Book Review: "With Just One Click"
At first encounter, my curiosity responded. Here was an author, Amanda Strong, prepared with a promising feature. Here is an opportunity to claw, beyond the bluish facades, at the core of the Facebook machinery, to realize the germ of social media through the lives of three women. A personal opportunity to examine what it is that makes Facebook so addicting, so wonderful, and so damaging for so many people.
And here we have only another troubled romance, make it three, simply lived out in modern circumstances, through social networking. What I mean is that you can take Facebook out of the equation and the basic story would not change. Of course, these women's lives are changed by their online interactions. It is Facebook that shakes the dust from their memories and breathes life to their bones once more.
I simply am trying to prove that this book's focus is not Facebook, but the three women, and that I misled myself. None of the clawing, realizing, and examining I had expected. Facebook plays only a secondary role, a sort of tool tilling these women's emotions.
We are left with these three women -Chloe, Morgan, and Brynn. But why these three? The apparent reason actually makes itself apparent in the final chapter; I should not spoil our fun.
The press release states that the author "firmly believes in the old maxim: write what you know." I can say then that she certainly knows about the bearing and rearing of children. Reluctanctly, I will grant that the writing holds true to what I imagine of the characters.
On the topic of writing, I will set forth my chief criticism. I found certain things funny, like the repeated referral to rainfall as "torrential downpours," a couple references to "paraphernalia," and so on. I cannot get around saying it: this book was poorly written. There was no rhythm, the writing went bumpily, I was derailed as often as possible, it was thick and soupy, and it choked me. Think of the lumps in your sour milk; even now, they remain in my throat. Please do not find me a snob or a blockhead, spit-shining the little windows in my brain, deriding this novel's simplicity. Let me assure you: intellectuality is a game, and simplicity is fine. But when I find one too many clumsily crafted sentences, some flat-out weird observations, and descriptor after tasteless descriptor, I figure, what's the point? What am I doing here?
If we are writing just as an exercise of the self, if we lose ourselves in our beautiful stories, characters, obsessions, convictions, and there is no place for the beauty of the words themselves, then what? As storytellers that are human, we can do so much of this, and so much of that as we shape our little idols. Beautiful and poignant writing is made through words and images, not through constructions- the plots, characters, locations, devices.
For the logicians, who may not believe in beauty, let me offer an example: "I stood in the kitchen, baking my famous banana-cranberry-nut bread." Wow, that sounds delicious! Before I thought that, however, I winced. What is this? Bread? Famous? Or: "Our flirtatious behavior leaped to new heights since our physical connection had been reunited." Does that sound strange to you? Maybe I just have strange eyes. I do appreciate the intimate tone of the writing, it is very nice. But alas, there are some things I cannot get past.
A thought came to me at some point in this process. It grew from an observation, a particular motif I caught throughout the novel: the incessant consumption of wine. Everybody just loves wine in this book, I do not know how many times I read about it. Yes, yes, a few beers, and some other things...but wine. Thence came the thought: well, this novel probably would have turned out nicer if the characters dug into some good liquor. I described this book from the start as a "half-and-half" experience. The wine corroborates that, is a lethargic wine buzz to blame for it all? Is this just a half-tipsy, half-aware, half-confused stumble? So then, ladies, let us have some fun. Where can we find a pint of Wild Turkey? I know a couple guys that deal in cocaine, a boy and girl heavy into psychedlic mushrooms...? Let's not get started.
Reach Staff Reporter Miles here.
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