Today’s review is on Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida. It’s an interesting premise exploring the idea that technology might know more about our identities than we do, but there were elements (the characterisations, for starters) that meant it didn’t entirely work for me. See what you think!
Publisher: Quirke | Date: 2020 | Genre: General Fiction
Plot: Mia might look like a Millennial but she was born yesterday. Emerging from a coma with short-term amnesia after an accident, Mia can’t remember her own name until the Siri assistant on her iPhone provides it. Based on her cool hairstyle (undercut with glamorous waves), dress (Prada), and signature lipstick (Chanel), she senses she’s wealthy, but the only way to know for sure is to retrace her steps once she leaves the hospital. Using Instagram and Uber, she arrives at the pink duplex she calls home in posts but finds Max, a cute, off-duty postdoc supplementing his income with a house-sitting gig. He tells her the house belongs to JP, a billionaire with a chocolate empire. A few texts later, JP confirms her wildest dreams: they’re in love, Mia is living the good life, and he’ll be back that weekend.
But as Mia and Max work backward through her Instagram and across Los Angeles to learn more about her, they discover a surprising truth behind her perfect Instagram feed, and evidence that her head wound was no accident. Who was Mia before she woke up in that hospital? And is it too late for her to rewrite her story?
I received Siri, Who Am I? from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Siri, Who Am I? Review
It’s fair to say not a lot of my reading is set in today’s reality. In my continuing attempt to branch out with different genres, I figured Siri, Who Am I? couldn’t get more up-to-date.
I’m not sure what I was hoping for: someone having the chance to start over, to discover something about themselves that helps them be a better person?
I suppose that’s kind of what I got. But I couldn’t get into this one. I’ll get to the plot but the main issue for me was the characterisations.
Mia is shallow, self-centred and selfish. She doesn’t think about others, apart from how they can get her what she needs. She’s presumptuous and assumes she has it all. You could say her heart is in the right place, but it’s hard to connect and empathise with her. Despite her phone-book being empty – including not having her own mother’s number – Mia assumes that she is loved, famous and successful, with no evidence to support that.
But while Mia goes on her mission of self-discovery, other characters let it happen. A house-sitter lets her stay there with no proof she has any right to be at the house. They drive around in the owner’s Ferrari and neither of them have a glimmer of a guilty conscious about it. There’s also the hospital staff who let an amnesic patient walk out with staples in her head and no follow up appointment booked.
I wouldn’t want to make any of these artists jealous, but I think I’m struggling more with self-representation than they are at the moment. Being a spectator to my shitty existence is causing way more pain than the guy who painted himself in glasses and hung it on the wall.Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida
The owner – and Mia’s lover – lets her have whatever she wants, even when she is throwing it all back in his face. Random people she meets are prepared to give up phone numbers and confidential information about others because Mia asks – even when finding her in places she shouldn’t be.
The only character that felt real was the police detective, who isn’t above telling Mia she is in trouble and that memory loss isn’t an excuse to get out of it.
The shallowness of the characters is reflected in the plot. It’s superficial from the start: Mia’s release from hospital sets the scene for how things are going to conveniently work in her favour despite the implausibility. I have no idea if the memory loss information is accurate, but given how other events fall into place for Mia, I doubt it. There’s no challenge; no struggle; no sense of Mia attempting to better herself, despite it being the perfect set-up for a feel-good story.
There are several moments where the font changes with Mia’s interaction through either texts or online. While this is how she relates to her reality, as a reader, I found it jarred and further isolated me from the plot.
It was a light read with potential: a modern setting with technology as an aid to discovering identity. The plot might have worked even if you cared about the characters, but Mia’s self-centredness meant you didn’t want her to find the answers: she didn’t deserve them.
A disappointing read – maybe I should stick with other worlds!
Does this sound like your kind of book? Have you read it?
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