Love, loss and the extraordinary potential of social networking media come together to create a powerful, moving, unforgettable novel that will make readers laugh, cry and resolve to find their own true love.
Imagine a world in which you never have to say goodbye.
A world in which you can talk to your loved ones after they’ve gone.
About the trivial things you used to share.
About the things you wish you’d said while you still had the chance.
About how hard it is to adjust to life without them.
When Sam Elling invents a computer programme that enables his girlfriend Meredith to do just this, nothing can prepare them for the success and the complications that follow. For every person who wants to say goodbye, there is someone else who can’t let go. And when tragedy strikes, they have to find out whether goodbye has to be for ever. Or whether love can take on a life of its own.
This is one of those books that I have really been wondering where to start when I come to review it. I have chatted to couple of people about it whilst reading it and the thing is, there is so much to say! When we were offered the book to read, the blurb caught my attention but it has definitely exceeded my expectations.
So I’ll start with the plot, Sam is a computer whizz. He writes an algorithm to find your soul mate and it works! As a consequence he meets Meredith, the love of his life, but he also gets the sack from his job at a computer dating agency. They aren’t making enough money now and want to hush up Sam’s invention. This leaves Sam with a lot of time on his hands and when Meredith’s Grandmother, Livvie, dies and Meredith is devastated, he come up with an ingenious and unusual way to help. He uses all the technological data amassed between the two women to allow them to still communicate electronically with each other. At first Meredith is horrified at the idea of video chatting with her dead Grandmother but soon loves the whole thing and feeling so in touch with Livvie.
Following this, Dash, Meredith’s cousin, suggests they begin to offer dead mail to the masses and RePose is born. They become involved in the lives of many people and discover people have more reasons than they ever thought possible to want to communicate with their DLO’s (dead loved one). Then tragedy occurs and Sam has to find out for himself whether RePose really does any good.
Sam and Meredith are strong, well written and believable characters. Their relationship is lovely and the story also shows the ups and downs of family life in all it’s many facets. Obviously there is a strong emphasis on bereavement and grief. It was really interesting to see the huge variety of ways people have been effected and the wide spectrum of ways in which people try to cope and help each other through difficult times.
This is more than an innovative story, it introduces lots of thought provoking ideas and examines the ethics involved in the use of technology for such a purpose as this. This was the part of the book that I found most enthralling. Laurie cleverly weaves many questions into the narrative through the comments of others, the press, the church, other interested spiritual parties and through the families themselves. In addition Sam has his own internal dialogue through the whole process about its rights and wrongs.
This was a fascinating read. It was plausibly written and I could well believe in the ability of Sam to produce the technology (although in real life I hope we are some way off opening this can of worms!). Laurie gets the most out of her story, both the ethical side and the journey of her characters. I hope I’m not giving too much away by saying I liked the open nature of the ending. I usually don’t like this being a lover of a cut and dried happy ending but it was really appropriate to leave the characters at this point in their journey.
Verdict: If you like to read with your brain in this is a fabulous thinking read.
Reviewed by Helen