Book Review – This One Time

This One Time by Alex van Tonder (Macmillan) ISBN: 9781770104235

Alex van Tonder has used her advertising experience to create a social media thriller, with multimedia, reality TV and advertising as players in a terrifying game.

Superstar blogger, Jacob Lynch, AKA Brodie Lomax, has 11 million followers and his own reality show. This unlikeable protagonist is also known as Mr Misogyny and that Sex-Tape Guy. His life is a crazy mix of drugs, sex and being seen in all the right places.

He has also just landed an eight-figure book deal. But what happens when the blogger has writer’s block? He flees to an isolated hunting lodge in Alaska to write. When Alicia emerges unexpectedly from the snow, he knows he shouldn’t get involved, but what would his alter ego, Brodie Lomax do? The next day Jacob wakes up chained to a bed. If you think the book sounds like Stephen King’s Misery, it is and it isn’t. There are so many twists in this nightmare that you’re not sure what to believe.

This One Time brings into sharp focus the issues of privacy in the age of the Internet, the effects of social media on society, the power of bloggers, the manipulation by advertisers, mob rule mentality and the pursuit of profit at any price.

I would have given the book a solid 4/5 but I felt as if it could have been trimmed by 50 pages. A good editor could have made it even better than it is. Even so, I highly recommend this debut by an exceptional writer.

Amanda Patterson


This One Time by Alex van Tonder (Macmillan) ISBN: 9781770104235

Jacob Lynch moved to the big city and was not making it. Eventually he found a job that paid just enough to keep him afloat. A friend suggested he start a blog, which he did. Slowly it began to take off. He realised that the more he insulted people and the more sexual and outrageous it was, the more popular it was, until he became a multi-millionaire. His TV show contract was renewed and he had a book deal as New York’s most notorious blogger, stage name Brodie Lomax.

He is now suffering from writer’s block and he needs to go on a retreat to write. He chooses a hunting lodge in Alaska, but then a beautiful woman, Alicia suddenly appears at the lodge telling him she is there to look after him. The next day, Jacob wakes up chained to the bed, captured.

The story itself could be captivating but after a while it was tedious and repetitive. If it had been cut down it would have been more of a thriller. The point of the story was to expose how the Internet and reality television allow people to take pleasure out of other people’s misery as long as it does not affect them. The concept was thought-provoking and disturbing.

Dawn Blankfield and Amanda Blankfield-Koseff

Posted on: 13th April 2016