“A story of loneliness, love and loose connections…” – that first sentence of the blurb was enough for me, I was already hooked.
And thank goodness I didn’t read any more of the synopsis because had I also discovered the main character was a ‘bot’, I might have thought twice about reading Set My Heart To Five, as it’s not my usual cup of tea.
How sad that I would have missed out on this heart-warming, original novel which explores humanity through gentle humour and razor sharp insight.
Here’s the blurb:
A story of loneliness, love and loose connections, Set My Heart to Five is a hilarious, touching, dazzlingly perceptive debut novel, and a profound exploration of what it truly means to be human.
10/10 Jared does not have friends.
Because friends are a function of feelings.
Therefore friends are just one more human obligation that Jared never has to worry about.
But Jared is worrying. Which is worrying. He’s also started watching old films. And inexplicably crying in them. And even his Feelings Wheel (given to him by Dr Glundenstein, who definitely is not a friend) cannot guide him through the emotional minefield he now finds himself in.
Soon his feelings will send him fleeing across the country, pursued by a man who wants to destroy him and driven by an illogical desire to share pathogens with the woman who bamboozles him the most.
And Jared cannot!
Because feelings will ruin your life, especially if you aren’t supposed to have them…
After I had finished reading, I Googled Simon Stephenson. While he has written an award-winning memoir about the loss of his brother in the Indian ocean tsunami, entitled, Let Not the Waves of the Sea, this is his debut novel. Amazing! (I know it says that it the blurb but I still hadn’t read it by that point).
Set My Heart To Five is so well written with many genuine laugh out loud moments as well as some scenes that made me well up.
It’s quirky and fascinating and quite hard to put down once you start reading. Even though there are clues to the ending throughout the book, I still thought it was perfect and it left me with a smile on my face.
I might start just reading the first few lines of any synopsis from now on to broaden my horizons – especially if novels like this are the result.
Price: £5.99 (via Amazon).
My rating: Four and a half stars.
My thanks to 4th Estate (via NetGalley) for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.