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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love on-line!!, 26 Feb 2010
By 
Sarah Shelley (Sussex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Soul Mates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating (Paperback)
This is a hard to put down book for anyone interested in human nature in the Internet Age. Fernando's unique exploration of the rise of Internet dating spans the social and sexual spectrum. The collection of true stories gives us an insight into the experiences of cyber-dating, from the heart-warming to the horrific and hilarious . It had me laughing,crying and increduluous at what people do to and for each other as the on-line becomes manifest in the flesh. This is a must read for anybody thinking of dipping their toes in the bubbling waters of on-line love matching, or for those who have already taken the plunge!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've found the Soul Mate Seeker's Bible., 7 April 2010
This review is from: Soul Mates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating (Paperback)
I have a waiting list of people clamouring to read this book! Such has been my interest in Ms Fernando's expedition into the world of online dating that I have liberally peppered all my recent conversations with repeated anecdotes of the hilarious and horrific, the grand romance and the homespun magic which are woven into a fascinating social investigation. More than a collection of tales from cupid's coalface, and more too than an academic appraisal of the growth and development of this global phenomenon, which has taken kiss chase to a whole new level.

Among my friends queuing to borrow Soulmates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating are a savvy, streetwise, intellectually rigourous young woman with a PhD in sociology; a globetrotting NGO worker looking for love; a recently retired divorcee wanting to find out a bit more; a bereaved parent baffled by the repeated suggestion that he dip his toe in the online waters which he sees as daunting rapids for which he is ill equipped; a lonely young thing desperate to find someone to share life with, but sceptical and sheepish about parading herself for all the world to see.

The great achievement of this book is that it appeals to both observer and participant. If you want a manual to support, guide and encourage you through the process of online dating, this will do it. If you want to return to online dating having been burnt previously and requiring a little courage to try your luck again, you will find yourself in good company and bask in the pooled wisdom of numerous anonymous journeymen and women of all ages, sexes and orientations. If you are simply nosy and are seeking a vicarious thrill from the comfort of a happy relationship you can do that too. Or if you are just fascinated by the impact online dating has had on the world in the last decade, then you will find an articulate, intelligent examination of the global business which continues to attract hoardes of users daily. Written with wit and panache, sincerity and sensitivity this is a fantastic achievement that I highly recommend.
Soulmates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An addictive read, 24 Feb 2010
This review is from: Soul Mates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating (Paperback)
This is addictive reading if you've ever lurked around an Internet dating website and wondered what happens to all those smiling or moody faces, what they're really like beneath the spin and whether they ever manage to get together in a happy-ever-after. It's even more interesting if you've tried it yourself as you'll find stories that echo your own experiences. Sonali Fernando wittily charts the rapid rise, social acceptance and popularity of Internet dating and illustrates her themes with accounts from people who have used a range of Internet dating sites with varying degress of success and satisfaction. This is an engrossing read, with a nice balance of human interest and thought-provoking insights. It's a must-read if you're thinking of trying it yourself, with plenty of 'Aww' moments in amongst some very funny down-to-earth observations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're looking for a partner - read this book, 21 May 2010
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This review is from: Soul Mates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating (Paperback)
If you are single and think that Mr or Ms Right will knock on your door one day - or that you'll stumble upon him or her in a bar - then you're wasting your life, or so the contributors to this book will have you believe. This is a book about online dating, the bulk of which comprises surprisingly articulate case histories written by those who have tried it. These are interspersed with hints and advice for those who are thinking of taking the plunge. We learn, for example, that many otherwise decent and honest people routinely lie about their age, height and physical appearance in their online dating profiles in the hope of upgrading themselves to a "better" type of partner. The chapter on "Dates from hell" is entertaining, the chapters entitled "Dates from heaven" and "My search is over" give hope to all. Single or not, you'll enjoy this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting, affirming and freshly-written, 11 April 2010
By 
A. Seymour (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Soul Mates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating (Paperback)
Having picked this up out of curiosity, my copy is now ridiculously well-thumbed from all the times I've flicked back to favourite passages. It collates experiences from contributors who have heartwarming, heartbreaking, thought-provoking and hilarious tales of their online dating, and they tell them brilliantly. The book's author brings each section alive with entertaining introductions, backed up with great research that I find myself repeating to anyone who will listen (12 million first cyberdates last year means an economy-boosting average of six couples per month across the 90,000 bars and restaurants in the country. Love it!).

It is also the first true celebration of online dating that I've read - it reveals the warts-and-all of the process, but does so in a way that shifts it from the "oh, there's not so much stigma these days" approach to a resounding sense that of COURSE we're online dating! It is filled with warmth, humanity, spot-on observations and laugh-out-loud stories, and since I've already recommended it to all my friends then I will now wholeheartedly recommend it to you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great feelgood book, 8 Mar 2010
By 
I. Crowhurst (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Soul Mates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating (Paperback)
Soulmates is the most feelgood book I have read in ages! Who said courtship was dead? It's alive and well alright - in the cyber world of online dating - and, from the true-life stories in Soulmates, it seems to be leading to some hilarious shenanigans as well as some very happy marriages. This fun and well-written book charts the highs and lows of dating on the virtual frontier and provides a perfect beginner's guide to an intriguing phenomenon. Reading it has given me the jump-start I needed to sign up and try it out myself after a year's dithering, thanks to the book's low-down on what to do and what to avoid...Adventure here I come!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're never too old, 16 Mar 2010
By 
M. Taylor - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Soul Mates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating (Paperback)
I came across Soulmates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating while browsing in my local bookshop, and was interested to note that, despite the youthful cover and a host of stories written by people in their 20s and 30s, there was plenty on offer for the older reader too. One pair of cyber newly-weds celebrate having 150 years between them, while a pensioner in her 60s describes the joy of being in love and feeling like a teenager again. It is wonderful to think that a technology has been invented that allows widowers, divorcees and older singles another shot at happiness even late in life.

Soulmates confirms that cyber dating is here to stay. Its socio-cultural implications will evidently become so significant as to make it the subject of serious academic study in the not-too-distant future. It was particularly gratifying to discover that the taboo about internet dating is disappearing as more people take it up. Sonali Fernando illustrates this burgeoning social phenomenon with a range of true stories of cyber encounters, which punctuate an incisive and entertaining narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed these tales of people who had used cyber searches to find love, which were by turns moving, funny, incredible and positively embarrassing. The author has produced a balanced exposition of cyber dating packed with nuggets of practical wisdom.

I have no doubt that Soulmates will be a useful guide to anyone searching online for love. I thoroughly recommend it,
whether you are a seasoned cyber dater, someone interested in taking the first dip to find a life partner in the ever-growing pool of potential mates or a spectator of social syndromes from the touch-line. It has certainly convinced me that internet dating is something that any older person who seeks love would be unwise to overlook.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read, 13 Mar 2010
By 
F. Sandilands (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Soul Mates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating (Paperback)
I cannot praise this book too highly.

For anyone contemplating internet dating, already involved in it or simply curious, SOULMATES is absolutely fascinating and a great guide to reading between the lines of people's profiles. It also has many useful tips on how to advertise oneself in an honest but engaging way and what clichés to avoid if putting oneself on line.

With case histories of participants, Ms Fernando illustrates in a very warm and witty way the gap between what some people imagine themselves to be and the reality. This is shown when face to face meetings take place. They are often extremely disappointing - sometimes hilariously ghastly -BUT to balance that there are enough positive ones, some of which lead to a permanent partnership and great happiness - or at least open up the on-liner to interesting experiences which widen their circle of friends and help them understand themselves better, leading to a more fulfilling life.

This is a compassionate book, much more than the usual 'how to do it' type of book. It is extremely humane and encouraging. I heartily recommend it, as for me it was pure joy to read and I had a smile on my face the whole way through.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Online dating: A user's guide, 29 Mar 2010
By 
M. Sopena "Melmoth71" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Soul Mates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating (Paperback)
As someone who has been in the online dating game for a loooong, long time and got nothing other than a handful of admittedly interesting conversations with total strangers, it was an eye-opener to read Soulmates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating. In what must be another step in what the book describes as the increasing social acceptance of dating online, British newspaper The Guardian (the epithome of centre-left respectability) ran a competition among online daters and chose the best stories (the good, the bad, the weird, and a bit of everything in between) for the book.

I say Soulmates was an eye-opener because, maybe for the first time, I began to understand why my `dates' had been so uneventful compared to the glittering stories told here: I know now that you're likely to be phenomenally successful at online dating if you're outgoing, witty and/or really good with words, good looking (obviously), great at making a dazzling first impression, and (literally) up for anything (the more, the more fun). From the tone of the stories in the book I also surmised that being impeccably middle-class (or its equivalent) puts you in the race several horse-lengths ahead (or it could also be that the impeccably middle-class Guardian staff have naturally focused on their own reflection).

So what are the hopes for the likes of me? Well, as a non-Brit, non-native English speaker with an accent who's naturally cautious and admittedly listens more than talks, I must admit that getting through Soulmates was enough to make my heart sink at times. Dazzling has definitely never been my style and I can't imagine myself holding hands under the table over the third bottle of Champagne of the evening on my first date, just to quote one example. Reading the book definitely challenged my long-held, clearly outlandish belief that honesty, accomplishment and a good heart were the shining beacons that would attract the right mate without me having to become a showman in the process. I understand now that, at least as far as online dating is concerned, it really is an extrovert's world out there.

But seriously, Soulmates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating is a hugely informative, rollicking read, written from an immediate and experiential rather than academic point of view. The sections on the history and sociology of online dating, how to write a good profile (that's your personal ad on a dating website) and dating etiquette (and safety!) are also highly recommended, while the chapter on bad dates is darkly hilarious. A fantastic introduction to what has become, as the book puts it, `THE socialising phenomenon of our times'.

Me? I'll just have to give my style a radical make-up.
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Soul Mates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating
Soul Mates: True Stories from the World of Online Dating by Sonali Fernando (Paperback - 11 Feb 2010)
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