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Your perfect match (novel vaguely set in England)

30th January 2017

The One by John Marrs, novel vaguely set in England.

This book arrived on my desk with an interesting “extra”, to wit a phial and swab for embarking on the process of taking a  DNA sample; which of course is an eye catching marketing tool (see, marketing does work!). I was naturally intrigued and read it and gradually realised that actually for TripFiction purposes (#literarywanderlust) it really, actually, didn’t have much of setting. Locale (mainly England including Leighton Buzzard) just isn’t at the heart of the book. But sometimes one must step outside one’s raison d’être and see what else is going on in the world of books.

novel vaguely set in England

And in a way, I was pleased to have read this novel. It tracks 5 characters who are all in the throes of some kind of relationship. The author has invented a rather Big-Brother-esque concept of entering into an adult couple relationship based on whether you have a DNA match with your partner. A gene has been found that enables you to locate your perfect partner somewhere around the globe, a guarantee for a fulfilling life together. If science says it will work, then it will work, er, not necessarily, as we go on to find out.

A person simply takes a DNA swab, it is entered on the database, and the wait is on. Of course, your ideal match may not yet be stored, but with time the whole of humanity could be paired off…and lurve would automatically follow on, says the scientific blurb. Imagine, the time could come when everyone would enter into an arranged relationship, based on scientific pairing, how scary would that be?

On Twitter I have been asked “Would you take the test?” and I would have to say categorically “No!”. You see – in my other life – I am a couple therapist, indoctrinated by the teachings of Freud, and he espouses the notion of unconscious drives that will ultimately make or break a relationship. As an individual it is up to you to explore these drives and try and make changes for a different outcome if life is not working out (very simply put, of course). The question of nature or nurture, although not actively addressed in the novel, lurks at the heart. Human drives tend to skupper the relationship matches neatly identified by the database.

There’s Christopher who is working his way towards a target of killing 30 women, whilst dating his perfect match, Amy, who happens to be a police officer. Jade is motivated to jet off to Australia to meet her beau, but the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly. Nick is already in a heterosexual relationship and his perfect match turns out, not to be his girlfriend whom he intends to marry, but a man, an attractive physiotherapist. Ellie is a successful businesswoman with a security detail in tow, who falls for her Match. And Mandy has been matched with someone who appears to be dead…. a true panoply of relationship matches!

Because love is a messy business there are quite a few curveballs in each character’s storyline. Love by Design is certainly an intriguing premise, and the author has pulled off a pacy and readable novel.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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