Publish Date: August 6, 2019
“Memorials bring closure. You’re the exact opposite.” — The Perfect Wife
Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s an icon of the tech world, the founder of a lucrative robotics company. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago, and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss. She is a miracle of science.
But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives–and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?
JP Delaney is one of my favorite authors. When I heard that JP Delaney is publishing another book, I knew that I had to get my hands on it. I am so happy that I did.
This book is a standout psychological thriller about artificial intelligence. Machines can perform tasks, talk and act like humans. But can a machine replace a human? This book makes you think about that.
There are two viewpoints in this story: Abbie, the “cobot” (companion robot) and an unknown narrator that has worked for the tech company since its inception. The reader gets to know Abbie, her tech titan husband Tim, and their story between the two viewpoints.
Abbie’s perspective is unique and refreshing because she is a robot. It’s in the 2nd person narration told to “you” which is not very common. Her memories are sourced from social media tidbits. We know that social media is carefully cultivated, and it’s so deceiving because it only reflects our best life! So you can imagine how happy Abbie’s memories must be since they are a scrubbed version. Eventually robot Abbie uncovers more truths about human Abbie, starts to question things, and that’s when things get really interesting.
My favorite quotes:
“I’m so happy you’re finally here. That we’re together again, at last.”
“You don’t change the future without changing the rules.”
“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.”
“Robots aren’t just the potential savior of humanity. Robots are the future of humanity.”
“I feel like an imposter most of the time.”
“I’d love to make a robot of you.”
“Who actually owns this remarkable creation? Just because you feel like you, think like you, it’s been so easy to forget that you’re actually nothing more than as assembly of processors and logic boards.”
This book is creepy and disturbing because the artificial intelligence that occurs in the story is realistic. In fact, it gives me the chills because this technology isn’t too far off from being used in everyday life. The plot brings up many existential questions on ethics, what it means to be human, living, dying, and love.
The story also has an inside peek into the challenges of parenting a child “on spectrum”. The author has an autistic son and devotes a lot of time to him, so the details in the story are sourced from real-life experiences. I appreciated this insight.
This book is about morality, humanity, tragedy, autism, love, motherhood, marriage, science, technology, and heartbreak. The premise lingered in my mind for a long time after I finished it. The ending was a surprise and not what I expected at all.
JP Delaney is an excellent storyteller . His books have a recurring theme: technology, wealth, and unhealthy relationships. In The Girl Before, Emma and Jane were controlled by their rich boyfriend through a smart house. In Believe Me, Claire plays the role of her life in a relationship with a potential serial killer. And in The Perfect Wife, Tim, a Steve Jobs type Silicon Valley CEO has created a robot version of his beloved assumed-dead wife. JP Delaney’s tendency is to write books about psychotic men and the women who love them…. and this one, like the others, is riveting.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.