Monday 22 January 2018

Adventures in online dating for a trio of Dublin ladies

Fiction, Meet and Delete by Pauline Lawless, Poolbeg, pbk, 420pp, €9.99

Pauline Lawless
Pauline Lawless
Meet and Delete by Pauline Lawless

Anne Cunningham

Pauline Lawless' fifth novel is a romp through the world of online dating. It's estimated 20 million internet users log on to dating sites at least once a month.

Dating is the third most popular internet service, beaten only by gaming and music. But the story is old-fashioned boy meets girl, or should I say boys meet girls, as there are three heroines.

Megan is a books editor whose feckless fiancé cancels their wedding just weeks before the big day. Viv is a personal shopper for the rich and idle, and the one responsible for starting the online dating game with her friends.

Claire is a children's nurse who's not really looking for Mr Right but joins in the fun anyway, with disastrous consequences for her.

The plot feels like a runaway Luas, careering fast and wild on the Dundrum/Stephen's Green line, as the gals all move in together and commute from their Dublin 14 house to work, rest and play in the livelier singles' spots in town. Lots of venues in the Dawson Street area get a mention, as they meet their dates in well-known local restaurants, bars and clubs.

When a quiet lunch is called for, they can always stroll down to a certain establishment in Goatstown. And when Megan meets her wealthy Killiney-based mother for dinner, it's got to be in a nearby castle hotel, n'est ce pas?

Whether this precise sense of place enhances the story is difficult to say, as the lifestyle of these three young professional women seems fairly universal, whether they live in Dublin, Sydney or Tullamore - they work hard, play hard and buy lots of designer stuff.

Oh, and they stay on the lookout for appropriate suitors, too. Exhausting business, if you ask me, but nonetheless, this is the very lifeblood of chick lit.

After meeting an increasing cast of creeps, marrieds and weirdos through dating sites, the gals all conclude the best way to meet a guy is the old-fashioned way, not involving the use of a mouse. Mice are really incompetent matchmakers. And they're promiscuous little divils, too.

Available with free P&P on or by calling 091 709350

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