- Print Length: 256 pages
- Publisher: Dey Street Books (April 7, 2015)
A charming novel about falling in love (or like) in the digital age—the never-before-seen full story.
Madeline and Elliot meet at a New York City restaurant opening. Flirtation—online—ensues. A romance, potentially eternal, possibly doomed, begins.
And, like most things in life today, their early exchanges are available to be scrutinized and interpreted by well-intentioned friends who are a mere click away.
Madeline and Elliot’s relationship unfolds through a series of thrilling, confounding, and funny exchanges with each other, and, of course, with their best friends and dubious confidants (Emily and David). The result is a brand-new kind of modern romantic comedy, in format, in content, and even in creation—the authors exchanged e-mails in real time, blind to each other’s side conversations. You will nod in appreciation and roll your eyes in recognition; you’ll learn a thing or two about how the other half approaches a new relationship . . . and you will cheer for an unexpected ending that just might restore your faith in falling in love, twenty-first-century style.
Buy, read, and discuss Read Bottom Up
About the authors, Neel Shah and Skye Chatham
I always enjoy the way different authors, or teams of authors, handle epistolary stories. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, after all, is mostly a series of journal entries and letters, and it’s probably what got me hooked on the structure, though possibly Bridget Jones’s Diary is a better contemporary example of the same.
Read Bottom Up actually owes a lot to Helen Fielding’s novel, I feel, because it has a similar contemporary sensibility, and a similar feeling of freshness and fun. It makes sense, in an age where we are all glued to our smartphones and iOS devices for a good chunk of our waking life, that our reading materials would reflect this, and – let’s be honest – how often do any of us make actual phone calls from our phones and phablets, rather than just sending a text, an email, a tweet, or a private message on some other social media site?
Read Bottom Up, then, is a natural extension of reality into fiction, and while the creation of the novel seems a bit contrived (apparently the authors wrote it in real time, from separate locations, each taking two characters, and didn’t see the whole product until they came together at the end of their project), it also absolutely works.
It also means it’s a blissfully quick read, which isn’t to say that the novel is bad – it’s actually pretty engaging – but just as the perfect romantic comedy movie is about ninety minutes long, this novel is a ninety minute – two hour read. Any more than that would be too much. Any less, and the story wouldn’t have room to become what it eventually does: a depiction of a very real, very believable modern romance.
All of the characters – Madeline, Elliot, Emily, and David, were interesting and at least somewhat likeable. The ultimate ending was not a particular surprise. At times, I wanted to throttle each of the four ‘voices’ we hear in the book. Is it great literature? Probably not. But it’s a great afternoon read, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it does become a film someday.
I mean, I’d watch it.
Goes well with iced tea and a cashew chicken salad from that trendy bistro you know you want to try out.
Tuesday, April 7th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, April 8th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, April 9th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Friday, April 10th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, April 14th: BookNAround
Wednesday, April 15th: bookchickdi
Thursday, April 16th: Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, April 17th: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, April 20th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, April 22nd: Bibliotica – That’s ME!
Thursday, April 23rd: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Monday, April 27th: Mom in Love With Fiction
Tuesday, April 28th: Walking With Nora
Wednesday, April 29th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Thursday, April 30th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, May 4th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, May 6th: 100 Pages a Day … Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Friday, May 8th: The Discerning Reader