Book Review: The Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen

The Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4 stars)
Publisher: Doubleday (May 2018)

When Mad Men debuted I began watching the show and was pretty ticked off a few minutes in and my first reaction was to turn it off. But I stopped myself and thought, "Wait, perhaps the thing that's peeved you is there for a reason. Don't you want to know if there's more to the story?" I stayed and the pay off was worth it. I have to say, The Glitch was a bit in that same area for me. Shelley, our narrator, is initially not endearing, in fact, she's deeply off-putting. To the point that, her likability can only go up.

Shelley and Rafe are both doing the high-level job thing and they have two children, Nova (so named because they're innovators and Nova's a root word) and Blazer (no explanation on why the name but who is small enough that, in the first half of the book, he's often worn around by his parents & nanny making his name titter inducing). As we come into the story, they've misplaced Nova and are looking for her. Enter a stranger who has found her, and odd exchange with Shelley that makes one wonder if Nova was actually taken and finally enters a young woman who is so like the younger Shelley that Shelley is convinced the woman is her younger self. And then things start to get weird and start to unravel for Shelley at work and home.

The further along I advanced in the story, the more I enjoyed it and the more I pulled for Shelley to figure out what was going on with Michelle and Conch. It took until around 60-65% of the way into the story but the shift did occur.

While I never took to Shelley's style of being a parent or spouse, I definitely respected her decisions and her acknowledgement that she had made them and there were therefore tradeoffs. I had a Type A, high achiever father and she reminded me very much of him. It made for a complicated reading as I recognized and disliked some of Shelley's ways very much but Cohen, through Shelley and others here, gave me added insight as to what drives these people to the ends they chase so single-mindedly. The world needs all types.

I was quite stunned at some of the actions & non-actions taken by several characters (spoilers follow for ARC so these may be changed by publication):

In the end, I quite liked how Shelley's work endeavors with Conch resolved. It felt complete and I was satisfied. I daresay, I liked her in those moments. I felt the resolution to her family and marriage were too instantaneous with no real resolution to their actual deeper problems. I needed she & Rafe to continue the real talk they'd begun earlier in the story. The Epilogue reads like it should be heart-warming, but I felt it unsatisfying. Cohen really didn't give it the attention to detail the Conch resolution received.

I enjoyed reading this and it didn't take long because when I had to put it down, I kept thinking about it and wanted to get back to reading. I highlighted some witty lines along with lines and passages that struck me as so uncomfortable and so real. I also give points for the eel scene. That'll stay with me for a bit. Also, everything at the factories in Malaysia. Still, I did feel there were a few things that brought it down for me (mentioned above). Shelley isn't the most likable character but I found her fascinating and worth reading about. Definitely recommended.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Summary:  Shelley Stone might be a little overwhelmed. She runs the company Conch, the manufacturer of a small wearable device that attaches to the user's ear and whispers helpful advice and prompts. She's married with two small children, Nova and Blazer, both of whom are learning Mandarin. She employs a cook, a nanny, a driver, and an assistant, she sets an alarm for 2AM conference calls, and occasionally takes a standing nap while waiting in line when she's really exhausted. Shelley takes Dramamine so she can work in the car; allows herself ten almonds when hungry; swallows Ativan to stave off the panic attacks; and makes notes in her day planner to "practice being happy and relatable." But when Shelley meets a young woman named Shelley Stone who has the exact same scar on her shoulder, Shelley has to wonder: Is some sort of corporate espionage afoot? Has she discovered a hole in the space-time continuum? Or is she finally buckling under all the pressure? Introducing one of the most memorable and singular characters in recent fiction, The Glitch is a completely original, brainy, laugh-out-loud story of work, marriage, and motherhood for our times.

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