Nancy McKibben's Reviews > The Hypothetical Girl

The Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen
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really liked it
bookshelves: literary-fiction, reviewed
Recommended for: readers who like romance, humor

The Hypothetical Girl
By Elizabeth Cohen

This book consists of a series of short stories about online dating, which is a mystery to me, since I’m married and predate it. The first one, “Animal Dancing”, is charming - a woman’s fond hopes that this mysterious other with whom she has communicated will prove to be exactly what he seems online. Will an in-person encounter wreck the illusions of both parties?

Other stories are darker, but they bump along like real life - sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Since online relationships are an unexplored country to me, I found the stories interesting for that alone, but I imagine that those for whom the computer is a necessary component of romance will also find something to like. In “Dog People,” the heroine Clarissa confides to her friend that she met an interesting man yesterday in the park.
'Oh, wow,' Molly wrote back. 'A real-world man. You don’t hear much about that anymore.'

'No,' Clarissa agreed. 'You don’t.'

They stopped typing for a moment, each one thinking about what the implications of real world men might be.

'Flesh and bone could have some pluses,' Molly said, 'like none of that awful confusion in e-mails, not getting the tone right.'

'True, and no chance he would just vanish one day from your inbox. Like if he met someone else and just poof!'
And the author writes well. Listen to the beginning of one of the stories:
It was the time of year when the helicopter seeds twirled down onto the sidewalks like girls showing off at a dance, when the bee balm bushes wore their best purple frocks and the whole world seemed, to Chloe, tricked out for love. Contrary to popular sentiment, Shakespeare and all that, she thought autumn, not spring, was love season. Everything was overripe, lustily clad, luscious beyond luscious, ready to go.
I was ready for love after that paragraph. Still, this is not a squishy and sentimental book, but a thoughtful and funny look at contemporary love.
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Reading Progress

September 1, 2013 – Started Reading
September 1, 2013 – Finished Reading
September 2, 2013 – Shelved
September 2, 2013 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
September 2, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed

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