Nothing does wonders for the spirit — and matrimonial bliss — quite like coming home to find your husband sprawled out on a diving board — um, your diving board — with another woman. But this is just the fate of 40-year-old Melissa, a magazine writer who thought she was in a committed relationship until . . . well, until she wasn’t.
Gathering the pieces of her broken heart and pressing for a divorce, Melissa leaves sunny Los Angeles for the concrete jungle of New York City. She settles into a friend’s spare bedroom, picks up freelancing jobs and, with time, starts to humor friends’ advice to “get back out there.” Not convinced she’s ready to meet someone but needing a distraction, Melissa signs up for a few online dating sites — and immediately begin to gather both anecdotes and war stories. And once her tales begin to run in a city newspaper, Melissa finds herself with a booming freelancing gig . . . albeit anonymously.
It’s not until she meets Ted, a funny filmmaker who becomes smitten with her immediately, that she starts to question whether or not exploiting her love life in the press is such a great idea. Coupled with a few hair-raising experiences with online dudes, Melissa must decide how to move forward with her life . . . even if that means doing it alone.
Megan Karasch’s Tales From My Hard Drive is a funny, erudite and quick read that will appeal to women shuffling through the dating game and those who have sought love through channels like eHarmony and OkCupid. As someone who found her hunky hunk (ew, sorry — too much?) in just such a way, Karasch’s novel immediately piqued my interest. I wanted a fast, hilarious ride with heart, and that’s just what she delivered.
Though I’ve seen the “OMG my boyfriend/husband is cheating on me I have to get the heck out of here so I’m going to New York City on a plane tomorrow” shtick before, that doesn’t mean I don’t still lap that stuff up like a gingerbread latte. It’s pure delicious escapism, friends, and just the sort of novel I like to cuddle up with on a Wednesday evening. From the beginning, I saw through Melissa’s prickly exterior and knew that, deep down, she possessed the heart of a romantic. Even if she didn’t always see it that way.
And I loved Ted. Loved him. He’s geeky and sloppy and a terrible, terrible dresser (I agree with Melissa: a wallet chain? Are you a 13-year-old emo skater kid?), but that makes him all the more endearing — especially because of the way Melissa constantly keeps him at bay. Though I’m surprised that she would find herself dating so quickly after a shocking and unexpected divorce, I felt that Karasch’s development of Ted and Melissa’s relationship was realistic. And Melissa’s issues were realistic. Overall, it just worked for me.
And this book? This book is funny. Aside from the hilarious dating anecdotes (of which there are many), Karasch’s dialogue simmers with wit and warmth. Melissa’s conversations with Wendy, her friend-cum-unexpected-roommate, had me snorting Diet Coke and giggling like a fool. The banter between Ted and Melissa worked really well for me, too, and further endeared them both to me as a couple . . . they’re intellectual equals, after all. Oh, I love equality.
Basically, this story delivers.
Though I feel Tales From My Hard Drive would work best for those who have played the dating game (which, you know, is almost everyone), I wouldn’t limit this book’s appeal to merely ladies — or single ones, either. Because I dated online and having plenty o’ stories of my own to share, I related on a personal level to Melissa’s misadventures . . . but I don’t think you have to have taken that route to appreciate this one, either.
So if you’ve loved, lost, loved again or just dig fun chick lit . . . this could very well be your book. I’d also like to make special note of that fact that it’s written by a fellow writerly Megan. Rock on, girlfriend.
4 out of 5!
Giveaway winner chosen. Congrats, Jen!