Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Girl Parts by John M. Cusick + Contest!

Published August, 2010.

David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David's parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat "dissociative disorder," he can't get enough of luscious, redheaded Rose - and he can't get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock. Parted from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up to her, knowing that she isn't real. With Charlie's help, the ideal "companion" is about to become her own best friend. (book back blurb)

Personally I don't think that blurb does the book much justice because it's so much more than what it's letting on. What this book really is is a satire of internet life. A finger poke to the eye of the digital generation that's more comfortable interacting with inhuman machines than with each other. Instead of attacking this supposed dissociative disorder with genuine human interaction and parenting, the parents are removed and human interaction is replaced by, of course, another computer that looks like a human.

David's a dick. His parents are dicks. And they all stay that way throughout the entire book. But they're compelling. And that's not to say David doesn't go through any kind of change. He certainly does. But it's the result of being a dick. So does it count that he de-dicks to an extent but it's only after he turns into a mega-dick? I'm torn on that one. But while he's a dick, he's human. He's multidimensional. He's not just some popular rich jerk. Towards the end, Rose really does her job in helping David come out of himself and act more human. So despite what they say, I don't think she failed at all.

Charlie I was kind of impartial on. He's your typical outcast but he's still a sweet guy. I really didn't find anything about him that stood out as miraculous to me. Not that I'm saying he had to be a dick like David, but I think Charlie acted in a way that you might expect a character like him to act. So for me Charlie was my least favorite character. I saw him as the least dynamic. Don't get me wrong. He, too, developed as a character but I didn't feel like it was as profound as David's development. Still, Rose did her job with Charlie too. Go Rose.

Rose is awesome. Cusick did an awesome job of bringing this bot to life and making me feel for her. I absolutely had to keep reminding myself that she wasn't human. But I guess that was the point. The more humans this Companion interacted with, the more human she became. She emoted just like anyone else. She felt fear, pain, despair, happiness. She was more human than Charlie and David. This humanoid bot was the one that made the humans feel human. Think on that one for a second. I was upset with the way her story ended, though. It is rather depressing and it's both inconclusive and conclusive at the same time. You're left with enough hanging around that you can safely insinuate just what happened to her but it's sad and you will feel bad for her. If you don't, then you need to re-read the book and take some lessons from her.

As amazing of a story this book is, I loved it even more for it's social commentary. Unlike other books I've read, I didn't feel like I was getting preached to or talked at. I didn't feel like I was having a point hammered down my throat. The message was subtle and expertly woven into the plot itself. The story was first. The message was a few steps down but even down there, I got it and I loved it. If you want a story that puts this digital age into perspective a little while at the same time reading an amazing story about amazing characters, pick up Girl Parts. I can't say enough good things about this one.

Contest Time!!!

Want my ARC? All you have to do is fill out the form below for your chance to win. Open to US residents 13 years of age and older only. One entry per person per email address. Duplicate entries will be deleted. Contest ends January 4th at midnight, EST.


Steph said...

This one has been on my wish list. Thanks for the chance!! Fingers crossed!

Lillie (AliseOnLife) said...

Very insightful review. I've been trying to decide if I wanted to read this book. I was stuck thinking it would be too much of a "statement" on the technology age. But, your comments make me think that I would enjoy it. Thanks.

Adriana said...

I've been reading some mixed reviews on this one, so I was kind of put off from reading it. I've agreed with some of the other books you've reviewed so I'll definitely have to give this book a chance now. I really like the sound of a robot having human feelings. It kind of reminds me of that one Twilight Zone episode.

Thank you for the giveaway.

Jessy said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I've read mixed reviews for Girl Parts, but I still think it sounds intriguing and want to give it a try. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

tinylittlelibrarian said...

Thanks for the review! I had thought this one would be just cheap Weird Science-type laughs, but it sounds really good!

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Awesome review! this one looks so unique! thanks for the contest!

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

This one has been on my list for awhile now.

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