YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS BEING MONITORED
BREAK YOUR VOWS, PAY THE PRICE
– The Marriage Act
[ About The Marriage Act ]
What if marriage was the law? Dare you disobey?
Britain. The near-future. A right-wing government believes it has the answer to society’s ills – the Sanctity of Marriage Act, which actively encourages marriage as the norm, punishing those who choose to remain single.
But four couples are about to discover just how impossible relationships can be when the government is monitoring every aspect of our personal lives, monitoring every word, every minor disagreement . . . and will use every tool in its arsenal to ensure everyone will love, honour and obey.
[ My Review ]
The Marriage Act by John Marrs was just published on January 19th with Macmillan. It has been described as ‘Black Mirror meets thriller with a dash of Naomi Alderman’s The Power…a high-concept, dark thriller‘. I am delighted to be joining the blog tour today with my thoughts of a novel that, although of a dystopian nature, was not too far beyond my imagination. This is indeed scary stuff!
The Sanctity of Marriage Act, an extraordinary piece of legislation, is enacted in Britain at some unidentified year in the future. Brought in by a very right-wing government, it is thought to be the answer to society’s problems. Married people are happier, less likely to cause problems and are envisaged to be more in control of their lives. In return for marrying, they are awarded tax incentives, housing and other benefits. But anyone who signs up is monitored from a system installed in their home. This system encourages harmony, with inspirational messages, but it also records at random and sends out subtle warning messages if a couple are less than polite to each other on a regular basis.
For many, having this device in their homes is worth the Orwellian big brother influence, due to the financial implications and improved quality of life it supposedly brings, but, for others, it is a step too far. With individual freedom being under constant scrutiny, a cohort start to rebel. Covert meetings take place around the country and gather momentum as the message filters through society.
Meanwhile, British vlogger and influencer, Jem Jones, an ardent spokesperson for The Marriage Act, comes under pressure from trolling and online abuse, as society sways. Her demise shocks the nation and support for those who are against The Marriage Act waivers.
The Marriage Act pays close attention to a number of couples who are under duress for various reasons. As the pages turn, their situations rapidly change and we see a much darker side to the mechanics of this bizarre piece of law and the people who govern it.
The concept behind this book is actually eerily disturbing as it doesn’t seem so very far-fetched with the way society is currently evolving. I recently watched the Netflix documentary, The Great Hack, about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and it was a shocking eye-opener. We are all living in a curated bubble and I was left questioning the truth of what I read online on a daily basis. There are governing bodies that control many aspects of life, so how unrealistic is to assume that somewhere down the line, our whole lives could evolve into one great social experiment.
Although The Marriage Act is set sometime in the future, it also felt very familiar, with references to the same social media platforms as today, along with other cultural references. This lack of clarity on the time period adds an extra layer of authenticity and has an overall discombobulating effect when reading the book. A chilling and smart tale, The Marriage Act is an uncomfortable and dark read that will raise a few shivers and give you an uneasy feeling about what the future has in store for us all.
[ Bio ]
John Marrs is an author and former journalist based in London and Northamptonshire. After spending his career interviewing celebrities from the worlds of television, film and music for numerous national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time author. He is the bestselling author of: The One, The Passengers, The Minders, What Lies Between, When You Disappeared and The Vacation, which was shortlisted for the 2022 Wilber Smith Adventure prize.
Twitter ~ @johnmarrs1
Brilliant review! I can’t wait to read this one. And people ask me why I don’t want an Alexa in the house…!
I have one