3 out of 4 stars
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I wasn’t even looking!, by Lana Beaudoin, is an interesting tale of modern-day romance set in the late ‘90s. The author conveys how, as a recently divorced woman, she happened to stumble upon a dating ad online. Curious, Lana started an exchange of emails that would last for years and change her life forever. All of that happened when she wasn’t even looking!
The book is divided into eight chapters, most of which display the emails Lana and her husband Greg wrote to one another. The author also writes about their dates and what was going on in her life at the time. I enjoyed the casual, conversational tone throughout the book that kept me invested in the story. It was particularly amusing and relatable to see how Lana felt insecure immediately after sending an email, wondering if she made a bad impression or asked the wrong thing.
Your enjoyment will depend on how you feel about the main “gimmick” of the book: the emails. On the one hand, this storytelling approach feels authentic, giving us an intimate view of a budding relationship; on the other hand, it can make the book feel dry and hard to connect to, especially when several emails are shown right next to each other without breaks.
It can also be frustrating to read about several events without getting to witness them ourselves. For example, the emails talk about the birthday celebrations they’re preparing, but we never see what actually happened; we only read their emails afterward. Overall, some extra content would’ve made the book more interesting and dynamic.
There are a few typographical errors in the book, though I’m unsure whether to count the errors in the emails. A few formatting issues also show up from time to time, mostly missing or extraneous line breaks in paragraphs. These problems aren’t particularly egregious, but the book should still go through another round of editing.
I wasn’t even looking! is a relatable love story that should appeal to divorced women and readers who enjoy reading about online romance. For better or worse, the book does exactly what it proposes: show the trail of emails that led to Greg and Lana’s marriage. If you think that’s boring, then look elsewhere. Since it’s a short book that can be read in one sitting, you might want to give it a chance if the topic seems interesting. I rate it 3 out of 4 stars, deducting a point for the editing issues and the lack of personal stories to complement the emails. There are only minor profanities, so the book can be read by anyone, but adults should appreciate it the most.
I wasn’t even looking!
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