Every now and then you get really excited about a book, and every now and then this excitement turns to disappointment. It’s one of the great gambles that we take as readers, we set our sights to lofty and sometimes we are left feeling the fool. Case in point, Crosstalk by Connie Willis.
To be honest, I can’t ever remember what got me so excited about this book – probably a combination of things: it was getting a bit of hype, I loved one of Connie Willis’s other books, Doomsday Book, and well, some other things too I’m sure, but they escape me now. Anyway, so excited was I, that I put in an order from the library, who hadn’t even purchased the damn thing yet, so when it arrived it was brand, spanking new. No one else’s filthy paws had been near it – just one more reason to be excited. Until…I started reading.
Ooof. My list of complaints is quite long, so I thought they might work better in a bullet list, and then I don’t have to keep on saying ‘and another thing…’
- The whole concept was just a bit silly – and not fun silly, just kinda, well, dumb silly
- There was barely any character development – one of the central love stories was between Briddey (the main character) and Trent, except we barely ever meet Trent and when we do he’s a total douche bag – so it’s a little hard to reconcile the supposed ‘hero’ of our book, Briddey, being in a relationship with such an asshole
- Also, even though we spend a lot of time in Briddey’s head, I don’t feel like we get to know her very well either – there’s very little backstory for her and while I’m sure we are supposed to like her, I thought she was incredibly annoying and kind of mean
- Used too many tired tropes – like the interfering Irish family, which, in the right hands, could have been funny or charming, but in this book it felt cliched and just a tiny bit racist. And the way Briddey deals with her family made me hate her instantly – she’s completely dismissive of them, to the point of being a massive b-word
- It didn’t feel very unique – the company where she works and all of the plot that surrounds technology and communication reminded me a lot of Dave Egger’s The Circle (which I disliked intensely), while the other main stories just felt a bit tired – I don’t want to talk too much about those as they are probably classed as spoilers, but let’s just say they were problematic
- Did I mention that it was really, really silly?
Anyway, to the book’s credit, I finished it – there was only one point where I thought about ditching it, but then I decided to push on and I made it to the end. It was very readable and, for the most part, it moved along quite nicely, although it could have been a lot shorter. I remember really loving Willis’s Doomsday Book and being completely enthralled and captivated by the world she created, unfortunately Crosstalk missed the mark for me.
I am giving it 1 out of 5 unbelievable love interests.