In Molly Shapiro’s fun and sexy debut novel, four women try to sort through the wild and complicated world of text messaging, status updates, and other high-speed connections.
Best friends and fellow midwesterners Katie, Annie, Maxine, and Claudia are no strangers to dealing with love and relationships, but with online dating and social networking now in the mix, they all have the feeling they’re not in Kansas anymore. Katie, a divorced mother of two, secretly seeks companionship through the Internet only to discover that the rules of the dating game have drastically changed. Annie, a high-powered East Coast transplant, longs for a baby, yet her online search for a sperm donor is not as easy—or anonymous—as she anticipates. Maxine, a successful artist with a seemingly perfect husband, turns to celebrity gossip sites to distract herself from her less-than-ideal marriage. And Claudia, tired of her husband’s obsession with Facebook, finds herself irresistibly drawn to a handsome co-worker. As these women navigate the new highs and lows of the digital age, they each find that their wrong turns lead surprisingly to the right click and, ultimately, the connection they were seeking.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.58(d)|
About the Author
Molly Shapiro is the author of Eternal City, winner of the Willa Cather Fiction Prize. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Brown and a master’s degree in creative writing from Columbia. She currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her two children, Fanny and Harry.
Read an Excerpt
Point, Click, LoveA Novel
By Molly Shapiro
Ballantine BooksCopyright © 2011 Molly Shapiro
All right reserved.
Shapiro / POINT, CLICK, LOVE
It had been two whole years since Katie divorced Rob, two years since she declared she was through with men. “I’ll never be with a man again,” she had said, her family and friends nodding and smiling politely.
Back then, Katie knew they didn’t believe her. She knew they thought she’d find a new husband within a year or two and get right back on track. After all, she was only thirty-two when she divorced. In fact, they thought she’d find someone even better than Rob. He’d be a big-time executive for a pharmaceutical company, make lots of money, and install Katie and her two children in a big McMansion overlooking a golf course. She’d drive around in a shiny black SUV and would never have to work again.
That was their fantasy, not Katie’s. Katie no longer bought into all that crap. Pharmaceutical executives were dull, McMansions fell apart after a few years, and SUVs were bad for the environment. Hadn’t they heard about global warming?
Katie was proud that after two years as a divorcée she had proven them all wrong. She really was through with men, or at least through with marrying them, living with them, cooking and cleaning for them, having their babies, and putting up with their endless deficiencies.
She hadn’t always been so sure. When she first separated from Rob, she’d look around at all of her friends and neighbors who were still together and think, Everyone’s so happy! Everywhere she turned there were young lovers walking hand in hand, smiling couples pushing strollers, and families kicking soccer balls on lush green lawns.
It didn’t take her long to see past the illusion. Most of those young lovers were destined to break up. If they didn’t break up, they’d end up getting married, having babies, being sleep deprived, arguing over whose turn it was to do the bath, and going to bed mad. And if they made it through all of that, they’d be too busy driving their kids to play dates and soccer tournaments, arguing about finances, and worrying about getting laid off to give each other a second glance.
No, Katie wanted no part of it. But what she didn’t account for was that, sooner or later, she would need to have sex.
She considered a number of options. The first that came to mind was asking Rob if he would oblige. After all, sex was always good with Rob, and he was also still single. She had no feelings for him anymore and was sure he didn’t harbor any for her either. Maybe they could factor in a few quickies along with child support and alimony. Katie instantly realized that would never work.
Then she thought about getting a female lover. But after watching one of those TV shows about lesbians, she concluded that they had the same issues as heterosexual couples but with a lot more props. Then she wondered about the props. Could she get by with a really good vibrator? But as much as Katie had become a genuine do-it-yourselfer, sex was one area where she definitely needed some help.
And so she decided to take care of her need for sex in the same way she took care of paying her bills, finding cheap airfare, and buying her kids’ school uniforms—she went online.
Katie had seen ads on TV for online dating, so she picked the site that seemed the least likely to yield “true love.” She typed in her basic requirements—male, twenty-five to forty-five, within a twenty-mile radius—then hit “enter.” Suddenly her screen was full of fuzzy little photos of men of all colors, shapes, and sizes.
She felt like a kid in a candy store, only this was a store where all the candy seemed just a slight bit off. The Milky Ways didn’t have any caramel, the peanuts in the Snickers were kind of stale, and inside the smooth colorful shells of the M&Ms lurked something dark and sinister.
At first, Katie was put off by all that facial hair, all those balding heads, all those big guts and bulging biceps. She kept thinking that these were “real” men. Not that Rob wasn’t real; it was just that she’d never stopped seeing him as the seventeen-year-old boy she met in high school. They had started dating during their junior year, stayed together all through college, and married at twenty-two. After fifteen years together, Rob never seemed to change much. He maintained a full head of hair, was always clean shaven, and his body remained slim and lean. He was cute in a boyish, nonthreatening way—the kind of guy twelve-year-old girls would fall for.
As she scrolled through all those eager faces, she crinkled her nose, squinted her eyes, tilted her head. Maybe if she looked from exactly the right angle they would seem more appealing.
Katie knew she would have to let go of all her preconceived notions. Maybe it would be nice to be with a big, hairy, balding, muscular man. Maybe that was just what she needed.
The first couple of weeks on Match.com were a little bumpy, but once Katie got the hang of it, she was hooked. She would find a man she was interested in and send him a short, clever email, something about the movies he liked or the books he read or the places he’d been. When she consistently got no reply, she figured out that these men wanted to be the pursuers, so she sat back and waited. Sure enough, being the quiet, demure female worked online too, and there was no shortage of men to choose from.
She noticed that the young, cute ones were boring. “Hey, how’s it going?” they’d write. “Nice day, huh?” “Can’t wait for Friday night!” The older ones were more interesting. Katie had specified she wanted men under age forty-five, but that didn’t keep the fifty-year-olds and even a few sixty-year-olds from trying to woo her.
One fifty-seven-year-old didn’t have a photo up but described himself as a dead ringer for Clint Eastwood. Katie wondered why a Clint Eastwood look-alike wouldn’t want his picture up. He told her he was a real estate developer who traveled regularly to Hawaii, Central America, and the Virgin Islands. He specialized in hotels but spent half his time helping low-income families build homes out of corrugated metal and cinder blocks. He was a gourmet cook, spoke eight languages (only three fluently), and owned homes in San Francisco, Miami, and New York City. He realized he was out of her age bracket but found that the women his age were too matronly. He reassured Katie that he always satisfied his girlfriends. He wrote that one former girlfriend in particular, age twenty-two, frequently contacted him, practically begging him to come back to her. She told him once that when she masturbated, she always thought of him.
At that point, Katie decided to move on.
It was at these times when Katie wasn’t sure if she should laugh or cry. If she hadn’t divorced Rob, she never would have gotten a glimpse of this strange, fascinating world, she told herself. But then she wondered if she wouldn’t have been better off never having gotten a glimpse of this strange, fascinating world.
When Katie and Rob broke up, she knew it was right from the very first moment. She never missed Rob, never longed for him. What she grieved over was the loss of her marriage, that concept that she had completely bought into, that thing that would give her life meaning. Ever since she was a little girl, Katie had struggled with the meaning of life. What is it all for? she’d ask herself. She always concluded that it was love—family and love. While she was married, she had a nagging feeling that the love she felt for Rob wasn’t exactly the stuff the meaning of life is made of. Whenever she saw a movie where the lovers fell passionately into each other’s arms, she wondered if she had anything close to that with Rob. Even all those Bachelors and Bachelorettes on TV seemed more in love after knowing each other for a few weeks.
She then figured it all came down to lust, not love. That was what had everybody so confused. All those people on TV and in the movies and in books weren’t madly in love, they were incredibly horny. There was no such thing as “love at first sight,” it was just “I want to screw you at first sight.” Katie wished they would show what happens after the love is finally consummated, after that first romantic kiss in the pouring rain, after the passionate night in bed, after the “I dos.” All that love and passion did not—could not—last forever. Why couldn’t people just admit it?
So if Katie’s love for Rob did not equal the meaning of life, what was life all about? Getting bland emails from overgrown boys who couldn’t put a sentence together, or explicit come-ons from rich old fogeys who mingled good works toward men with nasty deeds toward women?
Being single again made Katie feel like she had been plunged back into a world that she was finished with long ago. She felt like she was in high school again, and she was never one of those people who longed for the good old days. But she knew she had to find a way to make the best of it.
That’s how she got through the pain of divorce and the heartbreaking loss of her marriage—making the best of it. “It is what it is,” she kept telling herself, even through the tear-soaked viewings of her favorite romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle and Something’s Gotta Give. Even through the pitying looks from the other moms at school, having to go back to work, slogging through the chores by herself, and attending dinners with friends where she was always the odd man out—Katie closed her eyes and repeated to herself, “It is what it is.”
Everyone agreed that she was handling it all amazingly. One friend even wrote a letter about her to Oprah, and for a brief moment Katie was sure she’d be invited onto the show to discuss her incredible coping mechanism. She would write a book about it called It Is What It Is, and it would be a bestseller. She’d write about all her insights on love and marriage—“It’s not love, it’s lust!” “Marriage doesn’t work!”—and it would change the way the country—no, the world!—looked at things.
But before she could do all that, Katie had to first convince herself, which would be tough, since no matter what had happened, deep down she still believed in love. Maybe Match.com could cure her of that.
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Excerpted from Point, Click, Love by Molly Shapiro Copyright © 2011 by Molly Shapiro. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I don't know that I have a whole lot to say about this one...it didn't leave that much of an impression on me. This book follows the ups and downs of four women as they use the internet as a way to escape or transform their lives. One is a single woman looking for a sperm donor, another a divorced mother looking to get back into the dating scene, the third seeks excitement through celebrity gossip to escape her less than ideal marriage and the last lets her suspicions of her husbands online infidelity spur her toward her own. The writing style flowed well and presented no problems but I don't think that any of the women's characters were as fleshed out as they could have been. Honestly I had a hard time relating to any of these women and the choices that they made. The story line barely tied the four together and I feel that a lot of the scenes that were meant to be humorous just came across as sad and sort of desperate. The story kept me somewhat entertained throughout yet at the end it really didn't leave me feeling happy or satisfied. I think it just wasn't for me.
Four separate characters and their stories that come together to make a great book. Formatted where each chapter is centered around one of the four ladies, but each of the other characters make appearances in creative ways. Each of the four characters is in a different place in life from newly divorced to eternally single and they are each trying to figure out what kind of future they each want out of life. With four characters and their families, I did have to make a post it note to keep the girls and their spouses and children all straight. The reader falls in love with each character as these women grow throughout the book. I became invested and wanted to make sure each character ended up in a happy place, whatever that was for each of them. As a newly engaged woman, this book was hard to read at times due to the marriages that were taking hard hits and falling apart. It made me definitely think and confirm that this marriage thing is a serious lifetime commitment which shouldn't be taken lightly. A book that will make you think and even make you realize how good things may be in your own life.
Katie is a divorced mother of two. She no longer believes in true love. It’s more like “true lust”. She has been fine with not having a man in her life for the last two years. Until now. She desperately craves a casual, sexual relationship and decides to sign up with an online dating service. Claudia is married to Steve. Steve has been out of work for quite some time. Instead of scouring the newspaper job section, he sits on the couch channel surfing and updating his Facebook status. Claudia has tried to be patient with him, but money is tight and she’s tired of being the only employed spouse. She doesn’t understand Steve’s fascination with Facebook and what he could possibly be posting all day. Maxine is married to Jake. From the outside looking in, they appear to have the perfect marriage. Only Maxine knows the truth: their marriage is in trouble. And has been for quite some time. When she discovers her husband has been texting a gorgeous younger doctor, she fears her marriage may be over. Annie was born and raised in New York City. She relocated to Kansas City for her career. If truth be told, she also wanted a fresh start after the breakup with long-term boyfriend. Thinking their relationship would end in marriage, Annie was devastated when he announced he did not want to marry her. Now it’s years later and Annie’s biological clock is about to explode. Perhaps marriage isn’t in her future, but being a mom is. Who needs a husband when she can visit the local sperm bank? Point, Click, Love is a tale about four friends facing the issues of dating and marriage today. From online dating, Facebook hookups, to inappropriate texts, Shapiro explores how each can destruct a relationship. From the beginning, I was entertained with this novel. I definitely could relate to Claudia’s confusion about what her husband was posting on Facebook. His need to create a world where everything is light and carefree was understandable to a point. I mean who really wants to post how miserable your life really is? As I continued to read, his behavior began to irritate me. I’ve been looking forward to reading Point, Click, Love for quite some time. I’m disappointed I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. Halfway through the novel, I began to disconnect from the characters. There are some scenes that may come across as humorous, but for me the characters appeared desperate. I cringed at some of the choices they made. What I thought would be a light, fun read turned into a serious look into the do’s and don’ts of relationships. Now that I write that, I don’t think it is a bad thing. 3.5 Stars
Overall, Point, Click, Love is a good Chick Lit book. I loved it because of it's setting, but it is also one of those books where the author does a good job of presenting several different several different ways ones life (and love) could be impacted by the Internet. But the bottom line is,as these four ladies find out, finding love and happiness is just not as easy as pointing and clicking.
Seriously, this is the most fun, funny, smart book I've read in a long time. I seriously could not put it down, and now I feel forced to buy copies for many of my smart, clever friends who I know will love it for the holidays, even when I had no intention of adding to my list! It's kind of like the next generation of Sex in the City, but for us peeps who aren't 21 anymore andliving in NYC. It's also kind of an edgy, feminist story that asks questions about sex, marriage and love that are very thought-provoking. Stuff you only talk about with your very best friends (or therapist). I read that the author is a graduate of Brown and Columbia's MFA program, and it shows. It's like a great beach book, super readable and fun and funny, but really, really smart too. I'll be getting this on our book club list immediately!! Loved it!!