Sunday, April 22, 2012

'Goodbye for Now'

Some might think that technology and romance are mutually exclusive.  How can one that is cold and logical even try to meld with the other, which is warm and totally illogical?  Insane, actually, if you've ever been in love.

But I just finished reading the wonderful novel, 'Goodbye for Now', by Laurie Frankel, and she not only manages to bring both together, but takes them one step beyond.

It begins in a simple, 21st Century way...

Sam Elling is a programmer for an internet dating company, and he creates an algorithm that matches people with their soul mates.  When he tests his creation, Sam meets Meredith, the love of his life.  But the new program is such a great success that Sam loses his job.  Customers are quickly finding their soul mates...and not returning to the site.

As Sam and Meredith's relationship takes hold, her grandmother, Livvie, dies.   Out of love,  genius Sam creates a computer simulation of Livvie from her correspondence---e-mail, Facebook, Skype, etc.  It is such a great success with Meredith, who loves being able to see her beloved grandmother once again (although she realizes that Livvie isn't 'real'), that the couple starts a company called 'RePose', which is based upon the same principle.  Their business soon takes off, and they are able to help others deal with their own grief.  In the meantime, Sam and Meredith's love grows deeper and stronger, to the point that they can't live without the other.   But what if one if them had to?

The premise of Ms. Frankel's novel is what drew me to it.  Yes, it is a love story.  And, yes, it does deal with technology.  But that's what makes this story work.  Although I was at first creeped out at the thought of being able to correspond with a beloved dead friend/family member, it occurred to me that it would be an interesting way to say my final goodbye if my loved one had died suddenly.  Although the computer simulation wouldn't have any idea what I was talking about, it would make me feel as if I found some kind of closure.

However, good stories don't run solely on interesting premises.  The characters have to grab our hearts.  We have to care about them.  And in this story, I loved them all so very much.  Ms. Frankel has given us not only a romantic story with real characters, but she has also made us stop and think about a business like RePose.

If it were real, would you use it?  And if you did, how long would you use it?

Ms. Frankel has given us two questions that will raise many discussions.  But I'm sure that you will have many more.

Although 'Goodbye for Now' won't be released until August 2012 by Doubleday, I suggest you put this title on your 'to be read' list.  Film rights have already been sold.


Passionate Bookworm said...

wow this sounds pretty interesting!! great review as well!

WritingGoddess said...

jacki, what do you do with the advance reading copies you get? Shelf them? Powell's? Gifts? Donations? Prop up short table legs? I'd love to read this one but don't want to wait til August. So, I guess the other question is . . do you loan? :)

Donald Lentz said...

This book sounds like one I'd really like to read. I'm the kind of guy that enjoys "chic flicks"...I'll see if I can get it from the library..:-)