book cover of The Society of Shame
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The Society of Shame

A novel by

“If you liked Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, read The Society of Shame by Jane Roper.” —The Washington Post

In this timely and witty combination of
So You've Been Publicly Shamed and Where'd You Go, Bernadette? a viral photo of a politician's wife's “feminine hygiene malfunction” catapults her to unwanted fame in a story that's both a satire of social media stardom and internet activism, and a tender mother-daughter tale.

Kathleen Held’s life is turned upside down when she arrives home to find her house on fire and her husband on the front lawn in his underwear. But the scandal that emerges is not that Bill, who's running for Senate, is having a painfully cliched affair with one of his young staffers: it's that the eyewitness photographing the scene accidentally captures a period stain on the back of Kathleen’s pants.

Overnight, Kathleen finds herself the unwitting figurehead for a social media-centered women’s right movement, #YesWeBleed. Humiliated, Kathleen desperately seeks a way to hide from the spotlight. But when she stumbles upon the Society of Shame—led by the infamous author Danica Bellevue—Kathleen finds herself part of a group who are all working to change their lives after their own scandals. Using the teachings of the society, Kathleen channels her newfound fame as a means to reap the benefits of her humiliation and reclaim herself. But as she ascends to celebrity status, Kathleen's growing obsession with maintaining her popularity online threatens her most important relationship IRL: that with her budding activist daughter, Aggie.

Hilarious and heartfelt,
The Society of Shame is a pitch-perfect romp through politics and the perils of being "extremely online"—without losing your sanity or your true self.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Jane Roper has written a biting satire about (among other things) internet culture and our lust for rubbernecking. But at its heart, The Society of Shame is a serious novel about the search for female identity in middle age, and the unexpected ways a crude public spectacle can trigger moments of private revelation." - Steve Almond

"The Society of Shame is like Tom Wolfe and David Sedaris had a baby and it was female. I was HOWLING with laughter on every page. This is the book we NEED right now: not only because it's absofreakinglutely hilarious, not only because it makes trenchant points about cancel culture - but because it's zany and zeitgeisty and, like all exquisite satire, it reflects us back to ourselves in a way that raises questions - and possible solutions. YOU NEED THIS BOOK." - Jenna Blum

"Roper perfectly blends satire with witty prose to capture the ridiculous culture of social media and the 24-hour news cycle we currently find ourselves trapped in. Kat Held is a character you will hold close and think about long after you've stopped reading. This protagonist is all of us as we navigate what it means to be a woman in the world, to deal with shame and to carve out our identities as we age. The mother-daughter relationship at the heart of this page-turner of a novel is beautifully drawn as both Kat and her tween daughter come of age in very different and yet similar ways." - Jo Piazza

"Fans of Where'd You Go Bernadette and Dietland are sure to love The Society of Shame. This down-to-earth, biting, cinematic, and funny novel perfectly captures the many absurdities of our modern age and the indignities of middle age for women. With intelligence and a satirical eye for the just right detail, Roper lays bare the dangers of public scrutiny and leaves readers laughing, cringing, and nodding all at once." - Heidi Pitlor

"At once hilarious and profoundly thoughtful, The Society of Shame is the reality check our social media-obsessed world needs right now. Jane Roper's writing is funny, fearless, and fierce, and her book is like a much needed slap across the face of the metaverse. Get offline, pick up this book. You'll thank me later." - Madi Sinha

"Jane Roper has written the kind of novel that women will buy for each other, read together, and savor. A hilarious, fleet-footed romp that skewers contemporary culture, marriage, politics, and more even as it reveals the fears and desires that so often pit us against each other and ourselves, The Society of Shame made me laugh, wince, and think at every turn. I loved this book." - Anna Solomon

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