Battling the trolls under the (online) bridge: Don’t Feed The Trolls by Erica Kudisch
Don’t Feed The Trolls is an enjoyable and incredibly relevant novel about online harassment, friendship, and discovering yourself even when times are hard. The narrative centres around anonymous male trolls going after a player on an online multiplayer game and how this affects the lives of various people. Alongside this, the main character realising some stuff about their gender and presentation during the fallout from this online abuse. The highs and lows of modern technology and the problems when online free speech turns into harassment are dealt with, but the novel also focuses on the ways in which friends can help out and people can find their strength.
Kudisch’s style is easy to get into and the novel was not difficult to engage with for a non-gamer. The characters, particularly the main character Daphnis, are vividly painted and form a crucial core to the book, making it easy to be frustrated and angry at the effect that the trolls can have upon them. Many elements of fan culture run throughout the novel, including gaming, conventions, and musical references, and these give it a modern and relevant feel not only in the subject matter, but in the world it depicts.
Don’t Feed The Trolls is ultimately an uplifting novel about how the internet trolls can be beaten and how there’s always space to explore yourself and your identity in order to feel more comfortable as yourself. It is exactly the kind of novel that is perhaps needed these days, engaging with current issues but also a light and fun read.