I don’t even know what to say about this one. It was a lot. I think the biggest thing is that the family of Gabby Petito may read this and have some qualms about it. This was a really great short story showing all sides to the murder of a young woman who dreamed about becoming an influencer. I loved the little twist at the end and thought it was quite good. But for those who are True Crime fans who followed Petito’s missing case and then subsequent murder, some of this feels a bit deja vuish and parts made me squeamish.
“The Influencer” follows Tammy Partridge and her boyfriend, Kevin. Tammy and Kevin meet and she gets very focused on driving cross-country together that they will document via Instagram which will allow them to gain followers and eventually push them into influencer status. Tammy thinks this will allow them to receive “free” stuff and be able to just do whatever they want. But traveling cross country together reveals how little the two of them know each other and even understand what drives the other. The book provides us several person’s points of views, Kevin, Kevin’s mother, father, Tammy’s mother and father, and then a woman named Roxanne who becomes a fan of Tammy via Instagram.
So I think what Maynard did a great job of is showing you all sides of Kevin. You may have some sympathy here and there for the guy who is prematurely balding (it is brought up several times) but then you start to feel annoyance and then disgust. You read about Tammy’s final moments and you have to wonder though in the end if he is lying to himself about what occurred and why due to the twist we get towards the end.
I can’t lie, Tammy was a lot. I think Maynard wanted you to see that she in essence was a very naïve, but manipulative at times woman who was definitely in over her end with going cross country with a guy that she didn’t even seem to like much.
I was confused about the character of Roxanne, but then settled in and loved what she reveals to the story.
But honestly this was a great case study of a so-so relationship that broke down when the two people realized they didn’t even really like each other. And combine that with wanting to become influencers you could see how fake the whole thing was.
The writing was great, so was the flow.
As I said, the ending was great and I loved the twist.