Book Review: Autocomplete: The Book by Justin Hook (2019)

Friday, June 28th, 2019

A perfect mix of humor and pathos.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program.)

So you know the deal: every time you type a search term into your browser, be it Google or Yahoo or Jeeves or whatever (who are we kidding, Google), the algorithm makes a valiant attempt to predict what you’re going to type before you type it. You know, autocomplete. This guess is based, in part, on what its millions of other users are searching for, providing a window into the soul of humanity – for better, worse, and everything in between.

Honestly, flip the book open to any random page and it’s likely to be relevant to your life in some way, shape, or form. “should i tell my dad … he has dementia”? Check. I’ve asked myself that question probably three times so far this week, and it’s only Monday. (The most disturbing suggestion? “should i tell my dad … i’m sexually attracted to him?”) “can you sell your … eggs?” Yup, thought about that one too. (And my brother actually sold his soul, to a second-grade classmate. We still laugh about that one. I think he got five cents.) “is america … a free country?” If you’re googling that one, I think you already know the answer.

Autocomplete: The Book is a rather disconcerting mix of humor and pathos, absurdity and earnestness, light-hearted fun and life-or-death seriousness. It’s hard to look away, like a car accident or an oompa loompa presidency. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wish you’d had the foresight to pitch this idea to a publisher.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)