"Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend" (Galbadia Press) is more than a typical romance novel: it’s futuristic. Author Crystal Hemmingway imagines a near-future in which robots may be more than the machines we know — they could be personal companions.
And none too soon for our protagonist’s mother. Crystal Hemmingway (yes, the author and the main character share a name) is a fiancée and technical writer — until a disastrous “romantic” trip to Hawaii (in which her mother Margot joins) leads to a “break,” and a company layoff leaves her jobless. To top it off, Crystal’s fiancé, David, leaves their apartment to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail. So when she decides to focus on writing a novel instead of getting right back into the workforce, Crystal is forced to move in with Margot to save money. What follows is a roller coaster of a relationship between the two involving, marshmallows, Christmas party planning, and of course a robot boyfriend.
Though the title is "Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend," this novel really centers on relationships between mothers and daughters — how strained, unobjective and difficult they can be. Not only is there a dynamic between mother Margot and her daughters Crystal and Lisa, but Margot’s mother is also in the picture. And while she’s several states away, she’s just as overbearing as Margot is to her girls. Many of the target audience will relate to and understand the dysfunction between mothers and daughters.
At the start of the novel when we see Crystal changing her Hawaii trip itinerary from a romantic twosome, to an active “family” outing, we immediately get the feeling that Margot is alone and having a hard time finding someone. We also have a feeling that things may not be rosy between Crystal and David either. (How can they be when your future mother-in-law hijacked your romantic Hawaii vacation?) It’s hard making relationships work, and in this novel, we see just how hard it can be. Even if one of the partners is a robot.
What makes this book unique from most others is that it is told entirely through chat sequences, journal entries, emails, logs and letters. There are no chapter breaks which make it hard to put down, especially toward the end. If you’re going into this one wanting traditional prose, suspend that belief to try something new. Initial experience reading the first few pages was that it was jarring and takes some getting used to. But once in the flow of the story, the format is almost unnoticeable. I found myself wanting to know what happened next, and seeing the next speaker or entry, I had to know what they were thinking, so I kept reading on. Enjoy a small dose of sci-fi with a hefty helping of romance in "Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend."