Cover Image: The Society of Shame

The Society of Shame

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When Kathleen Held goes viral, it’s not because her Senate-candidate husband had an oh-so-cliché affair with a young staffer. Instead, she’s catapulted to fame because a photographer caught a period stain on her pants. Overnight, she becomes an unwilling meme and attempts to find a way to hide from the public eye. But, when she’s contacted by the Society of Shame, a group of people trying to overcome their own scandals, she learns to channel her new notoriety for good.
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Hilarious, laugh out loud satire that would be fun as a book club pick! Well written and quick paced with a spot on focus of our culture’s obsession with social media and “movements.”
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The Society of Shame is a clever satire.  Kathleen Held, wife of a progressive US Senate candidate, Bill Held, returns home in a taxi to find her garage on fire, her husband near the conflagration with his pants down, and the woman her husband was with, nearby, decidedly disheveled.  After saving the family dog, the cab driver takes a money shot of the scene, Kathleen's back to him.  She has a huge patch of menstrual blood on her pants and, before we know it, the picture goes viral and a movement in support of women's menstruation and menopause takes off on social media.  #yeswebleed.  

Kathleen, a formerly aspiring writer and current copy editor is aghast.  She fears her nerdy middle school daughter Aggie will be hurt, not just by her parents' separation, but by the spotlight being on her mother for such an embarrassing reason.  And then, Aggie gets involved in the "movement," and starts to find herself.  Kathleen, we will find, gets tangled up with The Society of Shame as marches are organized and women are lobbying for free menstrual supplies.  What Kathleen does next becomes a commentary on our culture, but always on the edge of being sympathetic and critical at the same time.  It's a scarily believable story.  It's also a look into how a person with deep values might slip off the rails for a bit and find there is more to her than meets the eye.  

The Society of Shame is a coming of middle age story for a woman in a very public crises.  It is a story of a family and the angst of the mother-daughter relationship as the daughter starts to really see her parents for who they are.  Aggie is a great character.  Being a satire, the novel goes over the top here and there, although Roper doesn't go quite as far as some.  She strives to keep the humanity even in a teenage boy who went viral for showing up in a couple's wedding pictures when he was mooning a friend.  It's a commentary as well on how different people come to understand why they have been publicly shamed and how to handle this.  I liked the concept very much and think Roper was very complete in the various ways going viral might look. The story had some boring moments toward the middle but all in all it was a strong 4.5.
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The Society of Shame will have you laughing out loud from the very first page. It covers everything from cheating spouses and betrayal to perimenopause and cancel culture. Witty and original!

Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, and Anchor for this ARC.
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Main character, Kathleen, becomes an overnight internet celebrity & unwitting figurehead of a new menstrual justice movement. Enjoyed the satire on internet culture (ex: cancel culture where people pile on without knowing details & think they’re activists), online shaming & 24 news cycle. Also a wonderful mother/daughter story. 
The society portion emerges when Kathleen returns from vacation and finds her garage burning & her husband in the yard with no pants & a mistress not far away (first chapter). She intercepts an invitation address to husband from the Society of Shame & shows up instead. The Society consists of other cancelled people & to help get their lives back on track (ex: someone who mooned friends in public). 
Also examines midlife as a woman & how will the internet shape her & values.
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The Society of Shame by Jane Roper puts the family of an up-and-coming politician into the hot seat, particularly his wife who has an embarrassing life moment caught on film and blasted all over the country. Kathleen returns home from a trip to discover her husband with another woman. Then a fire breaks out and she's caught in a situation not many women want to be in. This whole incident is caught in a photo that ends up changing the entire trajectory of Katheen's life and that of her husband and daughter. I really liked this book! The characters were well-developed and the story kept me entertained. Read and enjoy!
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Kathleen Held quickly becomes the next meme when her period leaks through her pants and is caught on camera by her Uber driver as she comes home to discover her U.S. Senate candidate husband’s infidelity. Yes, that’s a lot in one unfortunate photo.   Rather than her husband’s cheating taking center stage, her perimenopausal heavy periods start the #YesWeBleed movement instead.  Initially freaked out by the attention, introvert Kathleen cannot understand how her bodily functions became so newsworthy.    

Soon after the incident, Kathleen accidentally stumbles on an invite for the Society of Shame led by infamous writer Danica Bellevue, who has already dealt with her own “canceling” over some choice words about her readers.  This group works to help others rebrand themselves after their mistakes are blasted all over the media.  Kathleen quickly becomes Kat and her makeover commences.  Kat refuses to let her humiliation run her life, and instead takes the driver’s seat bringing attention to the Yes We Bleed movement in hopes of destigmatizing natural bodily functions.  

Reading about the toxicity of the internet was a chore, and should remind the readers not to take the media too seriously.  Jane Roper’s The Society of Shame is a satirical take on the “cancel culture” our country is obsessed with where the three strikes rule is obsolete.  This novel was an entertaining read, but I personally thought could be tightened up.  The author took on a lot for one story.  

Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, and Anchor, of course Jane Roper for the advanced copy of the book.  The Society of Shame is out now. All opinions are my own.
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This novel started out strong, with a woman finding a fire in her garage, her politician husband in the middle of an affair, and her clothes stained with menstrual blood. She inadvertently starts a movement, "Yes, we bleed." She tries to move on.

At some point, our protagonist snags an invitation to a mysterious "Society of Shame" that was intended for her disgraced husband. At this moment, in my opinion, the novel went off the rails. Characterization of the members of this society were not nearly as strong as the main characters introduced at the beginning of the book. The plot was going well without the introduction of this society as well. I lost interest and found the society members confusing at best.
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The Society of Shame by Jane Roper is a satirical take on our always online culture, cancellation, and wokeness. I loved! We open up by meeting Kathleen Held, wife of politician Bill Held, racing home from a trip across the country. Upon her arrival at their CT home she finds the garage on fire, Bill with no pants on, and a young campaign staffer also missing some clothes. Needless to say she is furious and thinks that her life as she knew it is over. What comes next is a surprise...while the news has caught wind of Bill's transgressions, the main focus is actually the period stain visible in Kathleen's pants. Queue a global movement..."yes we bleed!" that quickly spirals and grows, to Kathleen's horror. She turns to The Society of Shame after intercepting the secret invitation where she thinks she's learning how to navigate this new reality. After a while she begins to question if all of this is really who she wants to be. 

I love the author's voice - Kathleen/Kat is such a fun and dynamic main character who made me smile my way through this. I felt like this was an incredibly robust read, the author did a great job of marrying the satire and cultural commentary with a world full of unique characters with interesting stories. 

I highly recommend - especially for book clubs! Thank you to Netgalley and Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, and Anchor, Anchor for the ARC - The Society of Shame is out now!
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The fast-paced culture of social media—in all its canceling, shaming, and commenting notoriety—is explored with charm, humor, and heart in this witty novel by Jane Roper.

When Kathleen Held catches her politician husband cheating on her, a man snaps a photo of her in period-stained pants and it goes viral. Suddenly Kathleen is thrust into the national spotlight as #yeswebleed becomes first a hashtag and then a movement. Initially Kathleen is appalled by the attention but, after she inadvertently meets up with a "canceled" romance author who helps others overcome being canceled through her "Society of Shame," she tries to make the most of the madness. She also works to help her 12-year-old daughter deal with the attention, the messages of equality and women's rights tied to the experience, and her own feelings of self-worth and purpose.

Each chapter covers a day since the photo goes viral. This framing smartly mirrors the the frenetic pace of viral culture, and keeps the plot moving at a fast clip. I really loved this technique. It kept me on the edge of my seat re: what would happen next.

Roper has wisely structured the narrative to include various relationships and topics that let her speak to the realities of today. The idea of #yeswebleed explores the continued shaming of women for having their periods and women's right in general. Kathleen's recitation of the comments on social posts are hilarious not only because they're funny, but because they're accurate to the "everyone has something to say about everything" culture in which we live. And through Kathleen's relationship with her daughter, Roper also seems to subtly speak to the power of younger generations to maybe, just maybe change things so we see less public shame and more public empathy.

I really liked this clever, timely novel! It'll keep you interested in Kathleen's journey—and laughing all along the way.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Jane Roper, and the publisher for this ARC! 

Like so many reviews, the first 50% of this book was great. Even though Kat was unlikeable, you empathized with her. I found myself rooting for her so much, but also rooting for a character change. Some growth. But she remained an unlikable character for so long (rather than growing and embracing) eventually taking on a different persona without doing any of the self-work. By the time she started trying to make amends and actually evolve, it was far too late for her character. I felt very little sympathy for her, and didn’t find her changes sincere.

 Lastly, How old is Kat?? Roughly 45? She refers to millennials as these incredibly young, “my parents used to play hacky sack in college!” naive and stupid young people around her, when she herself is a millennial cusper. But the author seemed to write millennials from either a boomer perspective, or they are writing Kat as much more close-minded and ignorant which only makes me dislike her more. The idea of this book is fantastic and I wanted to love it, but unfortunately Kat was an unlikable, performative ally.
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I’m not sure what to do with this book - the plot was very interesting as it covers the life of someone unwilling thrust in a political movement and social media fame, but the writing (though solid) made it very much a humorous situation. I think this was supposed to be literary in nature, and I think the character development followed that, but somehow the tone was a bit off for heavier topics discussed. I would read more by this author, and I look forward to more discussion on this one.
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Wow, was this a surprising and fun read! This book would make the perfect read for a book club to pick up. 
The storyline and ideas spread throughout the book bring up great conversation around cancel culture and the power of social media. 
These topics would make for great conversation in a high school classroom. What criteria lead to someone being cancelled? How can a person recover?
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I'd like to thank Netgalley and Anchor for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

If your life has ever gone from bad to worse then you would definitely identify what Kat's life is like. Returning home from a trip she shows up with her garage on fire and her famous (running for senator) husband standing outside pant less with his mistress. On top of that she has started her "monthly" and it is evident on her pants. Where people have now started filming this and taking pictures. She's now become a "movement" around social media and new circuits. Something she's never wanted. 

While packing to leave her husband, a letter is delivered for him and she intercepts it. He's been invited to the Society of Shame. Kat decides to go in his place to find out what it's all about and because she has been shamed through no fault of her own.  

This was such a unique story line. This book was engaging, funny, and thought provoking. How much do we buy in to internet shame? Do we take sides without knowing the whole story? How someone's life can be changed in an instant. This would be a fun book for a book club because there is so much in it with social issues that we're surrounded with everyday.
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A fun read. Points for current social topics, and attempts at depth and humor - there with the humor. A fantasy easily extracted from the author's professional background - "Copy, Content, Brand Strategist". Touches on feminism, social media, and women's relationships as social themes. The best literary invention was the secret society. Compare to Lessons in Chemistry by Garmus.
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The title really drew me in. There were some great laugh out loud moments during this book. I really liked how Roper captured today’s society quite perfectly. It was a fun read with a likable main character.
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The Society of Shame has one of the most unique plots I've read in a while. Kathleen Held returns home early one night to find her garage on fire, her husband's pants down, and a drunk woman in her yard. Not only does she have to deal with the shame of her cheating husband who's running for Senate, but a photo taken that night of her period-stained pants goes viral. The viral photo ends up starting a huge movement - "#YesWeBleed." I loved the journey of Kathleen finding her own empowerment and strengthening her relationship with her daughter. The book also shows the power of social media in our current times. I personally don't have much interest in politics in general so I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I did. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, and Anchor for allowing me access to an eARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Really liked this book! Very engaging and thought provoking. This is one of those books that would be perfect for a book club because there’s so much to talk about and these days, everyone has a story of internet shame.
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A very original story line with an original character that could be any one of us.  With every second of a person's life available for posting or streaming, the fact that Kathleen's "leaky" tampon ends up as the news of the day just proves that so many people will post ANYTHING.   Her original response is what most women's would be......embarrassment and confusion at why this could be newsworthy.  

Jane Roper has pulled some very different threads together and given us an entertaining look at today's life and times in the media lane.  As Kathleen tries to figure out how she will ever be able to face her neighbors again, we'll recognize the people and organizations that exist slightly off the mainstream.  An unusual story that will leave you entertained and telling all of your reading friends......especially those that bleed......that they really need to read this book.
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Book 10: Many reviews for this book mention “If you loved Lessons in Chemistry you will love this” and since I did not love #lessonsinchemistry this also was not the book for me. Kathleen’s life is turned upside down when she catches her political candidate husband cheating while their garage is burning down. To make the situation worse she becomes #instafamous because the pictures posted from the cheating incident include a #periodbleedthrough on her pants and she becomes the poster child for the #yeswebleed movement without her consent. Kathleen intercepts an invitation to #thesocietyofshame meant for her #cheatinghusband and through the other internet shamed people she meets Kathleen learns to embrace her new found fame and use it to her advantage. Unfortunately, her daughter is left drowning in the wake of the waves caused by Kathleen’s boat to #influencer status. A ⭐️⭐️⭐️ book available #April2023.  📚📚📚 #netgalley #netgalleyreads #netgalleyarc #netgalleyreview #netgalleyreviewer #bookstagram #my2023readingchallenge
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