“Friend Me” by John Faubion

 

 When a lonely wife and her frustrated husband each secretly pursue companionship online, neither dreams that a real woman is behind their virtual creations, threatening their marriage—and their lives.

 
Scott and Rachel’s marriage is on the brink of disaster. Scott, a businessman with a high-pressure job, just wants Rachel to understand him and accept his flaws. Rachel is a lonely housewife, desperate for attention and friendship. So she decides to create a virtual friend online, unaware that Scott is doing the exact same thing. As Rachel desperately tries to re-create a friendship with a friend who has passed, Scott becomes unfaithful and is torn between the love for his wife and the perfection of his cyber-girlfriend. But neither realizes that there’s a much larger problem looming . . .
Behind both of their online creations is Melissa, a woman who is brilliant—and totally insane. Masquerading as both friend and lover, Melissa programmed a search parameter into the virtual friend software to find her perfect man, but along the way she forgot to specify his marriage status. And Scott is her ideal match. Now Melissa is determined to have it all—Scott, his family, and Rachel’s life.
As Melissa grows bolder and her online manipulations transition into the real world, Scott and Rachel figure out they are being played. Now it’s a race against time as Scott and Rachel fight to save their marriage, and their lives, before it’s too late.
In today’s digital age, the Internet presents all kinds of opportunities to test our personal boundaries, and this exciting and suspenseful story raises important questions about the ethics of virtual relationships. Friend Me will open your eyes to a new—and terrifying—moral dimensions and how they play out in the real world.
 
What would you do if your wife was being targeted for murder – so that someone could take her place in your life?  That’s one of the questions being asked in the debut novel Friend Me by John Faubion. 
 
Another pertinent question is Where are the lines of fidelity and faithlessness drawn?  And Is it possible to cheat with a virtual friend, one who exists only digitally?  If there’s no flesh-and-blood involved?
 
In our modern digital age, these are not only relevant but important.  With cyber-everything at an all-time high, it is more important than ever to be open and honest in all of our relationships.  Friend Me, while it does address emotional marital infidelity and alludes to pornographic issues, would be a great book to illustrate the dangers of being too open online.  From what to tell friends, the kinds of pictures and scheduling information you post, the reader can extrapolate all sorts of valuable lessons from this book.
 
With good reason.  Faubion has penned a stunning debut novel.  He’s pegged the lonely housewife square on the head, and I think he must have nailed the hardworking, executive husband type, too. With each spouse stressed and not sure how to connect with the other, it becomes all too easy to maximize ‘harmless’ online relationships.  The ease with which he paints this fall is scary, and the danger that Melissa’s stalking presents to this family is beyond words. ‘Creepy’ doesn’t begin to explain it – making it a realistic, suspenseful, scary read.
 
The only part of the story that I didn’t like was the speed with which Rachel forgave and trusted Scott again.  It felt a bit unrealistic to have the entire episode – with trust restored – over in a day.  Maybe that’s just me being cynical, for we’re certainly called to forgive – but I feel as if while the forgiveness and restoration is great, the deeper issues weren’t addressed.  Granted, they were busy running for their lives, but that will need to be worked out before their marriage can again be a solid one.
 
Friend Me is fabulous.  Read it because you love suspense stories. Read it because you love techno-thrillers.  Read it so you can discuss it with your spouse and your teen.
 
Whatever your reason, just read it.
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