Published by Penguin Genres: Contemporary
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At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?
Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”
But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.
For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.
In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.
REVIEW: Hilarious!, yes that’s how I describe this book. It is fresh and insightful, I can’t help but recommend it from the start. When I got the email inviting me to read it I couldn’t say no. I just had to, not only was it written by one of my favorite comedians but it was about something I have found myself wondering about a lot lately.
Aziz gives us his take on the romance of today, he explores the differences in times and evaluate his findings with experts in the fields of psychologists, sociologists, married couples, families and other interesting people. His findings are those things many of us have probably wondered and already discussed before with your friends and boyfriend(s)/husband(s).
Modern Romance comically explains how we are adapted to marrying for love rather than marrying for the purpose of creating a family, which might’ve been the number one of the reason for marriage in the past. It goes into explaining that today’s marriages have adapted to the changing times, and that marriage is not longer the only acceptable union in our society and hilariously explains how long lasting and fulfilling today relationships can be.
“Today we’ve become far more accepting of alternative lifestyles, and people move in and out of different situations: single with roommates, single and solo, single with partner, married, divorced, divorced and living with an iguana, remarried with iguana, then divorced with seven iguanas because your iguana obsession ruined your relationship, and, finally, single with six iguanas (Arturo was sadly run over by an ice cream truck).”
Aziz and these experts also go into explaining that when we do get married, with do it for love (more so these days but there may exceptions “gold diggers anyone?”) and we are finding our soul-mate, and that just in case there is trouble (such as oops he really wasn’t who I thought he was) we have the tools which are incredibly easy to use (name the internet and its infinite dating websites and social media channels).
“Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it’s a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that.”
I have to appreciate the humor in this book because even though it covers a very “serious” topic (love & romance) it does it in a way that is easy to relate, it makes you laugh and makes you think. Many single people will be able to relate to Aziz anecdotes (which are hilarious), they will be able to sympathize and even understand his perspective. This book does not give you the formula to find love, but instead it shows that there are so many ways in which people find connection and via different means. And though I could keep going about why I think every young and single person (and married like me) should read this book, I think I will leave you with the certainty that Aziz will make you chuckle and laugh-out-loud from page one.
Do I recommend this book? Absolutely!
Can’t wait to read it? Buy it now!