I wanted this to be better. It starts off well, introduced by Nick Hornby. With a few exceptions, most of the other 40-something essays in the book didn’t do much for me.
Rodney Rothman‘s piece—“I Still Like Jessica”—is probably my favorite. It’s a transcript of an interview with an old sweetheart (hear the interview and see an animated version of “I Still Like Jessica”!). Perhaps I liked it because it’s the most real and clumsy, and makes the fewest overt, Sedarian attempts at being funny, and is therefore actually funny. (Disclaimer: my struggles with humorous writing are well-documented.)
I really liked one of David Rees’ lessons about life and love in “Get Dumped Before It Matters”:
1. The fact that you mope around your “home office,” sighing and scratching the five o’clock shadow spilling down your neck, while you “work on your screenplay in your mind,” wearing sweatpants on a Wednesday afternoon, does not mean you are a tortured creative genius. It means you are a LOSER. If you’re old enough to drive, you may no longer wear pants with drawstrings—even if they are your “dressy sweatpants.” Look respectable for your woman, even while she’s at work. It will comfort her to know you are wearing a belt.
Dan Vebber‘s “Sex Is the Most Stressful Thing in the History of the Universe” is good, as is Andy Richter’s “Girls Don’t Make Passes at Boys with Fat Asses.” The context isn’t that relevant, but I can relate to Richter here:
There were moments in my childhood where a preternatural maturity rose up in me, where the Future Me would seem to pop through to the surface and say, “Hold on, wait a minute, what’s going on here is fucked up.”
Tom Shillue ponders the benefits of the ambiguous relationship in “Eggs Must Be Broken…”
Happy Fake Marriage -> Callous Behavior -> Half Apology -> D?©tente
And Paul Simms‘ “I’m Easy” is a funny and all-too-familiar look at crushing at first sight. And how it elevates and and destroys your hopes and dreams over and over again.
Marcellus Hall‘s “The Sorrows of Young Walter, or The Lessons of a Cyclical Heart” is also good:
I’ve picked the best parts of the book for you. Skip the rest.