I have a love-hate relationship with Aziz Ansari, and he doesn’t even know it yet.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari is a book about dating and romance in modern society. It hit bookstores last year and flew off the shelves, even winning a Goodreads Choice award for best non-fiction. This book had been several years in the making, and Aziz has some hilarious stand up on the modern dating scene. It was pretty obvious that I was going to have to read this book.
And well…I did. I finished the book in December, and it left something to be desired. I’ve waited to write a review on this book, because I wanted to be able to better articulate my thoughts around it. I’ll start off with the things that I really enjoyed about the book.
- It really is non-fiction. This book is well researched. It gives the reader lots of recommended reading if they’re interested in exploring a topic more. Ansari did a great job of intimately tying sociology into his take on romance today.
- It gives a brief history of romance. When I went into this book, I thought that it would be solely about dating. Again, Ansari surprised me by talking about how the history of romance and how we chose our partners has been revolutionized in the technological age, accompanied by the ability to travel.
With the good, often comes the bad…
- Why was it printed in color? This is a petty point. I know it’s a petty point, but it still bothered me. The publishers (editors? Ansari?) chose to print this book in some kind of weird color format that only emphasizes shades of blue. It didn’t make the graphs easier to read, and I kept wishing they had just printed it in black and white.
- The jokes Ansari tries to insert inside of statistical data are bad. It’s not that they’re just not funny; they’re actually really bad and ill placed. Whenever I read an interesting fact, Ansari came stomping into the end of the paragraph with some weird comment that had no relation to anything. He often inserted motifs from his own life, most surrounding yelp and brunch, in order to attempt to connect to the reader. I don’t have famous Hollywood friends, and I can’t afford to spend ridiculous amounts of money on lavish meals. So instead of making me connect with Ansari through this data, it made me wish someone else had written the book without the “funny” commentary.
- 75% of the book was fairly common knowledge. I have read other books on dating/romance in today’s society. I love to read the statistics that OkCupid produces every year and how their CEO analyzes the data. So, I can understand if someone who has zero exposure to any of this might find this book new and revolutionary. However, I was bored. A lot of the theories present have been written about many times by many people. Even though it’s a short, quick read – I felt like it dragged on, making similar points in different chapters.
Although I was not a fan of this book, several of my friends really enjoyed it. I haven’t been on the dating scene in a while and Ansari does give some useful advice for those people who are still on the prowl. Overall, if the topic appeals to you – it won’t hurt to read this book.
Until Next Time World…