Life By Committee By Corey Ann Haydu (2014)
I would assume that all of us have at some point in our lives wished that our lives were something more; that we were something more, something great. I think everyone strives for greatness. But how far are you willing to go to achieve that greatness?
I recently finished this book and it got me thinking about how much we share online and how in certain instances, our interactions online can make us feel good about ourselves. There’s a whole bunch of worlds–communities–out there on the web with so many different people that feel exactly the same way that we do. They can sometimes be very encouraging and then other times they can be completely damaging. If you can gather, this book is about a girl, Tabitha, who gets sucked into an online world called Life By Committee, where the members encourage others to be more. They help each other change their lives for the better, by pushing each other to do things that they wouldn’t necessarily do. The only catch of course, is that each member has to share a secret. Once their secret is shared, everyone comments on it and the admin of the site, Zed, gives the sharer an assignment that is “guaranteed” to change the course of the sharer’s life. Each member has 24 hours to complete their assignment in order to keep their secrets safe.
On the surface, this sort of really cool and interesting. But it’s also really freaking scary. Sure maybe the secrets are superficial at first, but as the book goes on, Tabitha’s secrets become more personal and her assignments become more invasive and the outcomes affect more than just her life, but those around her as well. Giving someone that much control over your life is just really scary. These are strangers you are sharing bits of your life with and to have them give you advice or assignments to implement in your life–even if their intention is to help you do more with your life, to be more–is just really risky. As I was reading though, it got me thinking about how many of us actually share bits and pieces of our lives and how–even if we’re not aware of it–what complete strangers say to us can sometimes affect our lives in all sorts of ways, from empowering to severely damaging.
But what does it mean to be more? Facing your fears and being brave? Do we really need complete strangers to essentially bribe us to do certain things that we would never do because they’re out of character or because we’re too afraid to do them?
Life by Committee was such a great read. It’s definitely YA, but really makes you think about how what you share online to complete strangers and how much you let them into your “in real life” can really and truly affect your life.