“Modern Romance,” by Aziz Ansari. Copyright 2015, Penguin Press (277 pages, $28.95).
Ever feel like you’re losing a battle when it comes to dating? There’s OKCupid, Tinder, Meetup, and even Farmersonly.com. You’re overwhelmed by the never ending possibilities, but underwhelmed by the choices available to you.
Aziz Ansari, a comedian known for his work alongside Amy Poehler in NBC’s Parks and Recreation, explores this in his new book, “Modern Romance.” Teaming up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg, Ansari explores the pitfalls and perks of dating presently and in the past. He includes studies and polls and statistics that show the differences between dating, mating, and everything in between. Having struggled through today’s dating world, I, too, thought it would be interesting to see someone else’s take on romance and hear their side of the story. Basically love, dating, and the whole “searching for the one” boils down to one overall theme – dating is hard. I know you’re thinking “Well, duh. We all know that!” but sometimes it’s nice to hear the stories and struggles of others so that we can relate and don’t feel so alone. I know I appreciated some of the testimonies Ansari and Klinenberg collected in their studies from all over the world.
Some stories may not relate to you, like when Ansari shares the hilarious story of how his father chose his mother, but it does allow us to see comparisons of how Ansari’s father and mother navigated through an arranged marriage. Other stories and studies offer a contrast, breaking down how today’s generation is wanting to find their “one true love,” the expectations that we put upon ourselves and said “soul mate” verses that of an older generation that fell in love and married someone almost because of convenience.
Like mentioned earlier, there are tests and statistics and numbers associated with Ansari and Klinenberg’s findings that can bog down the text a little, something that I found a little boring at first, but found that it added more to the overall reading experience. Seeing those numbers thrown back at me from their studies done in different parts of the USA, Tokyo, Paris, Buenos Aires, and even Doha was exciting. Knowing that so many people out there are struggling or succeeding just like the majority of us are, is comforting.
Ansari relates to his audience in an endearing way, writing about his own struggles with humor and grace. He relates to the audience in such a realistic way that we are involved in his life as well. It’s like talking to a friend over a bowl of ramen about the same life struggles and just having that other person understand.
Kayleigh Dyer is a Library Assistant at Graham Library. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (336) 570-6730.