Short and Sweet
This is a collection of some of the most popular essays from the New York Times Modern Love weekly article. I had vaguely heard of the article beforehand, but I don’t often read nonfiction or essay collections, so I decided to give this one a shot for my book club.
The structure of this book is broken into sections, following a path of love through life. The first few essays involve the grind of finding a partner and using online dating and other means. This section of the book was widely regarded as the hardest to get through within my book club because of how dated they all feel. Not only that, but most of my older book club members were baffled by the dating customs of the past twenty years, which is understandable. I am relatively young and found myself checking to see when each essay was written, as I felt many of the issues brought up would have been solved with therapy. Everyone who wrote something for this book needs therapy, that’s for sure.
The following sections of the book were more enjoyable to read. They included the honeymoon phase of falling in love and getting married and the curves in the road and bumps along the way that sometimes tear relationships apart. Many of these stories were very well-written, albeit often heartwrenching. The most famous essay was about a woman who was dying of cancer and wrote a wanted ad for someone to marry her husband because he is too good a man to be alone after her death. It was incredibly moving and one of the standouts of this collection.
My big issue with the book was the choice of stories included. Some, like the one I just mentioned, were shoulders above the rest, written by people who are clearly authors. Many of the others felt like they were written by men with no self-awareness and women stuck in a self-sabotage spiral. That in and of itself isn’t an issue, writing and romance are equally tricky, but it felt like the ratio was off. For every excellent essay I read, there were ten more that I immediately forgot the minute I finished reading. Overall this is a solid essay collection that shows the diverse way people experience love, but it wasn’t a must-read for me.
Title: Modern Love
Author: Edited by Daniel Jones
Three Descriptors: Unique, Relatable, Emotional
‘Without a Map’ by Meredith Hall
‘Never Tell Our Business to Strangers’ by Jennifer Mascia
‘This Is Not The Story You Think It Is’ by Laura A. Munson
‘Lost Stars’ by Lisa Selin Davis
‘I’m the One Who Got Away’ by Andrea Jarrell