Monday, November 3, 2014

Review: LOVE IS NOT FREE, THE PRICE IS 99 CENTS by Rudolf Kerkhoven

Rudolf Kerkhoven's latest novel, Love is not free. The price is 99 cents. is a darkly comedic romantic-drama. Mathematically brilliant but socially anxious Xavier Dekker has developed uCupid, a 99-cent phone application that purports to flawlessly match people with an ideal mate anywhere around the globe. Xavier's estranged younger brother, David, is a new father and downloads uCupid as a lark, not because he's unhappy with his marriage. But unbeknownst to him, his wife has done the exact same thing. And soon everyone will soon download uCupid. And soon everyone will be madly in love. So, then, what is the problem? How can so much love cause displeasure? And just what is Xavier keeping secret about this 99.97% flawless app?

 My thoughts: “Xavier was still an undervalued programmer at a large and sprawling video game company that specialized in major league sports titles when he began developing independent mobile phone applications in his spare time. Not only was working for such a large technology company comparable to being an indentured servant—80 hour work weeks (no overtime) were the norm in the autumn lead-up to the splashy pre-Christmas releases—but Xavier didn’t care about video games anymore. Something was lost now that everything was geared towards adults, and more specifically, their disposable income. He felt like a farmer, every year repeating the same cycle, updating the previous year’s title with the newest players, current statistics, and tweaked graphics.

An army of software engineers would flutter around the hallways of campus in the hours before some seven-foot NBA player flew in for motion-capture. But Xavier didn’t know who any of these athletes were, aside from their avatars. He actually thought they looked better as a composition of three-dimensional polygons than in person.” (7)

To sum it up, Xavier is your lovable, computer-wizard geek.  The character just captivates you from the start.

Then we meet David Dekker. David Dekker and Xavier Dekker? Were they related?

As you read on, we meet more and more characters—some slightly more monotonous than others.

“Brett was one of those people who didn’t get into relationships. He wasn’t offensive or ugly; he simply didn’t seem interested in enduring the stress and bother that was inherent to coupling. He preferred to do things his own way. A girlfriend would put a crimp on his spontaneous golfing weekends in the desert or all-night binges of downloaded HBO television shows.” (20)

The book contained some quips that were light-hearted and humorous. It also centers on the app, uCupid, which has an accuracy rate of 99.97%. Oookay. A computer app that can get you a true love? Yeah, I didn’t buy that either. And how the heck did it know you didn’t upload a real picture of yourself? I tell ya, I wouldn’t be able to answer 500 stupid questions.

Even though some parts were funny, the story was not as compelling as I initially perceived. There were too many statistics and too many characters for me to keep up with.  The idea was interesting, but the writing and overall execution were not.

My rating: 2.5 stars

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