Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Review: How to Fall in Love with Anyone by Mandy Len Catron

Title: How to Fall in Love with Anyone 
Author: Mandy Len Catron 
Source: Publisher 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Published: June 27th, 2017 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: An insightful, charming, and absolutely fascinating memoir from the author of the popular New York Times essay, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” (one of the top five most popular New York Times pieces of 2015) explores the romantic myths we create and explains how they limit our ability to achieve and sustain intimacy.

What really makes love last? Does love ever work the way we say it does in movies and books and Facebook posts? Or does obsessing over those love stories hurt our real-life relationships? When her parents divorced after a twenty-eight year marriage and her own ten-year relationship ended, those were the questions that Mandy Len Catron wanted to answer.

In a series of candid, vulnerable, and wise essays that takes a closer look at what it means to love someone, be loved, and how we present our love to the world, Catron deconstructs her own personal canon of love stories. She delves all the way back to 1944, when her grandparents first met in a coal mining town in Appalachia, to her own dating life as a professor in Vancouver, drawing insights from her fascinating research into the universal psychology, biology, history, and literature of love. She uses biologists’ research into dopamine triggers to ask whether the need to love is an innate human drive. She uses literary theory to show why we prefer certain kinds of love stories. She urges us to question the unwritten scripts we follow in relationships and looks into where those scripts come from in the first place. And she tells the story of how she decided to test a psychology experiment that she’d read about—where the goal was to create intimacy between strangers using a list of thirty-six questions—and ended up in the surreal situation of having millions of people following her brand-new relationship.

In How to Fall in Love with Anyone Catron flips the script on love and offers a deeply personal, and universal, investigation. 

In 2015, The New York Times published the essay “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This” by Mandy Len Catron. It went viral; and its vast popularity led to this lovely memoir, which I must say – even for this reader, who has been married for a thousand years, give or take a few – is an intriguing read. Keep in mind this isn’t a self-help or how-to book; this is a memoir not only about the author’s relationships, both past and current, but also about our fascination as a society with love and all the things that go along with it. I appreciated not only her own personal accounts but also the stories she shared of the relationships of both her parents and her grandparents; and I enjoyed her study of the popular and idealized romances such as those in Cinderella, The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc.

When she writes, “Not everyone who eats is a dietician, but nearly everyone who has loved – which is nearly everyone – presumes to know something about how to do it right,” I’m reminded of that saying ‘take what you need and leave the rest,’ which in the corner of the world where I grew up, was applied to everything from buffets to advice. And I think I feel that way about this memoir in some ways because I’m at a place in my life where a lot of what’s discussed doesn’t apply to me; but because I am in a committed relationship and will always be a believer in love, there were still things the author offered that could stop and make me think. All in all, How to Fall in Love with Anyone is a thoughtful and straightforward look at loving and being loved, and it was a very enjoyable read.

A huge thank-you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
© at A Belle's Tales



  1. "married for a thousand years" how bad is it that my first thought was "we have not been married that long" and then I was all OHH she means her actual hubby lmao. Anyhoo great review Wifey pants!

    1. Bahahaha! We haven't made it that long yet, but we will. Yeah, I was talking about the hubby -- you and I are perfect. Lol. Thanks so much, Wifey cakes! :)

  2. OMG I have SO lived by the "take what you need" philosophy since you introduced it to me! So applicable (especially as a mom!) - this book sounds intriguing! :)

    1. This book is definitely intriguing and offers a little something for everyone. Lol it is one of my favorite philosophies and applies to most everything :)


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