Hardcover, 277 pages
Published June 16th 2015 by Penguin Press
I had heard a lot about this volume before I acquired a copy. I had also read Mindy Kaling’s latest memoir (which incidentally I talked about here somewhere) so I had all these expectations before I actually read even a page of Modern Romance.
I should have known that the book wasn’t targeted towards me but I expected something that would be funny and illuminating but it wasn’t–and I truly realize that I am in the minority feeling this way but feel this way I do.
I thought the book was…okay. It didn’t impress me but maybe it will people for whom the things he mentions in the book this book could possibly be revolutionary. Or not. I don’t know. I feel very ill-equipped to actually write this review.
See, this book is basically an exploration of the modern romance. It strips the courtship off the actual (flower/fluttering/feelings) romance and presents it as a way a couple (strictly hetero but Ansari states that it is and sets the limits to his research etc. which I appreciated) meets and finds love in the modern age.
Here are two things I got from this book:
– people have lots of choices.
– people are kinda horrible with their choices.
In the age of Tinder (I had no idea what that app even was), modern humans being spoiled for choice find it difficult to settle for one person and instead just go on serial dating sprees. Sometimes some people find other people they like and want to be with, and other times they don’t so they continue looking. Ansari peppers the narrative with his irreverent commentary, pseudo-science. There is a lot of repetition.
There are some anecdotes that Ansari shares particularly about his experience as a slyly single man mingling in different crowds on two different coasts. He goes to Tokyo and Brazil and Paris and tries to tap into the dating scenes there. He finds differing attitudes towards cheating in Europe and North America and somehow suggests that maybe people should be more understanding to those who cannot control their carnal appetites.
He was sometimes funny, mostly not. For me, that is. I was expecting a sharp commentary on modern dating, not a guide to modern dating which is basically (when stripped off everything else) what this book reluctantly becomes.
- Don’t judge too quickly.
- Give people more than the first date to make an expression (treat them like people and not Japanese hosts).
I mean, hardly groundbreaking things?
I don’t know, you guys. This book didn’t do anything for me. Read it or don’t.