Thursday, July 5, 2012

Goodbye for now by Laurie Frankel

"Death is for Life". This concept becomes the driving force in this novel about computer geek Sam and matched-by-computer-dating-program soul mate Meredith. Don't roll your eyes and stop reading. The program is one written by Sam when he was employed by a computer dating service, which then got him Meredith, but got him fired, because the program was too good, and would cost the company too much in lost customers who found true mates. (Apparently the money to be made in computer dating is in unsuccessful matches. Succeed too quickly and you win, but the business loses.)

Sam and Meredith's honeymoon period of love survives the hit of grief that comes when Meredith's beloved grandmother, Livvie, dies. But like any geek-boy-in-love would do, Sam designs a program, based on Livvie's emails, texts, video chats, etc (luckily Livvie was a tech savvy grandma) to create a simulation that looks, sounds, and even responds like Livvie, so that his bereaved girlfriend can, if not skirt Kubler-Ross's stages of grieving, slide through them holding Livvie's virtual hand.

Here's where things get even more interesting (because things up to now have been witty banter and falling-in-love interesting, but not so much plot movement.) With Meredith's cousin, the unlikely named Dashiell Bentlively, they form a company that allows people to "talk" to their dearly departed, or at least a computerized simulation of the dead. There are satisfied customers, and those who hate it, positive media and the inevitable bad press. Haters gonna hate, right?  But since grievers gotta grieve, the business has a solid base.

But wait! There's more.  And the more is what I was dreading since opening this novel.  Blurbs on the back talk about heart-rendering and other such words that often hint that something really hard is going to happen. I was biting my nails waiting for The Bad Thing, which did come, but then I was right there with the gang climbing out of that pit of grief. 

I don't have a virtual reality version of my loved dead ones, except for the version that plays in my head and heart 24/7. But I understand that not everyone has this. For me, it's a blessing. If I didn't have it, I'd probably want RePose. Maybe not, I can't say for sure. But I am glad I had this book, in any case.

There are some fabulous lines in the text, which I flagged, and will try and get posted in this review later.

Received this thorough courtesy of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

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