Sam Elling works for an internet dating company, but he still can't get a date. So he creates an algorithm that will match you with your soul mate. Read more...
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Sam Elling works for an internet dating company, but he still can't get a date. So he creates an algorithm that will match you with your soul mate. Sam meets the love of his life, a coworker named Meredith, but he also gets fired when the company starts losing all their customers to Mr. and Ms. Right.
When Meredith's grandmother, Livvie, dies suddenly, Sam uses his ample free time to create a computer program that will allow Meredith to have one last conversation with her grandmother. Mining from all her correspondence--email, Facebook, Skype, texts--Sam constructs a computer simulation of Livvie who can respond to email or video chat just as if she were still alive. It's not supernatural, it's computer science.
Meredith loves it, and the couple begins to wonder if this is something that could help more people through their grief. And thus, the company RePose is born. The business takes off, but for every person who just wants to say good-bye, there is someone who can't let go.
In the meantime, Sam and Meredith's affection for one another deepens into the kind of love that once tasted, you can't live without. But what if one of them suddenly had to? This entertaining novel, delivers a charming and bittersweet romance as well as a lump in the throat exploration of the nature of love, loss, and life (both real and computer simulated). Maybe nothing was meant to last forever, but then again, sometimes love takes on a life of its own.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-06-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Sam Elling is a brilliant software engineer for an online dating company, but his own love life is nonexistent—until he programs a matching algorithm that sets him up with his co-worker Meredith. Their giddy romance is interrupted by the sudden death of Meredith’s beloved grandmother, and her grief inspires Sam to create RePose, software that scans e-mails, video chats, text messages, and other electronic communications to create an artificial intelligence that can communicate as if it were the deceased person. Meredith finds e-mailing with her dead granny so pleasurable that she and Sam decide to offer the service to others. But going public results in unforeseen consequences—from the types of conversations people want to have with their DLO (Dead Loved One) to rancor from religious groups concerned with the metaphysical impact of technological immortality. A surprising twist forces the characters to confront the question of whether RePose is a blessing or a burden in the complicated process of grieving. Though the conceit of chatting with the dead occasionally feels stretched for filler, Frankel (The Atlas of Love) addresses thorny questions with thought and care. (Aug.)
Email from the grave
In Goodbye for Now, Seattle author Laurie Frankel (The Atlas of Love) tests the limits of social media with the story of Sam Elling, a software engineer at an online dating site. Single himself and fed up with being regularly reminded of the fact, Sam develops an algorithm that analyzes clients’ emails, financial records and more to see who they really are—not who they want to be. The formula works, and Sam meets his perfect match in Meredith—but is soon fired because the company no longer receives repeat business.
When Meredith’s grandmother suddenly dies, Sam adapts his program to ease her grief, allowing it to create responses to emails and video chats for the dead to hold with the living. It proves such a successful way to help Meredith that they, along with Meredith’s flamboyant cousin Dash, open a business: RePose. The service is meant to be a stop on the way to acceptance, not a way to cheat loss. But when they’re faced with negative publicity accusing them of exploiting the bereaved, the couple is forced to reckon with their mortality and the ramifications of simulating life after death.
Frankel is unafraid to take on big questions as she weaves together her entertaining and thought-provoking story. The result is an imaginative tale that explores life, love and what lasts.