Data, A Love Story

111513_mishmash_bookBy Amy Webb
Dulton Adult 2013, 304 pages

According to an article in the New York Daily News, more than one-third of American marriages today begin with writing a profile for an online dating site. Jewish singles are as likely to use such methods as JDate, eHarmony and others to find love (and frequently heartbreak) as any other group. It’s a jungle out there. Trust me, I’ve been there, and it’s not pretty.

So has Amy Webb, except that her statistical skills and determination to find the perfect spouse outstrip the persistence of most. In “Data, A Love Story,” Webb adroitly describes the suffering inherent in online dating, the misrepresentations, the hopes dashed and the outright depression that results. Her solution is to get under the skin of the online dating sites via literally cracking the algorithm code. She utilizes rubes and hundreds of hours of tireless work to concoct the optimal profile, resulting in the greatest number of “hits.” No spoiler alert is required to report that her experiment had the intended result, and Webb is happily married and living with her family in, where else, Baltimore.

Even with the mathematical references, hand-drawn charts and lists of desired qualities in a mate, this is an engaging story in which we meet Webb’s family and friends and watch as she regains her self-esteem as she prepares to meet her beshert. The passion is infectious and drives the book to its inevitable conclusion, encouraging the rest of us to never give up hope of finding that special someone.

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