Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler

"I decided to go through my boyfriend's phone while he was asleep. I'd never really had the urge to go through another person's things before."

This Village Voice journalist has a new assignment up her sleeve, and it isn't writing about the latest show, restaurant, or celebrity sighting on Manhattan's Upper West Side. 

This one is self-assigned. Her assignment is her boyfriend, Felix. 

They'd fallen for each other over Berliner Weisse in Germany just eighteen months earlier. She'd had five drinks, just enough to cause a cloudy haze and to feel that nice Berlin buzz wash over her. And there was Felix, the European sun reflecting off his naturally tanned Californian skin. 

Maybe it was the booze mixed with the sun, or just the New Yorker in her, but she plucked up the courage and emailed him the following day, not quite ready to let this one slip out of her fingers. Eighteen heated months later, and here we are, back in the city that never sleeps. 

Like she said, she'd never really had the urge to go through another person's things before. But she had her reasons. I mean, he had been acting strange lately. She'd been thinking about it. 

What harm was there? He was asleep, he told her he didn't have social media, what could he possibly have to hide? Questions, questions, questions. I guess that's what you ask yourself before you invade someone else's privacy. 

Moments later, she found herself locked in her bathroom, his device in her hands, typing in his passcode. And there she discovered it, within one of those little square apps with the rounded edges where we disclose so much information. Felix was keeping a secret, one where he hoarded tens of thousands of followers. 

An underground conspiracy theorist. 

"WTF?" She thought. 

That night changed everything

What I thought

There were so many things I enjoyed about this book; the focus on social media, the suspense of what the narrator might find on her boyfriend's phone, and the witty humour of it all.

It was a unique story idea. Fake Accounts was a frighteningly accurate portrayal of the modern world and our use of social media. 

Overall, I thought Lauren had a great sense of humour and a realistic view on world politics. As a young woman herself, I think she understands the obsession we have with our phones, so she was able to convey that message perfectly. 

Something for you to think about next time you're reading a book…

How many times did you pick up your phone while reading? Did you read the actual book on your iPhone? Did you take a picture with the book and #FakeAccounts (e.g.) and share with your friends on social? Did you text it to Michelle and be like "You so totally need to get this book immediately!"

I ask you to think about this because this book made me realize how attached I am to my phone. Like, it was a huge wake-up call. I picked up my phone 3 times while I wrote that last paragraph. Our cell phones, text messages, social media cations, emojis, etc. are like this coding language that we're all expected to speak these days. It's insane. 

Courtesy of LaurenOyler.com / Photo by Pete Voelker

Born and raised in West Virginia, Lauren Oyler is an American author. She graduated from Yale University in 2012 with a degree in English. Her essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, New York Magazine's The Cut, and many other publications. Fake Accounts, which was published by Catapult in February of this year, is her debut novel.

Fake Accounts is available at Indigo and on Kobo. Check GoodReads for other retailers.