Is it weird that one’s entire decision about owning a piece of technology can often boil down to one specific thing that technology would allow them to have? Well, when I heard about the Kindle-released Novella, Everybody’s Baby by Lydia Netzer, I had visions of owning a Kindle so that I could one day read this book (I cannot, simply cannot deal with reading books on my computer, so that wasn’t really an option). Combined with the knowledge that I can download library eBooks to a Kindle without having to walk to the library in the cold, cold winter, that pretty much sold it for me: it was time to introduce eBooks into my life. And I did.
The first eBook I read on my brand new Kindle voyage? Everybody’s Baby. I was a little wary, considering that I hadn’t really cared for Netzer’s How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky, but I just couldn’t not read a book based on the premise that a couple decides to crowd-source their in-vitro treatments on Kickstarter. I just… what a wacky and weirdly probable premise!
For me, the book mostly delivered. The characters read as very real to me–the technology obsessed husband and the less-enthusiastic but still connected wife. Some of the concepts in the book were just painfully real–the constant presence of the cell phone even at dinner (though, blissfully, I haven’t had this problem with dates/S.O.s so much as I have with friends), the way becoming popular on social media erupts into a necessary explosion of haters and defenders, the challenges of feeling really connected to someone in a digital age. I also really loved that the main character owned a yoga studio where they listen to rock music while doing yoga–can that be a real thing? I want to go to there. Through it all, Netzer puts her finger on a lot of truths in the book, in a way that had me highlighting lines and writing “EXACTLY” in my digital margins, which is part of the reading experience that I always especially love.
That being said, there was a small element of predictability in one plot development. Once I got to a certain point, it became so obvious that what was about to happen was about to happen that the big reveal was totally… meh. That being said, there were other moments that I simply couldn’t have predicted, which is always refreshing and wonderful.
Being a novella, the book is short. So I would recommend it to anyone and everyone who wants to see what a writer can do with a premise as delightful as a Kickstarter baby (p.s. the baby’s name is Winter Finnegan, which shortens to WiFi, which is just exceptionally perfect and beautiful).