Consequently, there were a number of observations made by Dotty which felt inconclusive. This said, I don’t believe she should be unable to pose a question if she doesn’t have an answer – how would we get anywhere in life if that were the case? And as Dotty says herself, not everything is black and white. But for a researched piece, there were just slightly too many observations that didn’t seem to conclude with relevance to her explorations.
In particular, I disliked her throwaway comment about Extinction Rebellion. Throughout the book she says she wants to move back towards more in-person activism, as opposed to what she calls ‘clicktivism’ (passive re-tweeting from your couch, among other things). Yet her view of the right way to protest came across as quite narrow at times, though I’m not sure she intended it to. I struggled with the contradictions. There are multiple ways to positively protest and I would say that Climate Change comes under Dotty’s own banner of worthwhile causes for Outrage. She is happy to champion the activism of the Suffragettes despite some of their more militant demonstrations of outrage, yet dismisses the work of Extinction Rebellion. All movements have their complexities, and really, who are we to judge which cause is more deserving than another? Her idea of activism didn’t seem fully rounded and, as an active form of Outrage, I felt this area deserved some more research, viewpoints amd page space.
For fear of sounding like I am jumping on the Outrage bandwagon myself (!), I will add that my favourite element of the book was Dotty’s razor sharp observations on social media culture. For this alone the book is worth reading. Few people live without social media and therefore this book is relevant to everybody. And yes, whether we are aware of it or not, we all exhibit Outrage in responses to the world and people around us, so again, this is a perspective everyone should read.
As I said, her tone is hilarious, so in a strange way it’s actually quite an uplifting read despite its subject matter. Her outlook in inevitably optimistic and it is still a fascinating exploration of sociology, current issues, and the world we inhabit today.
Thank you to Net Galley and Bloomsbury UK Audio for my recording of this audiobook in exchange for my honest review.
After finishing the audiobook I hopped on over to the Waterstones Podcast to listen to Dotty’s interview which extends some of the conversations started in the book. It makes for interesting listening even if you haven’t/don’t read the book. I’ve included the link to listen to it here…
As always, I love chatting in the comments, so do drop me a line if you have a moment 🙂