Abigail Donovan has a lot of stuff she should be doing. Namely writing her next novel. A bestselling author who is still recovering from a near Pulitzer Prize win and the heady success that follows Oprah’s stamp of approval, she is stuck at Chapter Five and losing confidence daily. But when her publicist signs her up for a Twitter account, she’s intrigued. What’s all the fuss?
Taken under the wing of one of her Twitter followers, “MarkBaynard”—a quick witted, quick-typing professor on sabbatical—Abby finds it easy to put words out into the world 140 characters at a time. And once she gets a handle on tweets, retweets, direct messages, hashtags, and trends, she starts to feel unblocked in writing and in life. After all, why should she be spending hours in her apartment staring at her TweetDeck and fretting about her stalled career when Mark is out there traveling the world and living? Or is he?
And here is Catherine's review:
Goodnight Tweetheart tells the somewhat unrealistic story of Abby, the author of a single book who lives near Central Park and does little besides tweet (a new development, as of the beginning of the book) and stare writer’s block straight in the eye. Shortly after her first tweet, Abby meets @MarkBaynard, and the two begin to chat. Despite Twitter being a collection of thoughts and observations, most of the book is a two-person conversation, which raises the question: how far can witty banter between two people take a book?
The answer is not as far as a Twitter-style book could have gone. Where Goodnight Tweetheart hit as a story, it missed in terms of style. The tag line “A Love Story in 140 Characters or Less” refers only to the love story; the rest of the story is told in prose. Where are Abby’s other tweets? We know she’s writing them:
p. 52 —
MarkBaynard: … So what have you written today?
Abby_Donovan: 2 blogs, 7 Facebook updates & 18 tweets. Oh, & a check to the cable company. You would have been stunned by my eloquence on the MEMO line.
p. 94 —
Abby_Donovan: Seven Facebook updates, a guest blog, and about 400 tweets.
On p. 165, a few of Abby’s random thoughts show up:
Doctors should give out bottles of Dark Choco M&Ms labeled HAPPY PILLS. Take 30 and don’t call me in the morning.
Dear New Age CD: This track might be more relaxing if it didn’t sound just like the music they played when TITANIC was sinking.
But they’re not actual tweets! Just things she’s thinking about tweeting! (Although I do feel better knowing I’m not the only one who thinks in Twitter-sized chunks …) What else is this woman saying on Twitter? What else is happening in her life?
Twitter, with all its characters, hashtags, and real-time reflections, can tell one heck of a story. But without the random thoughts and intermixed conversations that usually cover one’s Twitter account, how is this any different from other e-epistolary styles like IM and email?
Style aside, the relationship between Abby and Mark is a heartwarming story and has its high points, from the Twitter “dates” to their style of saying good night (lots of old TV characters here!) to the ending. This book has good intentions, but it is ultimately unremarkable.