‘Girl Parts’ a funny, sad look into the future

Posted Oct. 10, 2010, at 6:23 p.m.

GIRL PARTS by John M. Cusick, performed on CD by Chris Patton, 2010, Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, $24.99 U.S. and Canada 5 CDs/5.5 hours, Candlewick Press, $16.99/$20 Canada 218 pages.

People — especially those of the opposite sex — can be so irritating.

She expects you to know what she wants, like you’re some mind-reader or something. He refuses to tell you what he’s thinking, and says “nothing” when you ask. She’s a drama queen. He’s a freak.

Without a doubt, you could get along with machines so much easier.

In the new book “Girl Parts” by John M. Cusick, you’ll see that’s right — maybe.

There was absolutely no way that David Sun and Charlie Nuvola would ever be friends. Even though they were classmates at St. Sebastian’s and practically neighbors, there was just no way in the world.

David was popular. He was one of the “cool” guys who partied hard and dated every hot girl at nearby Saint Mary’s School, even though he had an official “girlfriend” that he had, of course, cheated on. What could he say? Girls liked David and his money, his car, his good looks and his cocky confidence.

Charlie was, in every sense of the word, a nerd. His father was a nerd, too, and that’s the way it was in Charlie’s world. He had some friends, he had his books and a bicycle to get around, and that was enough.

But despite their differences, Charlie and David had one thing in common: They both were diagnosed with “disassociative disorder.” Neither boy seemed capable of normal human relationships. Charlie’s father was unworried. Embarrassed, David’s parents brought home the solution to their son’s little social problem.

She was beautiful, with curves on her curves and hair that lent itself to her name: Rose. She appeared to be about 16 years old and was presented in a pod, made by Sakora and already programmed to love David Sun. Rose was a bot, a “companion” who made David drool but who gave him a nasty, painful shock if he got too friendly.

The truly shocking thing about Rose wasn’t the spark between her and David Sun, though. As a bot, Rose was missing her “girl parts,” a fact that David learned almost too late. A fact that disgusted him.

Spurned, Rose deliberately short-circuited herself — maybe forever, if not for Charlie and his quick thinking. But David’s rejection voided Rose’s existence, and the creators at Sakora wanted to find her, quick. A bot on the loose is very bad PR.

Are your parents always yelling at you to get off the computer or celly? Do you find it easier to do Facebook than face-to-face? If that describes you, then you’ve got to have this novel.

Set in the not-so-distant future, “Girl Parts” is funny, sad and highly enjoyable, but there’s another facet that will occur to readers long after they close the back cover. Author John M. Cusick writes with humor, but he also adds a hidden dash of cultural commentary: In the future, will bots possess more humanity than humans?

Whether you’re techy or a technophobe, I think you’ll find this novel to be a great read. For you, “Girl Parts” is total fun.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.

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