Like is on sale for only 99 cents until March 8th!! Buy it now!
GENRE: Contemporary Fiction
EDITOR: Bryan Miller
Like takes us through the tale of several characters: Rose, an older woman hoping to reconnect with a daughter she abandoned, Greg, a realtor heading to his ten-year reunion where he will be meeting with his high school sweetheart, Paul, a violent man looking for just the right girlfriend, Susan, a woman whose husband is deployed in Afghanistan, and Martin, a professor recovering from cancer. The common thread through all the stories is the power of Facebook, and the many ways it has come to wend its way through our lives.
The concept of Like is brilliant. It is hard to imagine just ten years ago when we could not easily connect with or track down ex-high school loves, talk to current friends and loved ones oceans away, and organize Facebook events for a variety of causes. Facebook has become a central and insidious part of the way we operate as a society and we are overdue for a novel, or three, that explores the impacts of it on our lives.
The stories in Like are quite varied, and some of the storylines contain more tension and therefore are more compelling. The Greg storyline is the best executed with the inevitable challenges that arise when a married person is contacted by their ex via Facebook. Hopkins deftly tells the story of Greg, a realtor, who heads off to his reunion without his wife to see his ex-high school love. Greg is an entirely believable character—a family man and a good, but normal, guy, who is not immune to the charms of another woman, and the story does not play out entirely in the expected way. The Paul and Jennifer story is also very well done, albeit completely scary, and Paul is exceptionally well drawn as the narcissistic bad guy. Martin, Rose and Susan’s stories are slightly less exciting only because the stakes seem lower. While there were serious issues to be addressed in these stories, they are resolved fairly quickly.
Overall, there were some great moments in this novel, and it was a good overview of the role of Facebook in our lives. The characters felt real, and like they could easily be one of your neighbors. However, many of the characters in the book are extremely nice people—and while there may be many people in the world who are in fact that nice, there is a reduced chance for tension as a result. Like also tended to focus more on the better sides of Facebook—the opportunities for connection, rather than the darker sides—the potential for isolation, for feeling like everyone’s lives are better than your own, and for the destruction of reputations, particularly in the case of teenagers, via the posting of inappropriate photos.
Like starts us down the road of the type of novel we need to have in this new world of instant connection and digital addiction. It was a warmhearted, well-executed novel. For people who like comforting and enjoyable reads with genuinely nice characters you would love to have as your friends, and where the bad guys get their due, and the good guys triumph, this is your book.
Buy it on Amazon for only 99 cents!! (sale ends March 8th)
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Bart Hopkins' official website: www.barthopkins.com
Jennifer Ellis is the author of A Pair of Docks and A Quill Ladder, a fantasy adventure series for kids and adults, and In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation, about a kinder and more romantic dystopic future. Her most recent release is Reversal in the Apocalypse Weird world. She lives in a ski town and works as an environmental researcher. Find her at www.jenniferellis.ca.