True love is only just a swipe away? Right?
Claudia Carroll ~ The Love Algorithm
Iris is good with numbers. In fact, she’s great at numbers. Educated, cultured and career-driven, she’s got it all. Well, nearly. The only thing missing from her perfectly calibrated life is a partner – and not for lack of trying. After almost 30 years of searching, Iris has tried it all. Now, she approaches disappointing dates like research, gathering statistical evidence and formulating hypotheses on why she just cannot seem to find ‘the one’. But something still eludes her – that unquantifiable spark.
Kim is too busy being the life and soul of the party to be looking for love. Her terrible dates make great stories for her friends and co-workers as long as she’s not caught by her strict boss, Iris.
Recently widowed Connie is single for the first time since the 1970s. Her daughter, Kim, is determined to get her to try online dating. But suffice to say, a lot has changed.
When Iris decides to take matters into her own hands – using her extensive research to create the most scientifically accurate algorithm for love. She decides to launch Analyzed, a dating app like no other. But she can’t do it alone, roping in Kim and Connie as guinea pigs, setting them up with their scientifically-approved soulmates.
Because, after all, love is just a numbers game… isn’t it?
Online dating is one of the marvels of the modern world. Hundreds, if not thousands of potential partners one simple swipe away. I spent four years in London using a plethora of dating apps having a wonderful time; of course, there were some nightmare dates and I even wrote a musical about it. I would actually say that most of my friends met their spouse online!
Although The Love Algorithm starts with a series of dating fiascos, at its heart is a story of three women who are looking for meaning in their lives. Ultimately, this may not be a partner, but something they didn’t realise they wanted. But, in their quest for love, they stumble upon an idea and as a result, change their lives in unexpected ways…
And this is what makes this book different. It’s not actually a romance novel, but more a contemporary story about friendship, determination and unconscious bias told through three very different women.
Kim is me ten years ago – working in a city, partying hard and dating more for a good story to share with colleagues, than true love. Her dating mishaps were very relatable and brought back a few memories, that’s for sure! At first appearance, Kim’s feisty, determined and smart (although her lifestyle didn’t seem to suit living at home – her mam is very tolerant of her late nights and drunken behaviour), but something about her isn’t believable.
Connie (her mum) is perhaps the most believable character, down to earth and motherly. Seeing her try her luck at dating in her 70s and thoroughly enjoying herself was a joy and her moments with her friend Betty were heartfelt and genuine. Kim’s colleagues are also well-written, although I did feel there was a lack of diversity in the characters and their sexuality.
Iris isn’t likeable and seems to feel very sorry for herself, despite her lifestyle being entirely of her own making; while she does evolve and develop as a character, her transformation was minor and I still didn’t really warm to her at the end. That said, she is an interesting character and I liked the way her friendship with Kim developed, as well as her decision at the end of the book. The insight into the world of online dating from a developer perspective is fascinating and this process was my favourite part of the book.
The plot is a bit slow to start with, but the second half is much faster and more interesting. It’s not particularly funny, although some of it did make me smile and I liked that the characters didn’t have the endings you might expect.
Overall The Love Algorithm is an enjoyable, relatable read, but there was something missing and it didn’t quite live up to expectations.
Thanks to Zaffre Books for my copy. Opinions my own.