Book Review: Love at the Speed of Email
In Lisa McKay’s book, Love at the Speed of Email, the themes of home, hope, passion and purpose resonate throughout her choices of dating, career and family. McKay shares poignant moments of being on the road from her childhood in Bangladesh to working in Zimbabwe and weaves her work world, writing and search for meaning into her quest for love.
McKay, like many women who are single at significant birthdays, suffers many well-meaning discussions with friends and family about her choices and martial status. One family Christmas included outrageously inappropriate family gifts from toilet paper, a too large shirt and a book on International Adoption from “my younger, married, pregnant sister.” Even her gift from her best friend (the book--Spinsters Abroad: Victorian Lady Explorers) seemed to be an indictment of her life. It seemed everyone was conspiring against McKay’s love-life or lack of it.
Challenging airport encounters with strange men in Ghana and taxi drivers asking questions about not being married does happen to women traveling alone. McKay’s choices of being polite, running away, and having an imaginary boyfriend are understandable. But the family gifts seem enough to push an unmarried thirty-one year-old off the holiday edge wondering if she will ever find a life-partner.
From McKay’s novel, there seems to be evidence that children catch wanderlust from their parents. McKay’s parents told her grandparents before their move with three young children to Bangladesh: “Don’t worry. It’s only for two years. Then we’ll be back.” They did return after twenty-one years and seven countries. McKay often seems more at home in airports than anywhere else.
McKay had a penchant for humanitarian work even as a seven-year-old, upon arriving in Bangladesh, she wonders, did “God had run out of money halfway around the world?” After a return to Africa, she asks, “Why was there so much suffering in this world? Why did humans have such a talent for violence? … If God existed, if he were paying attention, why did he often seem so slow to act and so silent? And why had I been given so much while others had so little?”Continued on the next page