Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams

Tell the Machine Goodnight

Pearl's job is to make people happy. Every day, she provides customers with personalized recommendations for greater contentment. She's good at her job, her office manager tells her, successful. But how does one measure an emotion?Meanwhile, there's Pearl's teenage son, Rhett. A sensitive kid who has forged an unconventional path through adolescence, Rhett seems to find greater satisfaction in being unhappy. The very rejection of joy is his own k...

Details Tell the Machine Goodnight

TitleTell the Machine Goodnight
Release DateJun 19th, 2018
Publisher Riverhead
GenreFiction, Science Fiction, Adult, Speculative Fiction

Reviews Tell the Machine Goodnight

  • Nat
    It feels so good to have enjoyed a novel so fully that I read it in a day and a half. What had me so keen on the premise of Tell the Machine Goodnight is a) the fact that the synopsis "playfully illuminates our national obsession with positive psychology, our reliance on quick fixes and technology" and b) Gabrielle Zevin, one of my favorite authors who excels with her subtle little quips on our daily lives, blurbed it. Pearl's job is to make pe...
  • ReGina
    I felt like this book piqued my interest but had no point. It was a masturbatory exercise that I enjoyed initially and thought was going somewhere but really had no point or purpose. I like my stories to make a statement, not just introduce me to cool words and unexplored concepts. I did give it a three, however, because I did enjoy a good amount of it and it is well written. The ending, however, was unsatisfying and then made me question why I h...
  • Jessica Sullivan
    I really love speculative fiction, so this was right up my alley. Imagine if there were a machine that could tell you exactly what you needed to do to be happier. Pearl works for the creators of Apricity, a device that does exactly that, and spends her days providing people with this coveted advice.Tell the Machine Goodnight is about Pearl and the people who are part of her life: her son, Rhett, who suffers from anorexia and stubbornly embraces h...
  • Frosty61
    Multiple narrators, pointless detail, unlikeable characters, and a unsatisfying ending all added up to a waste of my time and made me grumpy. :-(
  • Chris Mara
    Half star to one star rating. ☹Started out with some possibility of promise and then went downhill quickly from there. Characters unlikeable. The Story was rather boring and not exciting at all. The premise was how much control do we have over our own happiness and what if we could be pushed to achieve it by technology? The concept sounded intriguing but the execution fell flat.In a future time, people will find happiness through a machine; a s...
  • MissBecka
    I have no idea what the plot was.The changing POV's and the half truths revealed were confusing.It felt like I was reading modern philosophy rather than a story.So why did I give it 4 stars?I still have no idea.The writing is amazing even if it doesn't make any sense.
  • Janet
    Eh. I get what this book was trying to do, but it was a little too “avant-garde” for me. Everything about this book had a sort of vibe. It was sort of a futuristic. It was sort of funny. It was sort of sad. It was definitely a commentary on our times. I sort of got it, until I didn’t.
  • switterbug (Betsey)
    What if you could turn happiness into a consumer product? What if a machine could tell you simple instructions to achieve it? “Eat tangerines,” “Arrange fresh flowers,” “Write poetry.” What if the pursuit of happiness became a guarantee? This theme is explored in Katie Williams’ debut novel, which takes place in 2035. The response from the public, surprisingly, is not unanimous. Sure, there are many individuals clamoring to buy happ...
  • Res
    Glimpses into interconnected lives touched by the Apricity machine, which can read your DNA from a cheek swab and give you three recommendations that will make you happy. On a sentence-by-sentence level, this is very nicely written, with a lot of clever turns of phrase and insightful descriptions of characters. The jacket calls these characters 'endearing,' but Rhett and Val and Calla were the only ones that I wouldn't have happily thrown off a r...
  • Jen from Quebec :0)
    I thought this book was unique and awesome. My ISBN says that this is the hardcover edition, but it is actually an ARC that I won in a giveaway, and it is one of those rare giveaway wins that I will treasure + keep + sing praises about! *I will return to this post to sing the praises at a later date, as I am currently playing an Audiobook atm and simply cannot listen to one story whilst writing about a different story at the same time! Suffice to...
  • JKT
    Intriguing but ultimately disappointing and unsatisfying.
  • Jacob Folkman
    Starts strong with interesting characters and what one would think will become an intriguing plot premise, but then fails to ever properly develop. Meanders to an uneventful end.
  • Uriel Perez
    Literary sci-fi/speculative fiction intrigues me, especially when it draws comparisons to episodes of Black Mirror and the Twilight Zone. TELL THE MACHINE GOODNIGHT revolves around a device (called an Apricity) fabricated to deliver “contentment plans” for users, ensuring enduring satisfaction and lifelong joy for those who adhere to the plan. At the center of the drama is Pearl, a technician for the company that administers the Apricity test...
  • Audrey
    3.75 starsThis review is based on an ARC of Tell the Machine Goodnight which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (Penguin -- Riverhead). It seems to me that the new novel trend is to write a book with seemingly no purpose, no real plot, and no real point. At least this has been the case with the last few new books I've read, and that seems to be the case as well with Tell the Machine Goodnight. Now, saying this does make me hypocri...
  • Alex (PaperbackPiano)
    This was a well-written and entertaining literary debut. I love a good dystopian future story so I was immediately captured by the premise of this one (it reads in a similar vein to 1984 and Brave New World but also feels more relevant to our current social climate). Drawing upon the current 'trend' in being mindful and taking whatever steps we can to be happy, this book takes a very intelligent concept and builds a compelling story around it. I ...
  • USOM
    (Disclaimer: I received this free book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)Tell the Machine Goodnight was like one major thought experiment. I adored the multiple perspectives of this book, not only because we were able to see the story from varying points of view, but also because each of them tell a new story. They add to the world, they add to the themes of family and relationships, and they are wonder...
  • Barbara
    “Tell The Machine Goodnight” is a pleasant tale that has the reader meditating over happiness. The protagonist, Pearl is a technician for the Apricity Corporation, and her job is to provide people with what they must do to be happy. This is a part science fiction in that the story takes place in 2035 and what Pearl uses is a small box that takes DNA from the subject and provides the answers in quick succession. Pearl’s job is to collect the...
  • Lata
    This book was a little hard for me to get into. There are multiple characters, all looking for some sort of happiness, and as long as the focus stayed with Pearl or Rhett, her son, I was focussed on the narrative. As soon as the author took me inside some of the supporting characters' lives, my interest diminished. What was clear throughout the story was everyone was searching for something, a recipe, a process, anything, to give their lives mean...
  • Kate
    I really enjoyed this book. I loved how all the stories were connected and how philosophical it was. This is a super intriguing read.
  • Lori
    I loved this book! It had an original story and lovable, relatable, realistic characters. While some of the reviewers have said the message isn't a particularly strong one, it hit me pretty hard at the end. I thought it was lovely the way it did hit me, because it was more like a "DUH!" and then a bit of feeling like crying because it should be SO obvious, but everything is so chaotic and messy that we forget. I say "Read it!" and I'll cross my f...
  • Erin
    Williams' novel is simply put both weird and wonderful. It's set in the near future and is centered around a machine that can give people specific recommendations to make them happier (oh if only this existed!). Although the book is separated into chapters, it actually felt more like linked short stories to me. I loved the odd characters and Williams' writing style is unique and captivating. I'm surprised this one hasn't gotten more love - I'm ob...
  • Val
    Hard work. The story starts out ok, then branches out and loses focus. Uses that device where you have to work to figure out who is narrating various chapters - hasn't that been done to death? Story about Val seems a completely unnecessary diversion. Deeply unsatisfying read.
  • Kitty
    I wished this book would never end.
  • Lacey Tsonis
    Couldn't put it down. It's strange but completely draws you in.
  • retronerd Steinkuehler
    I like quirky books but this was too mundane and ridiculous. Plus, I could not feel anything for any character. I tried.
  • Joyce
    Dit was het laatste boek van mijn reading challenge voor 2018, en wat een feestje was dat! De boekverkoopster in de Van Piere die het me aanraadde, heeft me echt moeten overtuigen om het te lezen, want ik las ergens iets met de term science fiction, en als ik iets nu niet interessant vind om te lezen, is het dat wel. Maar het verhaal, van een moeder en haar worstelende zoon van 16, sprak me zo aan en is ook zo uit het leven gegrepen, dat ik er to...
  • Christa Schönmann Abbühl
    This was recommended on the Reading Glasses podcast as an enjoyable, easy read. I got it from my library and listened to the audio version. I was into it, I liked following all those different characters, being inside their heads. Also the narration was very good. I was not satisfied with the ending. I see what the author did, the book just starting somewhere and ending somewhere, since the lives of the people in the book will continue and so the...
  • James Balasalle
    3+ stars. To be honest I wasn't super psyched about reading this one, but that changed in the first few pages. It was different, interesting, and not a little weird. I thought it ran a pretty wide emotional gamut: at times funny, poignant, surprising, bizarre, and even a little... I don't know. Difficult to categorize, for sure. Quick read, lots of discussion points.