Sunday, September 9, 2018

Literally the Best Reviews: The One

The One -- John Marrs
Hanover Square Press
416 Pages

We’re definitely living in an era of rapid technological advances. With each advancement, it seems more and more of it controls our lives. Where would we be without our smartphones dictating every aspect of our days? We depend less on our natural instincts and more on what our apps tells us. So what happens when a new advance tells us who you should love?
Many of us have taken the AncestryDNA test to figure out where we all came from. What happens as more research is put into the information contained in the DNA to the point that it can tell you who you should fall in love with? What happens if you’re already in a relationship? What happens if you’re paired with someone who is not upstanding, or someone who is the same sex? John Marrs explores these very questions in The One.

In the very near future, Match Your DNA has announced that they had mapped the gene that can match each person with their soulmate. Millions of people have taken the test, hoping to find the person they’re destined to spend their lives with, and to determine whether the sweetheart they married is actually the person they’re supposed to be with. Over a decade, relationships have been formed, and others have been utterly destroyed.

The One follows five people who have taken the test and have been matched with their perfect counterpart, one of whom is the woman who discovered the gene in question. Will their “Match” be the One? These five people, and their prospective love interests, are from very different walks of life, and approach the concept of a soulmate in very different ways.

Each of the characters is completely different, with the sole connection being the search for the love of their lives. Every chapter comes from the point of view of one of these characters, and each has a distinct voice in the writing. The characters weren’t particularly memorable, but they seemed secondary to the idea of technology ruling more and more of our lives.

There were definitely some predictable aspects to this book, especially regarding character development. The one twist came exactly opposite as I expected it to, so that was a welcome surprise. I am generally a huge fan of character-driven novels, but this one was still a firm winner in my opinion. The underlying theme trumped the character development. It did it in a great way.

As we rely more and more on technology to do our thinking for us, do we fall into dangerous territory with our humanity? It gets used as a crutch. Instead of going out to meet people randomly, they would rather wait for their match as identified in a corporate email. And what if that email has the wrong information? Have we programmed ourselves to believe that it must be true? Considering the questionable memes that float around social media that people take as gospel, we’re actually not very far from the dangers Marrs explores in this novel.

I was intrigued by the potential of The One by John Marrs. While it did not live up to all my expectations, it was a very good novel to read, and it made me think. How much technology is too much? Is there any substitute for human interaction? I say there isn’t, and this novel explores what happens when that is taken away.

Craig Bacon once took a DNA test to prove that he’s actually human. Results are still pending.