Book Review: “Tales From My Hard Drive”
This review is by guest blogger Susan.
It’s been said that over thirty percent of online users are doing it. Online dating, that is. As a 40-something woman possessing a limited social network, who recently moved to a new city, I admit to being in that thirty percent. I’ve been dating online longer than I had hoped, but without it I wouldn’t have my favorite go-to, side-splitting stories for my friends, my quick and tasty education of favorite local restaurants and hot spots, or the new friends I’ve met along the way. While I can hopefully say my prolonged stint of meeting strangers who look nothing like their pictures in neutral locations is over (crossing fingers), it was somewhat comforting to read a tale about someone else with what I thought was my story alone.
“ Tales from My Hard Drive”, by Megan Karasch, is a short novel about Melissa, a 40-year old writer who abruptly moves across the country (from Los Angeles to New York), after finding out her husband has been having an affair. She hopes to piece her life together by dealing with her husband’s betrayal, the impending divorce and getting a job, all in a new time zone. She reconnects with an old friend, Wendy, who takes her into her home and encourages her to find herself, but also pushes her to start dating again. As Melissa begins to notice that her age may be a hindrance in landing the perfect writing job in the hip young city of New York, she jumps on some online writing opportunities, one of which (thanks to Wendy) chronicles her journey in the world of online dating.
Due to her honest and humorous accounts of meeting the usual online dating suspects (the weirdo, the self-absorbed, the mistake, the psycho), Melissa’s accounts of her dating escapades are a hit with her readers. As she continues to date and write her column, she is also tentatively keeping the door open for the meeting Mr. Right. She meets an extraordinary man, possibly too good to be true, but hides her dating job from him and finds herself tangled up in lies and betrayals all her own.
Melissa is a relatable character who spices up her life’s hardships with humor and stinging wit. Sometimes it was hard to tell whether she was emoting anger or humor, but considering her husband’s eye-opening indiscretion, either emotion is appropriate. Ms. Karasch nails what it’s like to date online; the uncertainty of whom you might find while wading through the pool of hundreds of online profiles that all look and read the same. Her dating columns are the best part of the book if you ask me; funny, heart-breaking, realistic and a little too close to home.
The book is quick and doesn’t dwell on the affair or divorce, it moves you right along through Melissa’s transformation from lost to found and is a humorous reminder that sometimes our toughest challenges are what lead us to happiness. The ladies will like this one. Especially if you’ve ever been in that thirty percent.