I could recommend this book for anyone--it's suspenseful and a quick read, but I'd particularly recommend it for parents, as it deals with social media, and the new threats our children face that I had never really considered. It's set in the world of private-school Washington DC, so anyone with a connection to the DC area will enjoy the local culture and references. We get to view this world through the eyes of anxious parents--anxious for social status, popular kids, and loving relationships with their own (or other's!) spouses AND through the eyes of their teenage children just beginning high school. It kind of took me back to what it feels like to be 14 and how our inner voice is almost completely determined by our peer group. GREAT for book groups--especially moms and dads who want to gain insight into the minds of teens and to examine parental values--do we trust our kids and their friends? how do we set limits and discipline, while encouraging their budding individuality? is it possible to protect them from the minefield that is adolescence?
Saving Phoebe Murrow is a compelling read. I quickly got so caught up with the characters and their stories that I couldn’t put the book down. The book is centered in people and circumstances with which many readers can easily identify. Busy professional parents striving to balance their careers with their family’s needs and their own internal conflicts, including different approaches to parenting and marriage. At its core, however, this is the story of a teenage girl struggling to find and define herself even as her hormones begin to rage and her insecurities multiply. It doesn’t help that her girlfriends and potential boyfriends – online and off -- aren’t always nice and aren’t always who or what they appear to be. The timeliness and importance of Phoebe’s story, however, is centered in demonstrating the devastating effects of cyberbullying. Who among us hasn’t taken affront with the Wild West elements of social media? It is a frontier in which there are few rules and far too many people are intent to be outraged, mean-spirited, hurtful, and sometimes deceitful. Herta Feely’s debut novel compels us to recognize that for all its benefits, today’s online world can be troubling terrain for adults and a devastating environment for children and adolescents. Inspired by the real life story of 13-year old Megan Meier who was driven to suicide due to online harassment, Saving Phoebe Murrow brings these issues to life in an accessible, instructive and highly readable way. Even as some of the characters face dramatic and devastating circumstances, the novel engages and pushes us to think about the growing reach and implications of social media in our lives. Dramatic and thought-provoking. I highly recommend it.
Anyone who has been the parent of a middle school or high school son or daughter will want to read Herta B. Feely’s novel “Saving Phoebe Murrow”. Even though my kids are much older now, I totally identified with being the mother of a high school freshman, all of the excitement & angst, highs and lows that goes along with wanting your child to do well in school, make friends, and just be happy and confident. For me, the book was an eye-opening, captivating glimpse into the daily stresses of teens and their parents as they try their best to navigate their social, school, and family lives in today’s virtual high-tech world. The story is gripping, and the characters, from the main character Phoebe, her high school buddies, her parents, to her friend’s parents to be so identifiable and compelling. Well after finishing the book, I found myself thinking about Phoebe, her mother, father and the other characters and wondering how they were doing. It was a powerful story that has a way of sticking with you.
“ Saving Phoebe Morrow,” takes us deep into the often fraught and risky world of teenage girls, viewed through a mother’s worried gaze. What does it mean to be a good mother, when the cruelty and betrayals of adolescence go to far? How do we keep our daughters from harm and how far should we intrude into their lives to do so? Herta Feely deftly pens a riveting story about a mother whose “ perfect life” threatens to unravel, in the wake of a cruel act of cyberbullying. That single thoughtless act unleashes a cascade of unexpected consequences for the whole family and beyond. From the first page, I couldn’t put this book down.
Herta Feely’s “Saving Phoebe Murrow” is a harrowing journey through an unspeakable trauma that tests the bonds of family, friendship and community to their emotional limits and beyond. Her novel reads like an important and necessary documentary film, capturing all the complex and textured layers of cyberbullying and the devastating effects it can have on today’s adolescents. Phoebe’s voice is haunting, captured with incredible vulnerability and raw insight into the emotional rollercoaster of dealing with the many stresses of being a teenager in the Internet age. As the book’s title so aptly indicates, you’ll be on the edge of your seat reading through the story, holding onto hope until the very last page. Highly recommended reading!
Herta Feely has penned a modern day page-turner, with enough tension throughout to make me want to know what was coming next. As the mother of "digital natives" who spend an inordinate amount of their time online (i.e., Millenials), I could relate to the mother protagonist's fear and sense of helplessness when it came to attempting to protect her vulnerable daughter. Because I live in Washington, D.C., I enjoyed the landmarks and neighborhoods mentioned in the book, as well. Really enjoyed the book and look forward to more from this talented novelist!
Really enjoyed this well-plotted book on an important topic. It gave me more than a week of un-stressful commutes to work -- I was so engaged that that 1.5-hour drive zipped by. Especially loved the ending -- it brought tears to my eyes. Penelope Rawlins did a fabulous job narrating the book and providing distinct character voices.