First, I'd like to say that I had hugely high hopes for this book. I am always scouting for new reads for the Chick Lit Book Club, of which I am an adviser. I thought that this book was going to be a revised Weird Science, an '80's film where a couple of boys try to create a "perfect" girl and then figure out that they are really in need of an actual girlfriend instead of a robot.
Instead, this book was a little more involved. The book starts with a boy who witnesses the suicide of one of his classmates online. As one would expect, he's disturbed by what he's seen. When his parents suggest that he see a therapist, he agrees to go an talk to one. But, the therapist offers a diagnosis that doesn't quite fit: David is socially disassociated. Which doesn't really make sense, because David has lots of friends and is pretty socially engaged. But, the psychologist insists. The treatment? David's parents agree to purchase a "girl" from Sakora: Solutions for Life.
Rose arrives and is gorgeous. And, this is where some of the interesting social commentary begins. (Along with some serious weirness and grossness about robot sex. It grossed me out. A lot.) It is interesting that Rose is so objectified and marginalized, not just because she is a robot, but because she is a she. Rather than fully develop this notion of inequality and conflicting expectations about males and females in our society, the book takes some weird turns and ends up in a weird laboratory where Rose gets a uterus. Bizarre.
For me, this book has serious potential. But, it stops short of sending a message that is powerful and not demeaning to young women. At the end of the story, Rose is no more of a "real" woman than when she started this book. I am putting this book on my free reading shelves in my classroom, but will not purchase a set for the Chick Lit Book Club.
Maybe someone else can suggest a good title for our club?