BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Review: Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros
Taken under the wing of one of her Twitter followers, “MarkBaynard"—a quick witted, quick-typing professor on sabbatical—Abby finds it easy to put words out into the world 140 characters at a time. And once she gets a handle on tweets, retweets, direct messages, hashtags, and trends, she starts to feel unblocked in writing and in life. After all, why should she be spending hours in her apartment staring at her TweetDeck and fretting about her stalled career when Mark is out there traveling the world and living?
Or is he?
Told almost entirely in tweets and DMs, Goodnight Tweetheart is a truly modern take on a classic tale of love and loss—a Griffin and Sabine for the Twitter generation.
Although I'm not a big fan of Medeiros's work, the premise of this book was intriguing, and I do enjoy reading romances so I decided to try it.I did have some hesitation about the use of Twitter as a setting. That seemed as if it could be really great or really awful.
It actually falls somewhere in between. Abby's agent signs her up for a Twitter account in hopes of connecting Abby with her readers and also in hopes of keeping Abby's name out there. It's been five years since Abby's first novel was published and she's stuck. Her second novel is overdue, she has writers block, and when she makes a public appearance, the turnout is small to none. She's hesitant at first to try Twitter but goes on and looks to see what all of the fuss is about.
The first person to respond to her is Mark Baynard, who asks "R U a twitter virgin?" Now, if I received that, I'd have immediately gone looking for how to block or ignore him as a spammer. But she responds and they begin to flirt. They quickly move to DM's or direct messages which can only be seen by the recipient. Much of the book is written in the form of their DM's and occasional tweets, and it's here that Medeiros chooses not to show Twitter in action. Most people on Twitter don't use DM's as their primary means of communication on there. The whole point of Twitter is to share publicly what are you doing and saying. Had the romance been conducted in the public timeline of Twitter, followers of both Mark and Abby could have provided commentary which would have added another layer of depth to the story. Additionally, even the messages are not formatted properly, many being over the 140 character limit. There are ways to get around that limit, but again, that's not acknowledged or shown. Medeiros is an active Twitter user so I'm surprised that she opted not to better utilize it in the book.As an author, she knows both the advantages and pitfalls of using Twitter to interact with and communicate with her readers but we never see Abby do any of that.
I'm not certain how readers who don't use Twitter will react to the book. While not an accurate representation of Twitter, since much of the book is written in DM's and not tweets, it could be offputting for some readers. There are sections of prose interspersed through out the book and we get to see Abby interacting with her friends, agent, mother, etc. I liked those little glimpses and I thought they really helped to flesh out Abby's character.
Mark's character is not so well fleshed out. We only see him via his replies to Abby and he is coy with information about himself. Abby is very trusting of this total stranger that she knows only online, something that her friend is quick to point out. I never felt as if I knew Mark or had a grasp on who he was. He does come off as funny, smart, and likable and he pushes Abby to not give up, but keep writing and keep living instead of hiding. His encouragement helps her to make progress on her stalled second novel.
In a sense, Abby and Mark are pen pals, never meeting, communicating only by DM's and the occasional tweet. They promise not to look each other up on the web, they don't exchange photos, nor do they exchange email addresses, snail mail addresses, or IM's. Their interactions are limited solely to Twitter, and the limited information that each chooses to share, though at one point Abby does offer to exchange cell phone numbers.
"Goodnight Tweetheart" is a light, (mostly) fluffy, funny romance. It works on those levels but it could have been more. In addition to not fully utilizing Twitter as the geographical setting of this romance, there are other, serious issues that come up but don't really get addressed: Abby's depression, her mother's ill health, Abby 's continuing grief over her father's death several years ago, Abby's personal, professional and financial problems stemming from her failure to follow up on her first novel, how technology affects our relationships, etc. As you can see, there's a wealth of material but much of it is throw away or serves solely to move the romance along.
That said, it's a quick enjoyable read, with some laugh out loud lines. Medeiros has a sharp eye and a sharp wit. I enjoyed the story, I just wish it had been a little deeper, a little richer.
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: Dec. 14, 2010
This paperback was received from the publisher for review.