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Review – “Treasure” by Oyinkan Braithwaite

“But you don’t even know these people.” “I don’t need to know them—they are my fans.” “Why?” “Because I am living the life they want to live.”

Did you see my Gram? You must, and then you must follow, and like and comment on each and every post that I share. Oh God, no. I am not desperate, I am only making you aware that I have an account and I am out there, to be followed. What? You want me to follow you too? Oh, no-no-no. I don’t follow, I make others follow me. You know what, I don’t need you to follow me. I can gain followers without begging for it. You just see and envy the life I have.
Treasure by Oyinkan Braithwaite is a short story about the effects of social media on human lives. I happened to chance upon this while checking the Prime reading. Since it was by the famous Ms. Braithwaite, I thought why not try her work for free before I go and buy her bestselling My Sister, The Serial Killer. 

One hundred likes, and in less than fifteen minutes—of course she is happy.

Treasure is the story of a young girl, say, late teens – early 20s, who wants to make it big in the world of social media influencers. Her Instagram account is full of ideal pictures from her life and she has a good following of 5000. Yet, she desires more than what she has while she hides a dark secret.
A fan follower of Treasure is obsessed with her. He belongs to a lower income group as compared to the life she has on her account yet he desires to marry her. The only problem is that he can’t get her address to approach her and ask her hand for marriage. 
But life takes its own turn and brings these two face to face. What happens then? To them and to those around them?

He wants to make friends, so he sends them direct messages on social media, fifty a day to different people. He is not picky.

I would have to begin by saying that I totally didn’t take to the writing. The accent, the texting lingo, the compressed dialect, everything was difficult. Since it was a short story, I could labor through it and reach the end. Had this been a full-fledged novel, I’d be reeling under my twisted tongue. LOL.
Ms. Braithwaite brings forth a story in the least number of words, that seems so distant yet most of us would be able to identify. A harmless youthful decision that isn’t as harmless once the masks are off. A book about children becoming malicious and scheming adults and adults becoming, I don’t know, careless maybe. The class divide is evident. Poor life is a lesser life.
The perils of social media are laid bare in the most unusual manner. Bringing people closer than ever, but pushing them further away from the intimacy of their own lives. The desperate need to be recognized, to be on the radar all the time, the crazy notion of followers and judging their success by the acceptance given by them are rather disorienting (or rather an eye-opener, I must say)
A fiction which isn’t fiction, that is what I’d call this book. A comically tragic story. The reality of life. 

Emojis make lots of different faces, so you don’t have to waste time telling people what you feel.

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