Playing with Matches

At 22, NYU’s newly graduated Sasha Goldberg is looking for a job in the Big Apple. After completing an internship at one of the most popular magazines, she hopes to get a job in some of the city’s major publishing companies, but that is still far from happening.

The basic housing expenses do not wait for the dream job to arrive, so Sasha decides to apply for a job as a matchmaker. With the help of a not so well-kept family secret, Sasha starts her adventures in the world of Tinder and other similar apps in order to get some date candidates for her clients. Sasha feels that nothing can be better in her life: she has a job, she has got a good candidate for her current client and she gets a hint that Jonathan, her boyfriend, will ask her to move in with him.

Unfortunately, not everything can be as sweet as honey, and Sasha finds out in the worst of the ways that her “perfect” boyfriend has cheated on her. And it is from this moment that Sasha’s life begins to get pretty complicated, for one thing, she will have Jonathan begging her to save their relationship and on the other hand, there’s Adam, a man she has just started dating and who also, she sent on a date with her most whimsical client.

This is a brief summary of what is “Playing with matches,” a fun and fast-paced novel, with a clear message about how relationships are handled today. This is the debut of Hannah Orenstein as a writer and it was very good, her writing helps you read fast without noticing it, is simple and easy to read.

Regarding the protagonist, Sasha, I felt that much of her actions and attitudes towards certain situations allow you to see how immature she is. I saw this especially when she describes her relationship with Jonathan, and then it became more obvious when the breakup occurred because just hours after that, Sasha acts impulsively and invites Adam out on a date. Another situation in which I literally felt like shouting at her was at the wedding of Jonathan’s sister, because even though the bride’s mother asked Sasha (in a totally not-polite way) to try to keep her composure in consideration of her friend and former sister-in-law, she took a rather selfish stance and made quite a scandal at the reception.

And no, I’m not saying that she should have pretended that everything was fine with her ex, but maybe she should have gone home as soon as her role in the ceremony was done, just to avoid further suffering, that’s what I would have done. But again let’s remember she is a young girl, like many of us, with many dreams and illusions, full of insecurities, whose dream life was shattered by the infidelity of her boyfriend.

The fact that she always thought Jonathan was a lot for her, that she was the lucky one because he “chose” her and that she always had to keep her composure or behave in a certain way when being with him, are some of the facts that show us that this relationship wasn’t good for Sasha. She will also notice it and will be able to restart her path, always with the help of her best friend-almost sister, Caroline, who tries to be Sasha’s conscience throughout the book and who became my favorite character.

So you know, if you want to read a funny, entertaining and realistic story, don’t hesitate to give this book a chance. Now that summer is coming here in the southern hemisphere, I assure you it will be a gem to read on the beach.