Friday, September 10, 2010

Girl Parts, by John M. Cusick

I saw this book in a bookstore in Boston, and I was fascinated by the synopsis on the inside flap. As soon as we got home to Florida, I reserved it from my library and in a few short days I had it in my hands. I pretty much gobbled the whole thing in one day. Here's the story:

This robot girl, a Companion named Rose, is programmed to help "disassociated" David Sun make real, emotional connections with an "actual" person. An interesting proposal, since with all the internet stuff and texting and things of that nature, it would be easy for teens to get lost and forget what making friends and having boundaries really means. She has this thing called an Intimacy Clock inside her, which tells her when it's okay to touch her at certain points of the relationship. If you touch her inappropriately, she gives you an electric shock. Reward and punishment system.

However, it's easy to forget that Rose is really a machine, not a person. She may look like a girl, but she doesn't have everything that a girl has. *hint hint* When David discovers this, he pretty much dumps her, and she's left heartbroken. Well, the nearest thing a robot could call heartbroken, anyway. Luckily, Rose makes friends with a boy named Charlie, who is a sweet, real guy who doesn't share David's disassociative problem, though he is a little shy and a loner. But he really does care for her, even if she is a machine. In the end, Charlie helps Rose learn to move on and become her own person.

This story was interesting, but I do have a few gripes with it:
1: There's a lot of bad-boy stuff in here. Cursing, drinking, drugs, and all David thinks about is going around the bases with Rose. I mean, it's horrible how much he and his stupid friends treat girls like objects (although in Rose's case, she actually is an object, but still). Personally, I don't go for books like that. It doesn't set a very good example for real teenagers.

2: I wasn't totally convinced that Rose was, in fact, a robot. I don't know, perhaps if you're able to suspend your belief and imagine that there's a company in Japan (Sakora) that makes absolutely perfect androids that think and seem to act human, you can enjoy the story. But she acts and moves too much like a human. She was just too perfect, if you know what I mean. Her thought process had a bit of a technical side to it, but she still seemed to think like a real girl.

3: The ending really seemed to fall flat. Sorry to spoil it for you, but in the end, Rose simply disappears. I have no idea what happened to her. Maybe she was taken away by the Sakora people and decommissioned. Maybe she ran away and started a new life for herself, one without David or Charlie. (I don't see why she couldn't have stuck with Charlie, but then again, she is a robot.) So with Rose gone, both boys get new girlfriends that they're happy with and everyone lives happily ever after. Really John? Really?

In conclusion, I'd say this book may look appealing by the attractive cover, but don't be fooled by it. Your time will probably be better spent with another book entirely.


J.N. Future Author said...

I really liked your review of this book. I almost didn't click it because the name was Girl Parts. But knowing you, it wouldn't be inappropriate, so I took a chance and opened it anyways.

I liked the idea of a robot helping with disassociation. I also think the storyline sounds riveting, even if I now know the ending of it.

I can see your point with the first gripe you had. Yeah, I'm sure all of the 'bad-boy' stuff was just....not to be mentioned. whatever, I'm more interested in the next 2 anyways ^.^

You mentioned that she was TOO PERFECT. When I first heard that concept it was with a tv show that was quite popular. My friend told me that while he loved the show, the main character was too perfect. he had no flaws, he was able to overcome ever obstacle, everyone who met him liked him. At fisrt I honestly couldn't see the problem with that. But as I thought about it I realized this made characters really 2d.

There is no growth or development in the characters. Also the characters become 'Supermans' where they can tackle any obstacles with little resistance.

Moving on because I don't think I'm making much sense. I understand what you mean when she was too perfect. She was supposed to be a robot, but it seemed like the author was still envisioning a real human being and it SHOWED in his work. I can understand how that would be annoying.

She disappears in the end? That is disappointing.

While the cover was attractive, and the storyline did seem interesting, I honestly feel like I have just read the entire book in about 5 minutes. I loved your review and will defiantly be checking out your others! (I normally skimmed them)

Magenta said...

Ew, yeah. I can see how it sounds inappropriate. The guy probably should have used a different title. 0,o

Well, the story couldn't really have moved forward without all the bad-boy stuff. I just didn't enjoy having to read all about it. >,<

Yeah, DON'T make your hero perfect in a story. Give him/her a dark and mysterious past, a weakness, a fatal flaw in their personality, a funny idiosyncrasy, something!

And when you say the character is supposed to be a robot, even though it looks exactly like a human girl, write it like it's a robot, NOT a girl!

Thanks so much for the comment, Jacoby. I do hope you read more of my reviews, not only skim them. ^_^