Book Review: The Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen

I received The Glitch for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review, because I do these reviews for love of books.  This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. If you like this post, do me a solid and buy your book from Amazon via my link.

 

Every now and again a book comes across your desk, and the blurb intrigues you.

And then it turns out to be completely different from you expected.

The Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen is one of those books. Read on to learn why…

 

Book Review: The Glitch by Elisabeth CohenThe Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen
on May 22nd 2018
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

A fast, funny, deeply hilarious debut--The Glitch is the story of a high-profile, TED-talking, power-posing Silicon Valley CEO and mother of two who has it all under control, until a woman claiming to be a younger version of herself appears, causing a major glitch in her over-scheduled, over-staffed, over-worked life.

Shelley Stone might be a little overwhelmed. She runs the company Conch, the manufacturer of a small wearable device that attaches to the user's ear and whispers helpful advice and prompts. She's married with two small children, Nova and Blazer, both of whom are learning Mandarin. She employs a cook, a nanny, a driver, and an assistant, she sets an alarm for 2AM conference calls, and occasionally takes a standing nap while waiting in line when she's really exhausted. Shelley takes Dramamine so she can work in the car; allows herself ten almonds when hungry; swallows Ativan to stave off the panic attacks; and makes notes in her day planner to "practice being happy and relatable." But when Shelley meets a young woman named Shelley Stone who has the exact same scar on her shoulder, Shelley has to wonder: Is some sort of corporate espionage afoot? Has she discovered a hole in the space-time continuum? Or is she finally buckling under all the pressure? Introducing one of the most memorable and singular characters in recent fiction, The Glitch is a completely original, brainy, laugh-out-loud story of work, marriage, and motherhood for our times.

 

Review

Confession time: it had been a few weeks between reading the blurb and picking up the book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Glitch. And then I got confused. Was it chick-lit? Humor? A mystery?

Nope. None of these fit, precisely. What it is, really, is subtle satire.

Shelley Stone is an over-the-top, super Type-A CEO who has double-speak and lingo down to a art form – although it more along the lines of a black-velvet clown painting than a Degas. I say this because Shelley is, in a word, intolerable. You will roll-your-eyes, shout at her obliviousness to her kids, her snobbery, and her complete lack of touch with most people’s reality – and her business lingo double-speak that sounds like a parody of EVERY obnoxious one-sided business call you’ve been subjected to in a public place.

And as you may even be questioning WHY you are still reading about someone who may be the most unlikable protagonist you’ve ever read…author Cohen hooks you. I mean, there is SO much going on in this story – a possible kidnapping of Shelley’s daughter (while she is on a business call), a doppleganger who soon has her questioning her sanity and then the success of the business she is leading, and, the glitch her product is experiencing, and maybe even issues in her marriage.

She is maddening, and drove me insane. And I think the bottom line to whether you enjoy this book – or not – is IF you can see this as satire and not simply as a bad stereotype of a highly exaggerated type-A millennial. Really, the genius is in how completely absurd Shelley is; for example she takes men’s multivitamins because she refuses to be shortchanged. Her parenting style was absolutely painful (as if not dropping a business call when she discovered her daughter missing wasn’t a tip that she would not be awarded “Mom of the Year” any time soon); her young children are learning Chinese, but of course she doesn’t speak to them in it because she doesn’t want to “mess with their tones” (which becomes a running bit, along with how she fears her daughter won’t be getting into any top-notch colleges because she is (gasp) mediocre.

Cohen has, however, wound enough of a mystery in this that she had me turning pages – even as I wanted to smack Shelley. Who was this younger version of Shelley Stone? She couldn’t really have been brought her from the past…so was this a trick? And what WAS happening with her project, the Conch? And – lets face it – Shelley really was such an awful person that she really could only improve in character.

So yes, I really hated Shelley at the start – and in the middle – but by the end I had made some peace with her. I’ve given The Glitch three and a half stars because I honestly still don’t know if I loved it, or if it was because she was such a train wreck of a character, or if I just needed to finish it to figure out what the heck was going on.

And that is some genius right there on its own.

About the Author

Elisabeth lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and two sons. She graduated from Princeton University, studied writing at Johns Hopkins, and has a library science degree from the University of Maryland. She enjoys reading, writing, crosswords, running (sometimes), and spending time with her family and her dog (100%).NetGalley

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

 

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