Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In the world of social networking, a book such as this one is perfect, because it is reality. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard of people meeting up with an old flame via Facebook, or Myspace or a chatroom or whatever. Just today, in fact, I heard a story about a marriage that was broken due to a “friend” on Facebook. Let’s face it, the trap of finding intimacy within the virtual walls of the computer, is real.
So the book – yes, that is my focus, the book. Love Virtually was great! It was funny, and crazy and to be quite honest, it sucks you in within the first 5 e-mails. Yes, the book is filled cover to cover with nothing but e-mails. In the past I have read books like this; completely filled with e-mails and other impersonal type contact, thinking “wow, what a cleaver idea,” only to be left with a bit of an emptiness, because of the lack of character, the lack of description, the lack of a true story. I honestly believe that Daniel Glattauer has wiped these other books completely off the table and replaced them with what they should have been. The way that Daniel Glattauer makes up for the “lack” that I have just mentioned – he addresses it head on. The fact that these characters are faceless, two-dimensional beings is a driving point in the book. It is mentioned countless times, maybe in even every single chapter. The fact that these characters (Emmi and Leo, by the way) are abstract is something even they are aware of.
You only get to know the characters because they choose to let you in. Even then, the revelations seem so minor in comparison to their intoxication with each other, even when they are bickering and even fighting back and forth, it all seems like a sort of foreplay.
There were times that I was extremely frustrated with Emmi. I mean, she is so sure of her perfect life, it’s as if she wanted to portray (at times) that she was not nearly as invested in the relationship as Leo, because she pretty much already HAS a perfect life. Then she would throw temper tantrums, get jealous, etc., only to come crawling back apologizing or whining because he wasn’t talking to her. So yeah, she could be a little annoying. But Leo wasn’t without his baggage. A little wine, and he was off comparing Emmi with Marlene, the one thing Emmi would truly have to complain about, yet never did.
Anyhow, this completely obsessive relationship based solely on e-mail contact spirals and dips and dives and intensifies all the way to the very end…It’s not edge of your seat drama, but you won’t be able to put the book down until you get to the last page regardless.
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