I went into this book mostly blind; I had read Lockwood’s memoir Priestdaddy last year and absolutely loved it, so I picked up this book, her first novel, without hesitating. All I knew was that the focus of the book changes a bit halfway through.
I’m glad I didn’t know more than that before I started it, because the first half was not really my jam, even if I can appreciate that it is well-written. (Like scootsa1000, I had trouble sticking with the book, until finally I decided to hunker down and go with the flow.) With that first half, Lockwood does a good job of explaining what it is like to be online in this era. To not just be on the internet, with its memes and its outrage du jour, but to be of it. She does this through short little snippets that work almost like vignettes, but are a bit too short for my liking. As someone who stays away from social media, this part of the book felt tedious and annoying at times.
The second half tells a more personal story, as Lockwood’s sister becomes pregnant with a daughter with a very rare genetic disorder, and Lockwood has to grapple with all that entails. It’s heartwrenching, and I was impressed by how well she explored not just the pain and grief, but the societal issues that factor into it, such as abortion rights, pregnancy, and motherhood, and how those play out online.