Elizabeth's Reviews > A Working Theory of Love

A Working Theory of Love by Scott Hutchins
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's review
Jul 16, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read from September 14 to 19, 2013

This had been on my To Read list for a while, though I can't remember exactly how I came to want to read it. I suspect it was because I had looked up A General Theory of Love, and was distracted first by the similar title, and then by the plot which sounded awfully like Galatea 2.2.

The four star description - 'really liked it' - is apt. I didn't love this book, but I did really like it, and devoured it over several legs of my new Metra commute. It is like Galatea 2.2 in premise: a man in his 30s confronting his life and his broken relationships while taking on an impossible task: helping a computer beat the Turing Test. In Galatea 2.2, the computer is fed the classics, then asked to pass the same comps the author/narrator took as a student. In A Working Theory of Love, the computer is fed the author's late father's journals, then asked to converse with human judges.

I could continue to draw comparisons (the narrators' relationships with much-younger women, the sickly geniuses, the dead fathers), but I tried not to do so while reading the book, as if I had, I would likely have been disappointed. While the science is more current and the emotional punch of the (failed, failing) relationships felt more immediate, this is no Galatea, at least not for me.

But that doesn't mean it isn't a good book in its own right! I was engrossed. I laughed out loud on the train like a crazy person. I was sad to finish the book even as I was aware that I was racing through the final chapters. It was really enjoyable, and I would recommend it, though that recommendation would be less heart-felt than mine for Galatea. But then some books just take root in your heart in a way you can't shake.

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Reading Progress

09/17/2013 marked as: currently-reading
09/24/2013 marked as: read

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