Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words
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A meteorologist for the US Air Force, Bart Hopkins is the father of three kids. None of them have a cell phone or accounts on Facebook or Twitter. He has written or co-written three other novels.
“Like is a selfie of modern times that takes you on a journey through the lives of normal people—the new normal—fully connected in an electronic age.
You’ll meet Greg, a realtor whose success stems from his Internet savvy. His tweets are re-tweeted a hundred times and thousands follow his blog.
Then there’s Paul, who stumbles on an old crush while Facebooking. Through research of her online habits, he arranges a ‘chance’ meeting so they can fall in Like with each other.
Martin is a cancer survivor with renewed purpose in life thanks to a supportive social media family.
It’s a tapestry of people and events woven together with this era’s most abundant thread: social media.”
I love the premise of this book, exploring how social media is changing our lives, for better and for worse. Much of what happened to the characters had easily drawn parallels to my own social media experiences. There are several characters with story threads that are somewhat independent although as the novel develops some of the threads connect.
Which brings me to my first complaint. We’re introduced to each of the main story threads in consecutive chapters at the start of the book, hopefully whetting our appetite to learn more about each of the characters, but making for a long ramp up before we start to see any significant conflict. For some readers, this may be fine. But if you’re a “give me action on the first page” type, this book isn’t for you. I was somewhere in the middle, noticing that it was a slow starter, but curious enough to keep plodding on. There is also a large cast of characters and keeping them straight in my mind was tough although obviously easier the more I read as each of their stories solidified.
I also found that while I liked the overall story, there were little glitches that irritated me as a reader. For example Rose (a character not mentioned in the blurb who was searching for a long-lost daughter) was driving by the daughter’s house and we’re told this:
The numbers on the outside only confirmed what she already knew. Thanks to the all-knowing, all-reaching fingers of the Internet, she’d had the address before she left Austin.
Nothing wrong with that except we’d already learned Rose had the address prior to this. In fact, it had been mentioned at least twice in the last few pages. The second sentence is telling us what we already know one more time.
Another example is this sequence:
Inside, he wondered if her posting that picture meant something more. Does it mean she likes me? he wondered. Years later, with the wisdom of experience, he’d understand that they were already in love.
What purpose does that last sentence serve? Odds are the reader already senses this. I did. Instead we get a ham-handed telling of what we should already know instead of trusting the reader to understand. (Not to mentioned the repetition of “he wondered.”) Despite too many of these kind of issues, I still love the premise and found myself enjoying the story much of the time in between cringing over one of these lines.
A small amount of adult language.
No significant issues.
Rating: *** Three Stars