Author: Courtney Maum
Summary: This didn’t feel very unique, but the career-focused part of the plot was fascinating and the whole thing was thought-provoking.
“Sloane Jacobsen is the most powerful trend forecaster in the world (she was the foreseer of the swipe ), and global fashion, lifestyle, and tech companies pay to hear her opinions about the future. Her recent forecasts on the family are unwavering: the world is over-populated, and with unemployment, college costs, and food prices all on the rise, having children is an extravagant indulgence.” (source) However, when she predicts that people will rebound from their tech-obsession and want more human interaction, both her employer and her partner get all sexist about things and accuse her of confusing her personal desires with her professional predictions.
I have to be honest – this book didn’t feel very unique to me. I’m surprised by that, because there are some things I loved about it. Although Sloane’s personal life is a strong secondary plot, a lot of the focus is on her career. I loved the insight we got into her process and the snippets of the future she predicts. These were especially fun when they included things that have really come to pass, such as the free hug movement and the fact that people do now use technology to pay people to be their friend for an hour (example). These true ‘predictions’ made Sloane’s predictions far more believable to me than if she’d simply predicted everyone swearing off tech forever. I also appreciated that while the message of the book clearly promoted human connection, it didn’t demonize technology.
I think part of the reason this book felt kind of average and like something I’d seen before is because of Sloane’s personal life. It’s immediately obvious that we’re supposed to want her to get out of her relationship. It’s immediately obvious when she meets the guy we’re supposed to root for her to be with. If you’ve read this and want to talk about the ending, I’d love to chat in the comments. Here, I’ll just say that the ending felt very gendered – stereotypical for female characters and never seen for a male character. I’d much rather have seen the book ending focused more exclusively on Sloane’s career successes.
I do have to give the author a lot of credit for not making people who don’t want children the bad guys. Although Sloane does start to long for more human connection in her own life, I think the sexism that greets her change of heart is a great example of how women’s personal choices are viewed differently because they’re women. Even when Sloane makes more traditional decisions, she’s judged harshly because she’s a woman. I think this could make for some great book club discussion about how the goal of feminism is to allow women to do whatever they want without judgement, not just things that aren’t considered feminine by sexist stereotypers. So, even though this read like a lot of other contemporary novels about women with careers, I would recommend it as a book club read that could be both fun and thought provoking.