This book perfectly captures ALL our feelings about relationships — in emails
Have you ever read a book and felt like you were reading your own hilariously honest emails? That’s essentially what Read Bottom Up is like. Plus emotions, plus love, plus the pain and awkwardness of love, plus besties who are there for you no matter what, plus the kind of reading experience you don’t ever want to end. Basically, Neel Shah and Skye Chatham co-authored one of the coolest rom-com books we’ve ever read and now we need to tell you all about it.
Read Bottom Up is your classic boy meets girl, boy asks girl out via hilarious email banter, girl and boy date, text, email and forward emails to their respective BFFs for over-analysis. Imagine if you went back and looked at your relationship through the chain of electronic messaging that now records everything we’ve ever lived through. Now imagine if you could look at your partner’s electronic record of your relationship at the same time. Not only would you get an eye-opening flood of truths about how you acted during your relationship, but you’d also get the chance to find out what the other person was really feeling while you were hypothesizing like a mad scientist.
Shah and Chatham set out to write a book about the “ill-defined mess” that is a real relationship — the awkwardness of not knowing what the other person is thinking, the heart-bursts of joy when that oxytocin starts trickling, the moments of panic, triumph and everything in between that makes a knotty, mind-melting relationship so intense. And that’s exactly what they created by telling the story of Madeline and Elliot (and their two best friends Emily and David) entirely through the trail of their texts and emails.
The format along with the authors’ process is fantastically experimental. Shah and Chatham divided their writing in half: each wrote from the perspective of two characters, so they never saw the other two characters’ emails until they put the book together. The result is a kind of beautiful collage, a tapestry of romantic foibles and elation from a 360 degree perspective.
If you’ve ever felt alone in your microscopic translation of a new partner’s emoji usage, or if you’ve simply wanted to know why someone got all weird and freaked out, this book holds some serious answers. It’s also a beautiful character study of two people who are just muddling through this strange thing we (sometimes) call love.
Straight up, Shah and Chatham have brilliantly optimized the era of electronic intimacy to tell a story that’s sweet, hopeful, heartbreaking, deeply relatable, and ultimately uplifting. Read Bottom Up comes out April 7. Do yourself a ginormous favor and pick up a copy.
Read Bottom Up, $12.74 Hardcover, $9.78 Kindle, Amazon.com.