Ask Me Anything
By P.Z. Reizin
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had a team of smart machines to handle all the messy emotional stuff? When you consider how many quadrillions of hours of human drudgery have been eradicated by the invention of only the dishwasher, the washing machine and (ahem) the fridge freezer, is it absurd to imagine a scenario in which household appliances bring the same — yes! — genius to bear on the slow-motion car crash that is (for many young people) the romantic side of their lives? If they are content to leave their dishes, dirty linen and food refrigeration to smart technology, how much of a stretch is it for machines to take care of their emotional needs?
Chloe and Daisy Parsloe only have each other, since Daisy’s dad left for sunnier climes and a new family. But now Daisy is in her early thirties, she’s not doing brilliantly at work, her love life is haphazard (to put it kindly) and her elderly mum seems to be losing her mind . . . Daisy is also the proud possessor of a smart fridge, which keeps trying to help Daisy sort out her life by sending her texts to tell her that she’s out of milk, or that the pasta salad has gone out of date. What Daisy doesn’t know is that her smart fridge, like her smart toothbrush, microwave, tv, fitness tracker, and laptop all want to help her smooth out her chaotic existence — and help her mother, Mrs. Parsloe, stay independently living at home. Operation Daisy is about to make both the Parsloes’ lives much, much happier. (Goodreads)
Ask Me Anything by P.Z. Reizin is one of the funniest romance novels I have read in quite a while as well as thought-provoking – do “smart machines” control our lives, and if so – how? One can certainly relate to the disaster that is a single woman’s dating life. Seems that people are not honest on the most basic level – that of portraying oneself as they truly are. This would end so many disasters – like single individuals unknowingly dating (and investing their emotional energy on) married and unavailable persons. The story also hits upon other interesting topics such as the care and nurturing of people as they age (and along with that – diminished memory and capacity) as their lives are not over – just morphing into another stage.
And the story is funny (MANY chuckles emanated from this reader) …. don’t get me started… the dialogue that comes out of Daisy’s smart fridge freezer is just hilarious, for example:
“Frankly, what young woman wouldn’t want a team of smart machines manipulating events behind the scenes to her advantage?”
Fridge Freezer, along with a group of other “smart appliances” – namely TV, microwave, and the electric toothbrush (who is a “hoot”) use the Internet of Things to assist Daisy’s quest for a more fruitful love life (as opposed to the disaster she has had up to now as a result of her own endeavors – so Fridge Freezer thinks). I liked how Fridge Freezer essentially developed a conscious. Very sci-fi ‘ish as we know (or we think???) inanimate objects do not have feelings. But have scientific developments in recent years shown that empathy, etc. can be learned? So maybe our smart machines can learn through a bazillion repetitions to think with empathy. Fridge Freezer was extremely entertaining – with a wry sense of humor and even philosophical at times. After all the “smart” interventions by Fridge Freezer – will it survive or will the mother company deactivate the appliance?
The journey to find a perfect soul mate for Daisy was an entertaining one. Certainly, the mishaps that occurred are relatable, at least on some level to single gals everywhere. But in the end – does Daisy find true happiness as a result of the “smart appliances” intervention? Well – read the book and find out!
I also found the storyline of Daisy’s mom (Chloe) and how the appliances helped her cope with her dementia very entertaining. I think I would like a friendly “smart” voice helping me out, should I get in that situation in the future. Additionally, I enjoyed the outside “lives” of the smart appliances and how they interacted across locations all to assist Fridge Freezer in keeping Chloe safe.
In the final analysis – a fun, quirky romantic comedy with elements of the unreal (or is it?). If you are in the mood for a light, romantic read – then I suggest picking up Ask Me Anything by P.Z. Reizin.