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February 23, 2023

The Control Problem by Norah Woodsey ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Vera was orphaned after she was in a car accident with her parents. The accident left her without any memory of her past. Her only remaining family is her cousin Jennifer. But what if it wasn't an accident that wiped her memory? 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free audiobook was provided for an honest review.

book cover of science fiction audiobook The Control Problem by Norah Woodsey
January 2023; Indie; 9780997333954
audio (12h 40m), ebook, print; science fiction

It took me a little bit to get into the story as I wasn't sure where it was going. But it didn't take long for it to reel me in and I listened to half the audiobook in a day.

The Control Problem is set in the near feature. I could easily see the events of the book taking place in 10 or 15 years from now. This book is very timely, given all the talk lately about ChatGPT (an AI chatbot that can converse in a conversational manner with people).

One of my book clubs read Kazuo Ishiguro's Klara and the Sun and many of the ethical questions that that novel brought up for me were also raised in Norah Woodsey's  The Control Problem.

I really liked Vera. She is a young woman whose greatest desire is to have a baby. Other than that desire, though, she has little ambition. She works a data entry-type job. It is a job that Jennifer got her and she's never cared (or maybe even thought) to look for a different job even though Jennifer and her friend Sarah have much more advanced careers (Jennifer is an engineer and Sarah has an advanced degree in astronomy). 

I think one of the reasons I liked Vera so much is because I could identify with her. I was once a young woman who wanted to have children but never got to be more than an aunt. Also, Vera likes routine. Her lunch routine of riding the same subway to the same sandwich place to eat the same sandwich on the same bench is something I would do. 

The basic story is an enjoyable one. But if you like to consider larger questions when you read, particularly the ethical concerns around technological advances, then this is definitely a book you will want to read. 

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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