“Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Modern Romance” by Aziz AnsariModern Romance by Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg
Published: 2016 by Penguin Press
Genres: Nonfiction
Pages: 277
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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In Modern Romance, comedian Aziz Ansari teams up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg for a humorous exploration of what it means to date and find love in the modern world.  In our grandparents’ era, finding “the one” wasn’t so complex.  You’d meet someone cute in your neighborhood, and before you knew it, you’d be married.  As Ansari explains, this is because at the time it wasn’t socially acceptable for women to be independent.  If you wanted out of your parents’ house, you got married, and that was that.  People were looking for a partner they could get along with well enough, and companionable love evolved afterward.

Today, the expectations of a relationship have shifted.  We want a soulmate, the kind of person who puts butterflies in your stomach, shares your interests, and is someone you want to be around.  When people find that kind of relationship, it’s extremely satisfying, but how do you get to that point?  This is even further complicated by technology, which allows us to connect with people around the globe.  Finding love can be as simple as swiping left on Tindr.  (Or is it right?  I’ve never actually used it, although I’ve heard stories.)

While I enjoyed Ansari’s exploration of the way that people connect, Modern Romance made me extremely grateful for my own relationship.  I’ve already found the person I’d like to spend the rest of my life with, and it was serendipitous.  Dating sounds exhausting.  Even reading about people dating was exhausting.  There were parts of the book that seemed tedious and demoralizing, but I think that was part of Ansari’s point–that while being able to choose from millions of people gives you a lot options, what really counts is taking the time to actually get to know someone and building shared experiences, rather than focusing entirely on superficial qualities.  It’s as if he is searching for a middle ground between the simplicity of yesterday and the overwhelming stream of information about potential suitors that we have access to today.

If you’ve watched any of Aziz Ansari’s standup, you’ll recognize some of the jokes and quips contained in Modern Romance.  But even though it’s told through Ansari’s unique voice, Modern Romance is more thoughtful than comedic.  It’s the kind of book that sounds like a conversation you have with your friends as you compare your romantic lives after a few too many drinks, where you start waxing philosophical and trying to understand why you just can’t see to find the right person.

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