Goodbye for Now: A Novel by Laurie Frankel
Release date: 2012 / 304 pages
Synopsis (from Amazon.com): Sam Elling works for an internet dating company, but he still can’t get a date. So he creates an algorithm that will match you with your soul mate. Sam meets the love of his life, a coworker named Meredith, but he also gets fired when the company starts losing all their customers to Mr. and Ms. Right. When Meredith’s grandmother, Livvie, dies suddenly, Sam uses his ample free time to create a computer program that will allow Meredith to have one last conversation with her grandmother.
Review:This novel should be sold in a plain white wrapper so potential readers will not be scared off by Frankel’s utterly original, yet possibly off-putting, premise.
Goodbye for Now begins as a sweet love story. The protagonist, Sam Elling, creates an algorithm for his employer, a computer dating site, that bypasses the often inauthentic information clients offer and instead matches them according to the sum of every online interaction they have ever produced. As a result, instead of matching people with who they think they want, users are matched with who they will truly love. Unfortunately, this bit of genius coding gets Sam canned since his employer starts to lose money once the perfectly matched couples no longer have a need for computer matchmaking. Fortunately, while beta-testing his creation on himself Sam finds Meredith, his one true love.
Early in their relationship, Meredith’s beloved grandmother dies and sparks an idea that revolutionizes how the bereaved in Seattle approach the grief process. Sam realizes that since he can create a code that tracks users’ past internet interactions, he may be able to program a way to replicate communication with DLOs (dead loved ones) since so many conversations tend to follow certain patterns by covering common subjects — weather, health, job, sports. What happens next is not only thought-provoking and a bit disturbing, but hilarious and well-intentioned.
Frankel’s second novel finds a way to translate the most painful aspects of mortality — losing loved ones — into a compelling and humorous look at how relationships have evolved in the age of the internet.
Thank you to Shelf Awareness for asking me to read and review this! Interested in a winning a free copy — leave me a comment!