If you follow Eric Smith on Twitter, the fact that this book is heartwarming and a ray of light in the technological gray comes as no surprise. But what really pulled me in was how invested I became in the characters. Divya's strength is incredible, and Aaron is so pure it hurts. The "Say Anything" moments were pulled off with perfection, and I love everything about their relationship.
But digging in a little deeper, we see the issue of rampant racism and sexism within the gaming community that mirrors what's happening in the world around us. We see targeted harassment that crosses over into real life. We see misogyny and xenophobia fueling a movement. These things are dealt with in the book in a head-on, pull-no-punches way.
Yet, somehow, I never descended into the dark place I usually do when thinking on these topics. That's the real magic of this book. Despite addressing the horrors that haunt our daily lives, some more than others, Don't Read the Comments leaves nothing but positivity behind. The simple joys that come from basic human connection can help to heal on an individual level. The book offers hope that maybe if enough people stand together, society can work toward that same healing. Of course, a little vindication doesn't hurt.
What I'm saying is that we desperately need more of this kind of book in the world.
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