Book tip: "Come With Me" by Helen Schulman
Come With Me
In our need as arts writers to categorize things, I could say with some accuracy that "Come With Me" is a cultural satire set in the visionary tech world of NoCal; a darkly comic, fly-on-the-wall view as a modern family descends into dysfunction; and a disconcerting vision about the near future and variable, custom-designed virtual realities wherein consumers can go back in time and explore how things would be if they'd made different choices when standing at Life's Crossroads. In truth, I'm not sure what the hell this novel is about. Schulman is smart and hilarious, with a Bruegelian tapestry of struggling parents/professionals, bright-but-sort-of-lost children whose goals and priorities shift hourly, and topsy-turvy tech company hierarchies ruled by Starbucks-swilling, skateboard-happy Zuckerberg wannabes. On the whole, this is a shrewd, fun and deliciously anxious book despite a few characters — Maryam, I'm talkin' to you — whose fantastical elements become tiresome.