There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris:
1) She’s fed up with online dating,
2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and
3) She knows how to knit.
After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of human kind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:
Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?
by Penny Reid
In this book Penny Reid touches on a controversial topic and she definitely has done her research. Can you imagine a robot substituting for human relationships? For raising children? This author’s hero, Matt, can. He is the brilliant scientist working on an AI which will do exactly that. The data he intends to feed into his AI comes from dates with people he and his colleague pick out on an online dating platform.
After two years of online dating, Marie is tired of it. The dates she has had range from mediocre to horrible and she was actually about to delete her account from the platform she uses when her perfect match pops up. Her “man unicorn.” She is tempted to give it one last try. She meets up with this guy but he doesn’t look at all like the pic on his profile. Plus, he is weird and asks all these strange questions. Throwing the towel she considers alternate methods of satisfying the needs of a relationship. Professional cuddling, dry humping and orgasm meditation – are these the future? Or can a robot replace a relationship? Since she is writing an article about these methods anyway, she might as well try them.
On one of the knitting group’s weekly get-together she finds out that her bizarre date is one of her friend’s neighbor and childhood friend. Matt wants to use the data from their date but can’t do it without her permission. Marie needs Matt’s data from his AI research for her article. She propositions the exchange of information and Matt agrees. OK, maybe a little coercion was involved.
What started out as a strong dislike soon becomes a friendship until Marie finds herself half in love with the quirky scientist. Alas, he has sworn off relationships. So what’s a girl to do?
Marie is a likable heroine. Her longing for a relationship is strong and I admired her for not giving into her attraction to Matt only because she needed a quick fix. She knows exactly what she wants. Marie is relatable – many women after their twenties struggle to find the right person for them.
“My love is worth a lot. A. Lot. Because I know I’m awesome.”
But the real star in this book was Matt. He was such an amazing character. Although it took me a while to fall in love with him when I did I fell head over heels. He is as socially awkward as a person can be and totally clueless when it comes to heart matters. He steals your heart with his childlike curiosity, nerdy jokes and genius mind.
“They also rely heavily on repeated parallel matrix calculations.” “Get out!” I said. “That’s awesome.” He nodded. “I know.” He then touched my nose lightly with his index finger. “You are super cute when you pretend you know what I’m talking about.”
And the guy can dirty-talk. Holy hotness. Who would have thought? But Matt also made me sad. His questions often come out of the blue and oftentimes the conversations they trigger are like a 1-2 punch where it hurts most. The reason behind his avoidance of relationships and his research and development of AI was terribly painful.
It totally tickled my funny bone how stumped Matt was whenever Marie surprised him. She didn’t behave and act the way he predicted.
Turning away from me, both of his hands now in his pockets, he said, “Congratulations,” more a growl than a word. “For what?” I called after him. Pausing outside the door next to Fiona and Greg’s and withdrawing his keys, he said unhappily, “For being unpredictable.”
The first 20% of the book are about the technicalities of AI, their uses and how to integrate them into society. There is a lot of talk about the pros and cons between main and side characters and I have to admit that it felt a little slow for that part of the story. It did pick up, however, and developed into an incredibly smart and very relevant tale.
I adored Matt’s and Marie’s friendship, how they took care of each other and just enjoyed being together. It wasn’t a far stretch that they would eventually fall in love. While this might not have been my favorite Penny Reid book it still made for a very enjoyable, angst-filled read about unrequited love, childhood woes and heartache. You can count on this author to give you something truly distinctive. Penny Reid’s stories are always one of a kind.
“Marie, you are the sine to my cosine.”
Dating-ish can be read as a standalone.
About Penny Reid
Penny Reid is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.