Strong uses the brave new world of social networking to explore the timeless themes of love, betrayal, jealousy and friendship.
Chloe is a successful Manhattan professional in her early 30s. By day, she works her dream job as a film critic for a major entertainment magazine; by night, she hangs out with a glamorous gossip-columnist roommate and supportive fashion-designer best friend. Her social and professional lives are in order, but her romantic life is a consistent disappointment—until a hesitant foray into Facebook leads to an unexpected reunion. A few states away, Morgan has settled into a stable if mundane routine. She takes care of her two young children, keeps house and fills her downtime with Facebook. It’s an activity that allows her to express herself outside the confines of her home, but also allows her to obsessively follow her husband’s Facebook activities—specifically his interactions with a certain ex-girlfriend. It is unfortunate that Morgan’s ability to keep tabs on her husband far outweighs her ability to say anything particularly noteworthy on the public site. Strong dutifully records Morgan’s day-to-day postings, but it’s unclear whether she’s making a comment on modern oversharing or simply filling her novel with the type of minutiae that already clogs the Internet. Brynn is also a dedicated wife and mother, but at 40, with her two children well into their teens and her husband consumed by work, she feels increasingly isolated. Once again, Facebook becomes a source of both tension and relief. Brynn escapes her dissatisfaction by writing to a high school boyfriend, but when the relationship goes beyond the virtual, Brynn is caught between following her desires and protecting her family. What do these women have in common? A lot more than we think, as it turns out, but most importantly, they all use Facebook to express their most significant emotions. One character even proposes marriage through a “status update.” But Strong doesn’t sufficiently examine the total lack of separation between virtual and actual communication in her characters’ lives. The reader may wish that these women would get off the computer and talk to one another.
Often pedestrian, sometimes engrossing, much like Facebook itself.