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Monday, November 19, 2018

#allthebookreviews: Come With Me by Helen Schulman

Come With Me
by Helen Schulman

Thanks so much to Harper Books for these review copies.

Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: November 27, 2018
320 Pages
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction

"What do you want to know?"

Amy Reed works part-time as a PR person for a tech start-up, run by her college roommate’s nineteen-year-old son, in Palo Alto, California. Donny is a baby genius, a junior at Stanford in his spare time. His play for fortune is an algorithm that may allow people access to their "multiverses"—all the planes on which their alternative life choices can be played out simultaneously—to see how the decisions they’ve made have shaped their lives.

Donny wants Amy to be his guinea pig. And even as she questions Donny’s theories and motives, Amy finds herself unable to resist the lure of the road(s) not taken. Who would she be if she had made different choices, loved different people? Where would she be now?

Amy’s husband, Dan—an unemployed, perhaps unemployable, print journalist—accepts a dare of his own, accompanying a seductive, award-winning photographer named Maryam on a trip to Fukushima, the Japanese city devastated by tsunami and meltdown. Collaborating with Maryam, Dan feels a renewed sense of excitement and possibility he hasn’t felt with his wife in a long time. But when crisis hits at home, the extent of Dan’s betrayal is exposed and, as Amy contemplates alternative lives, the couple must confront whether the distances between them in the here and now are irreconcilable.

Taking place over three non-consecutive but vitally important days for Amy, Dan, and their three sons, Come with Me is searing, entertaining, and unexpected—a dark comedy that is ultimately both a deeply romantic love story and a vivid tapestry of modern life.

My Review:

This book was entirely not what I expected it to be.  Based on the synopsis I expected more in the way of multiverses and the experiences Amy would have as a guinea pig to Donny in his experiment.  This has been a subject that has always fascinated me.  How many different lives could you be living - what if you had made different decisions... what would your life be like now?  While this book did touch on that, I felt it was not the focus at all during my read, which was disappointing.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this book and they're all interspersed with each other in one form or another.  I kept getting confused as to who belonged to whom and who was whose mother, etc.  At times the story line changed from one character to another with no exact change over to let you know we were now looking through someone else's eyes.  

Unfortunately I never connected to any of the characters. I especially wasn't interested in Dan's story line and wanted to drop kick him into next week. I'm not sure exactly what it was about him that just really got under my skin but he just did.  Then that ending for him. UGH.

It's interesting that this is classified under sci-fi when it was such a minimal part of the book.  I would put this more under domestic drama and it certainly doesn't fly in the dark comedy or deeply romantic love story that the synopsis leads you to believe in the last paragraph.  Maybe it was due to all this misleading that led me to not particularly care for this book.  Maybe it was the disconnection I felt to every character.  Or maybe it just wasn't a good fit for this reader.  No matter which way, unfortunately this book just didn't jive with me.


Jessica's Review:

When reading the synopsis of COME WITH ME by Helen Schulman, I was expecting something completely different from what I read. It's really a shame when this happens to books - being mismarketed or having a synopsis that misrepresents the story can sometimes ruin the reading experience.

I was hoping to read more about the experiments and experiences that Amy was going to be subjected to as the guinea pig in Donny's work. I was anticipating more with multiverses, which is a topic that fascinates me. There were a lot of different characters to keep track of and there were moments in the book where they kind of meshed together for me. Perspectives would change and it wasn't clear - that or I just missed the transition.

Overall, I think this was more so a reader mismatch mixed with a misleading synopsis going into it. I would probably say this is more of a drama than science fiction.

2/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. I'm 75 pages in and just decided to DNF. I want more of the speculative aspects that the synopsis teases us with. But so far, I can't stand any of the characters and things feel all over the place. Glad to read I'm not going to miss out by DNFing. Thanks for the helpful reviews!