Friday, June 22, 2018

Sociable by Rebecca Harrington

Rebecca Harrington’s Sociable is a quick read if you need to waste some time sitting on the beach to develop your tan.

Sociable by Rebecca Harrington. Doubleday Books. Publish Date: March 27, 2018. 256 pages. $17.95.

By Sandra Brower

Do you ever wonder who in the world is writing all those clickbait news stories that pop up on your social media?  Do you wonder who in the world would want a job like that?  This book, to me, is a satirical take on what it means to be a journalist in the era of Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media platforms.  

Twenty-six year old Elinor Tomlinson and her boyfriend Mike met in a college communications class. Elinor works as a Nanny in New York City, instead of in the job of her dreams writing for a news site. As Elinor and Mike try to salvage a relationship based on 4 years of togetherness they both capture jobs on two very different websites. Mike is working for a reputable news site writing deep opinion pieces and Elinor gets a job at and mostly writes copy meant to be clickbait such as quizzes on whether you are a murderer or not. 
Elinor writes a "top 10 things Coffee drinkers know to be true." list that goes viral. For Elinor the more viral and more "likes" she gets the better her writing is. 
The satire of this story is based on millennial’s relationships, how journalism has changed and how shallow people can be when they believe that they are as important as the air other people breath. 

I had a really hard time with this book. I didn’t find Elinor or Mike likable. I cringed every time I read in Elinor’s narration the word “Like”. Do 26 year olds really still talk like Valley Girls? I understand it was satirical, however, the narration (three different voices btw) was super immature. Maybe, I am not sure of whether this is adult fiction or Young Adult fiction, I honestly couldn’t tell you. I have a 26 year old. He is not anything like Elinor or Mike and maybe that is the point of the whole story???  

What I felt Ms. Harrington was trying to convince her readers of is that writing for a Social Media Platform is “way” different than say writing for a magazine or newspaper in print. 

I found the unremarkable existence of Peter and JW as Elinor’s Mentors at as after thoughts to the story. They could have added real depth to the story and they were not taken advantage of. I also had a hard time with the ease that Elinor and her friend Sheila had of breaking off their long term friendship and then getting back together. It just didn’t seem like the way a real adult relationship would work. I was sad that Elinor’s reaction to her friends were so shallow and “typical” of  the written female friendship. Where was the respect, the communication of people who had been companions for over a long period of time? Why are authors so quick to cheapen a story with weak female friendships?  It boggles my brain.

Sadly, I had to give this book 2 stars because I didn’t find it very humorous. I found the characters unlikeable (which I believe they were meant to be- so maybe that is the second star) and I felt like I wasted my time when I have so many other books waiting for me to place my hands on.

I want to thank Doubleday via Edelweiss+ for the opportunity to read this book, as I had heard so much about it, in lieu of my honest review which this review entails.