Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's a review of a romantic read in honor of the holiday.

Smith, J.E.  (2012)  The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.  New York:  Poppy.

5 hours and 17 minutes of listening or 256 pages.

Appetizer:  Hadley missed her flight to London by four minutes.  FOUR MINUTES!  Forced to wait several hours for the next flight, she risks being late to her father's wedding to a woman whom Hadley has never met and hates on principle.

As Hadley waits, she meets and befriends a British boy named Oliver--a freshman at Yale--who is scheduled to fly to London on Hadley's new flight.  They are even to sit in the same row.  Their conversations at a cafe near their gate and on the airplane put Hadley at ease.  She is amazed at how comfortable she feels talking to Oliver, even discussing the difficulties she's been having with her father who left her and her mom for the woman he is now marrying.

After just spending several hours with Oliver, Hadley knows that she wants to see him again.  But she doesn't know if the crazy circumstances that first allowed her to meet him will fall into place again; especially after she realizes that his reason for flying home to London may not have been a cheerful one.

I really enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.  I loved the title, cover and premise of this book.  As for the actual story, I found it to be a refreshing break from some of the heavier reading I've been doing recently, yet it still had enough depth of themes and character development that it felt real and went beyond "a happy bit of escapism."  (Although, some of Hadley's realizations about her family members did feel a little forced...but also necessary.)

Smith did a good job of capturing the feeling of being on a plane and--to an extent--being in London.  I do have an odd complaint though...since the title is so "math" oriented, I found myself wishing that Hadley were a math genius throughout the story.  There are one or two moments where she thinks in terms of math, but I found myself wanting more.

Generally, I liked the technique of having Hadley reflect upon her experiences or flashback to events before the 24-hour period that the book is set during, but several of the flashbacks felt unnecessary given the way that some of the information had been alluded to previously.

I did find Hadley's character to be a little whiney at the beginning, but that could have been a product of listening to the book instead of reading the pages.

The audiobook is narrated by Casey Holloway. I thought she did a good job of narrating from Hadley's perspective and I found myself wishing the novel were in first-person so I could have been brought even closer into Hadley's experience.  I wasn't too crazy about Holloway's British accent though, especially for Oliver.  (It was easier to hear when she voiced several women later in the novel.)  But still, it was a fun (and short!) book to listen to.

*Spoiler for the kinda-end*  As a side note, while Smith did a good job of making Oliver's refusal to reveal what he was studying and his misleading her about why he was flying home seem like appealing characterizations, in real life those would have been major red flags.  He repeatedly misleads her.  *End Spoiler/Rant*

Dinner Conversation:

"Airports are torture chambers if you're claustrophobic.
It's not just the looming threat of the ride ahead--being stuffed into the seats like sardines and then catapulted through the air in a narrow metal tube--but also the terminals themselves, the press of people, the blur and spin of the place, a dancing, dizzying hum, all motion and noise, all frenzy and clamor, and the whole thing sealed off by glass windows like some kind of monstrous ant farm."  (p. 5)

Tasty Rating:  !!!!

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