I’m glad I found out about this book*** when I did–that is, right now when, all things considered, I’m in a pretty okay place in my life and in my head. Because as soon as I found out about it, I wanted to read it, and it’s not the type of book you should read if you’re in even a sort of bad place.
It was sad. Funny, and a quick read, and a nice homage to Choose Your Own Adventure books, too, but overall, just sad sad sad.
I could tell you it’s sad because it’s a true story about a guy who dated an alcoholic for 4 years during which the girl made about a trillion terrible decisions, hurt the guy 16 billion times, got close to making things better a few times, but ultimately just kept making everything rotten for both of them–though mostly for him because he wasn’t the alcoholic…or mostly for her because she had a disease she couldn’t figure out how to cure and he could have left at any time…but mostly for him because he couldn’t figure out how to leave even though he should have.
But that’s not why it’s sad. It’s sad because anyone who’s ever been in a relationship that doesn’t work knows exactly what it is like to feel trapped without a way out. You don’t have to have awful circumstances going on around you to feel like you’re fighting Ant-Warriors (did I mention there are Ant-Warriors in the book?) in a losing battle. You could have what appears to outsiders like a completely healthy, normal relationship–and truthfully, compared to horrific things like the ones that happen in the book, it is normal–and still feel like you are constantly on the wrong side of the time vortex.
From what I know about it, this book was intended to be a quasi-therapeutic outlet for the author about his helplessness in the face of dating an alcoholic. But at its heart, it’s a book about relationships that go bad (or maybe that always were bad? Can you ever really pinpoint the exact moment the milk turns sour?). Nothing so dramatic as an erratic sick person has to pierce a relationship in order for it to be slowly and tortuously drained of its life. Nothing so easily explainable as a troubled past has to play a role in order for it to be doomed from the start.
So while I’ve never dated anyone with a problem quite so succinctly diagnosed, this book made my insides turn in an all too familiar way. It made them go on alert at every red flag, desperately yearn at every small sign of hope, and scream, “Don’t do it!” at every inevitable detour. And I’m telling you, I couldn’t have handled that kind of abuse if I wasn’t feeling okay about my life right now.
My recommendation: read it at your own risk. But also: read it.
And then: If you want to run home to your significant other/sibling/dog and grip them so tightly you’re worried about suffocating them because you just feel so lucky to have a relationship in your life that doesn’t make you feel like that, turn to page–
Why are you still reading this? This is a blog! There are no page numbers here. Just go, do it! Do it now!!!
***Too lazy to click a link but you’ll scroll down to the bottom? Okay, well, I will reward you for the finger exercise. The book is: Love Is Not Constantly Wondering If You Are Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life and you can purchase it through Perfect Day Publishing.