My mind is still reeling from this novel! Blake Crouch has done it again. In this novel, Helena Smith is a neuroscientist who sets out to create a device to allow those with memory loss to experience their preserved memories over and over again, in light of her mother losing her memory to dementia. Barry Sutton, a NYC copy, is investing a new illness called False Memory Syndrome, which causes its victims to suddenly remember entire lifetimes that they never experienced.
From the first page I was immediately hooked. While it became a little confusing when the story jumped around multiple timelines, the root of the story was in humanity and the desire to change the past if you had the option. It addresses the dangers of such abilities falling into the wrong hands and, how humankind can’t handle that type of power. No spoilers, but the ending of the novel was beautifully written, philosophical in nature, surprising and I was completely satisfied by the conclusion. With sci-fi novels like this I find that the conclusions tend to be either predictable or disappointing, but Recursion exceeded all expectations.
Thank you to Net Galley for sending me an ARC of this book!
Made to Break Your Heart follows Nick Marhoffer, a reporter who struggles balancing his job during the global financial crisis of 2008, his family and coaching a little league team. Due to the pressures of his life and feeling a lack of support from his wife, he starts to find his eyes wandering to the mother of one of his little league players, Tess Sugarmeier.
The novel is easy to read and almost reads like a succession of diary entries. However, I found that I was never emotionally invested in any of the characters to the point of caring about their well-being. I feel like we were meant to root for Nick but most of the time I found him to be whiny. Also, I found he created a lot of his own problems. He doesn’t speak to his wife much about what’s troubling him and then he resentful when she doesn’t show him compassion. Instead he develops a crush and treads on thin ice, treading into affair territory. It just seems like a rash, childish move on his part. And it’s not like he has a big revelation where he realizes he’s been an idiot; at no point does he acknowledge that he was being foolish.
Overall, I didn’t mind reading this novel but I can’t say I’d read it again due to a lack of likable characters as well as the lengthy baseball chapters. I enjoy baseball and I understand that baseball was a big part of Nick’s character, but I found that the lengthy play-by-play chapters took me out of the story.
Let me preface this by saying I have been a fan of Sex and the City and Lipstick Jungle, the two series for which Candace Bushnell is best known. I loved how her characters were so relatable that you either saw yourself or someone you know in each of them.
Unfortunately, overall this book just didn’t have that same pull. For starters, I didn’t realize this book was non-fiction until nearly 20% of the way into reading it. I thought it was similar to how Bushnell created Carrie Bradshaw–semi-autobiographical but still fiction. I didn’t realize the story was purely autobiographical. As other reviewers noted, the way her divorce and the death of her dog are described was so distant that it felt emotionless. Without revealing any spoilers, the end of the book was the only portion where I felt true emotion and felt that it was honest, candid writing.
Overall, the book was easy to read and I enjoyed reading it, which is why I’m giving it 3 Cosmopolitans out of 5. However, I felt the book was directionless and it didn’t pack the same punchy humour and witticisms of her past work.
Thank you to Net Galley for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.