In TALES FROM MY HARD DRIVE, a promising debut novel by
author Megan Karasch, we meet forty-something Melissa, a
writer who arrives home unexpectedly only to find her
husband doing another woman on the diving board of their
pool. Not long after, Melissa leaves divorce papers and a
note, and heads off to New York to build a new life free
from memories of Brett and reconnect with friends and family.
Living in her friend Wendy's spare room, Melissa struggles
to find a job in publishing. Not an easy thing to do,
especially as a non-New Yorker. She stumbles into a job
writing a column for the New York Beacon on her awkward and
sometimes horrifying experiences with internet dating.
Things become complicated when she meets Ted at a party; a
nice, honest, normal (though poorly-dressed) man who could
be the one. Is she ready for a relationship? Will her
decision to hide her secret-identity and obligation to
continue to date other men come back to haunt her?
TALES FROM MY HARD DRIVE is smart and funny, I laughed aloud
many times. It has the cutting wit that fits both the big
city setting and a plot that revolves around the very real
challenges of dating (internet or otherwise). Told in first
person, it has a stream of consciousness feel that works
well. I enjoyed reading Melissa's Beacon articles which are
used to tell the stories of her dating experiences. I
struggled a little because I wasn't sure how much I liked
Melissa. I had to keep reminding myself that we all make
questionable choices. I was definitely rooting for Ted but
I wasn't sure if I wanted him to end-up with Melissa which
is not what you want in a romance. It might have helped to
know that the story takes place over more than a year, a
point not clear until the end. Not knowing the time frame
twisted my perspective on Melissa's actions more negatively
because at times it felt like she was acting quickly and rashly.
A new author, I look forward to reading more by Megan
Karasch. It isn't often that a book makes me laugh out loud.
"Tales from My Hard Drive" is a romantic comedy that follows
Melissa who moves from the suburbs of Los Angeles to New
York City after finding her husband doing naked yoga-type
maneuvers with another woman. Trying to find her place as a
forty-year-old writer in a city run by the young and hip,
she takes the best job offered her: that of a paid
cyber-dater for The New York Beacon, anonymously dating and
callously reviewing the myriad Mr. Wrongs who inhabit the
Big Apple. Still brooding over her painful divorce, Melissa
makes an art of exploiting her dates with New York’s
not-so-finest for her increasingly popular Beacon articles.
And then she meets the last man she wanted: the
extraordinary and charismatic Ted, who just might be
everything she’s looking for in a companion. But can
Melissa’s recently broken heart accept him? She starts
dating Ted, hiding from him her undercover dating gig,
leading to a covert double life—dating in the 2D world for
money and in the 3D world for love. Both lives get knocked
senseless, however, when she unexpectedly falls for an
online date who appears to be Mr. Right. Juggling two men
and a secret job that requires her to date even more,
Melissa finds herself in a poignant and comedic whirlwind
that even she may not be able to write her way out of.