Thursday, September 5, 2013

Book Thoughts - The Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen

The Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen
published 8/6/13
256 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

An aspiring actress meets an Icelandic Yak farmer on a matchmaking Web site. An online forum for cancer support turns into a love triangle for an English professor, a Canadian fisherman, and an elementary school teacher living in Japan. A deer and a polar bear flirt via Skype. In The Hypothetical Girl a menagerie of characters graze and jockey, play and hook up in the online dating world with mixed and sometimes dark results. Flirting and communicating in chat rooms, through texts, e-mails, and IMs, they grope their way through a virtual maze of potential mates, falling in and out of what they think and hope may be true love.

My thoughts -

This was a great collection to read on my phone as I was going about my daily tasks and would find 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there to do a little reading. Each of the stories was a quick read, and the tone in general was on the lighter side. They were perfect to read, one or two at a time, because each story was easy to jump into, and each felt fully complete when it was done. 

Cohen does a great job of taking situations the reader can relate to and turning them into often awkward, sometimes cringe-worthy moments of relationship hell. With the online dating world exploding, nearly everyone knows someone who has met someone this way, and nearly everyone knows a cautionary tale or two. Cohen takes those cautionary tales and explodes them, making the reader laugh and gasp and shake their heads, and potentially learn a thing or two in the process.

Standout stories for me include Death by Free Verse, in which a relationship started with shared limericks finds its end with a surprise revelation; Man on a Boat, which illuminates clearly the disconnect between online conversations and meeting in real life; and Love Quiz, by far the darkest story in the collection, which highlights the dangers of letting yourself get too involved with people you don't really know.

I found this collection to be a quick and fun read. While at times some of the stories and situations seemed a bit interchangeable, it was on a the whole a nice collection. Recommended if you are looking for a smart, modern take on the short story.

Finished - 8/7/13
Source - review copy from publisher via Netgalley - thank you!
MPAA rating - R for adult situations 
My rating - 7/10


bermudaonion said...

I didn't realize this is a short story collection. It sounds great - I love the cover and the title.

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