John Faubion writes a contemporary story full of futuristic aspects and does it well. Friend Me tells about a tired wife surrounded by dirty dishes, laundry, and two small children. Her husband, Scott, often works late, is exhausted, and needs to talk about his concerns at work. Rachael truly doesn't understand his work or why he must put in so many hours. They each need someone to talk to but neither can fulfill that need for the other. Through an internet ad Rachael discovers virtualfriendme.com and learns that she can create a virtual friend she can talk with anytime through her computer. Given a choice, she decides to create her best and deceased friend, Suzanne, by describing her to the introducer on the website. Scott secretly learns what Rachael has done and decides he needs a virtual friend. Scott chooses to create a female friend, which gears the plot into overdrive. This book races with suspense and throughout presents a clear Christian worldview.
One sentence review of Friend Me: This book is chilling and fascinating.
When you read it, you need to be prepared for a scary story that isn't just entertainment.
Friend Me sure elicited a strong emotional response as I read.
There were times I shuddered and times I felt revulsion. Now that is powerful storytelling!
I want to call the writing style 'plain' in the best of ways, because it brings to life just how ordinary Scott and Rachel's days were.
Scott worked hard and then came home tired and wanted an ever-listening, supportive wife to be waiting for him. What he found was his beloved Rachel, who had difficult days herself and needed him to understand her once in a while.
When the chance came for Rachel to create an online friend to share her burdens with, she took it.
After all, how perfect and safe can it get? You design this "person" to your own specs, you program them to be anyone you want, you can call them up on the screen at will, they are present when and if it is convenient for you, they never talk behind your back or share your secrets, and they "live" for you and your purposes alone.
All goes well until Scott designs himself a friend too. An intimate friend. A woman.
And because he knows she's only virtual, he plugs his ears against the warning bells he is hearing.
Adultery with a flesh and blood woman we can all understand, but fantasy about a fantasy is insane! And that's just it: As technology gives us more all-senses-involved experiences, we need to define what is real. Is a virtual person a person? Does FriendMe dot com produce real friends?
What is real? What is "alive?"
What a thought-provoking novel this is.
Thank you Litfuse for my review copy.
I look forward to more books from John Faubion in the future!
This was such a good book, I picked it up the one night and the finished it a day and a half later! Friend Me takes the idea of Facebook and other social media to a whole new level and exposes a possibility for the exploitation of what might very well be in our future. As you read this book, you can see the story happening in today's world. This is a thriller, and you will ride the roller coaster of emotions as you weave through the lives of Scott, Rachel, and Melissa. It will cause you think about what behavior crosses the moral line when dealing with social media. I loved how each character's feelings and thoughts were portrayed clearly and realistically as they interact with each other. I was given a copy of this book for my honest review. I look forward to more from this author!
First, let me just say that I love the cover. It shows in a very suspenseful way how what comes out of the internet/computer can shatter your life. That was definitely true with this book. I loved how suspenseful it was and how creative the author was when he developed the story. What an imagination! But it was believably done.
The writing was very good for a debut novel, too. I didn't read anything boring that made me want to skim the pages. The author used the context of a virtual connection with a person can be dangerous, and maybe even more when they aren't "real." You can certainly make more excuses. Like the husband trying to convince himself that wanting to spent time with a virtual person wasn't a threat to his marriage because the "other woman" wasn't real.
I loved how the author also showed the way women tend to interpret this kind of behavior... like "What did I do wrong?" and "Wasn't I enough for you?" But it's not typically about the woman's flaws but the weakness men have that draws them away. This is quite deep for a male author. He seemed to understand the woman's psyche quite well. Most of the time while I was enjoying the story I forgot that the author was a guy. Not that the story was in any way soft. He had me on edge a lot of the time.
The author showed the rationalization and progression of what seems like an innocent activity... at first. He also showed the way sin snares all of us and pulls us deeper until the very thing we thought we wanted threatens everything about our lives that we love. How true that is. It often starts with something basic like neglecting to read the Bible and grows from there.
The husband knew the scriptures and God often brought them to mind to warn him, but like most humans, he thought he could handle it. And like the enemy does so well, he convinced the husband that his sin would not hurt anyone. That's the biggest lie of all. The scriptures say "your sin will find you out." If you are a true believer, you can bank on that. And the ending was awesome.
There were a multitude of twists and turns in the story, but the ending was like the proverbial frosting on the cake. I really enjoyed this book. It had enough gritty realism to make it believable. I loved how the hero had realistic thoughts about everything.