Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Justine Faeth - Chat Love

City girl Lucia is having trouble finding a man. With a few nudges from her friends, she decides to try out Chat Love, an online dating service for New Yorkers. Hilarity ensues with one disastrous date after another…where do these men come from? Mars? Certainly not Manhattan! She finally meets someone from work who is almost perfect, but decides to move on as he’s still seeing other women. She keeps in contact with a man named Jack on the Chat Love site. Could he be the one? What about her love interest at work? Just like the lovable cast of characters from Sex and the City, Lucia is Carrie, a stylish woman who has found her “Mr. Big” but can’t seem to get him to commit. Danni is Samantha, who loves to have fun and is wild and promiscuous. Autumn is Charlotte, desperate to meet the right man and settle down. Skyler is Miranda, level-headed and quick to offer advice. Will these ladies ever find love? Will Lucia find her man? Chat Love will give you something to talk about!

Comment: I've had this book in my TBR for a while because I assumed, because of the title and the fact this book was on lists featuring internet conversations, that it would be a story told through emails, phone calls, exchanges in chat rooms... but it wasn't, after all.
I like the epistolary/different graphic narratives plots but this book is a regular first person narrative and the only internet reference is the site called "chat love" where the main character finds dates.
This story is my hands because the author contacted me and offered me the book for me to review. This is the first time something like this has happened to me and I truly appreciate the gesture. I'll try to convey my thoughts as clearly as possible. But thank you to ms Justine Faeth for her kindness.
This is the story of Lucia Fabbo, a young woman living in New York, she comes from an Italian family and with almost everything great in her life except her love life and the fact her family keeps pressuring her to marry and have children.
After a disastrous date, Lucia finally agrees to join Chat Love, a site that does all the work and is an easy way to meet people that would be compatible. The story is about Lucia going on dates that are real surprises while fighting her attraction to co-worker Jackson and dealing with her family and friends.
If I am to think about this story as a whole, I did like it and thought some aspects were well done. But there are details that alone probably wouldn't have such a big impact, but put together formed an image of something I wasn't always a fan of.
The writing itself seemed fluid and accessible to read, I think the author had an idea and simply put it on the paper. I liked there was no attempt to make this complicated.
I can see the comic side of this with all the funny situations because of the dates Lucia has, but some other elements meant to be serious seemed slightly exaggerated and in a way I had the feeling the two things didn't balance the story.
One of the key ideas about the story is how parents, especially if from traditional families put their expectations on their children to do the same and marry and have kids. Lucia keeps being told she's old enough to have a family and why doesn't she... I'm sure this is true to countless young women out there but I thought this repetitive because it was told so often. I wonder if it had the intention of a caricature, but it was distracting.
Also distracting was how Lucia and her friends drank all the time. I found that annoying because it only showed how careless they were about their habits and didn't add anything important to the story.
I liked that Lucia cared about her parents, her sister, the people surrounding her, even if sometimes she looked ready to explode. I think the author did well in portraying her frustration when it came to deal with people.
The romance with Jackson was interesting, it had good moments and I would have liked to see them interact positively even more. The mix up was obvious though. I think they were good for each other and the author did a good job in  how their relationship was developed, although it sure took them a long time and I would have liked to see them act together after they realized they are in love. Too many indecisions which I assume were there for drama/plot reasons but that came across as delaying tactics for things to get solved.
It would have been interesting if the book weren't 1st person narrator. I would have loved to see glimpses of Jackson's thoughts, apart from what we do get from him.
I liked how Lucia dealt with the funny situations in her dates. Some of them were priceless, like the one that run away from a restaurant and left her to pay the bill. I also liked how Lucia was lovable character, despite the problems around her. I wish I could have seen more of her job, the little details weren't enough and I think it would add layers to her personality.
It seems this story is based upon or is the author's version of Sex and the City. To be honest, it never was something I enjoyed seeing. maybe a couple of episodes or something....but it's famous enough that I could recognize the characters. I'm not sure what to think about it, personally I wouldn't match the story to it, but I can see the appeal.
Overall, I liked the idea and some situations but there were some little things that put together didn't make this as something as engaging as I'm certain it could. Of course, all opinions are relative and many readers have loved it.
I think any author who publishes is brave and I hope ms Faeth keeps on writing...I really do.
I don't know if I managed to give my impressions in a comprehensible way, but all in all, I liked it, it could have been stronger in some aspects, but it was entertaining.
Grade: 6/10

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