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Never Have I Ever - My Life (So Far) Without A Date by Katie Heaney

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:
"I've been single for my entire life. Not one boyfriend. Not one short-term dating situation. Not one person with whom I regularly hung out and kissed on the face."

So begins Katie Heaney's memoir of her years spent looking for love, but never quite finding it. By age 25, equipped with a college degree, a load of friends, and a happy family life, she still has never had a boyfriend ... and she's barely even been on a second date.

Throughout this laugh-out-loud funny book, you will meet Katie's loyal group of girlfriends, including flirtatious and outgoing Rylee, the wild child to Katie's shrinking violet, as well as a whole roster of Katie's ill-fated crushes. And you will get to know Katie herself -- a smart, modern heroine relaying truths about everything from the subtleties of a Facebook message exchange to the fact that "Everybody who works in a coffee shop is at least a little bit hot."

Funny, relatable, and inspiring, this is a memoir for anyone who has ever struggled to find love, but has also had a lot of fun in the process.
I will start out by saying this will not be a standard review because I just cannot speak about this book objectively. The subject matter hits far too close to home to do that.

What I can say is that it is a very candid and heartfelt piece of writing. Never Have I Ever is as much an ode to friendship as to (lack of) dating. Katie managed to make her friendship circle seem like one you want to join immediately. She managed to cover a great deal of time in such a short space but kept it flowing well. The chapters were nicely broken up and she didn't stay on one topic too long. I won't say it's a brave move because that would be playing into the stereotypes of 'normal' 20-something behaviour but I'm glad Katie wrote this book. I did many enthusiastic nods, shouts of 'yaaasss' and even the odd Shirley clap throughout. 

So, why couldn't I write a proper review? Well, how do you review a book when it seems like you could've written it yourself? Not in a 'well, I'm a better storyteller/writer/executer of ideas' kind of way but more like 'bloody hell, this is my life, I'm not the only one'. It was even more accuarate than those Buzzfeed quizzes, and that's no easy feat because they are freakishly on point. Although, I'm pretty sure I'm not a Doug Stamper. Anyway, the title of this book applies to me also and I'm sure there are many of us just blending in with everyone else, nodding and smiling. 

I turned 25 last Friday and I, like Katie, have never been on a proper date or even had a 'short-term' boyfriend. Unlike Katie, I also went to a boys school for part of my schooling (so I think I'm even more of an anomaly?). As far as I know (but it's hard to look at oneself objectively) there's nothing wrong with me. I'm not Kerry Washington gorgeous but I'm not hideous either - trust me, I know you can't really tell from the little picture on the side considering half a book is covering my face, but yeah...just trust me. I am not lacking in self confidence - can't you tell? I did not grow up in a strict, conservative household or area - my parents are very laid back and my home country spawned this wonderful gem, so take that as you will. I've jumped through most of the hoops that most people my age would have encountered by now. I also like to think I've had my fair share of adventures thus far. However, I've just never managed to find someone. Sometimes, it bothers me but most of the time I don't really think about it too much. 

The question most daters and couples would ask is: why? Well, let's use some of Katie's points to take a look. First of all, as Katie quite rightly points out towards the end of the book, there's a difference between serial daters Serial daters do not see anything wrong with settling or giving people they don't really click with - or even like - chances. However, when you've spent most of your life doing as you please, honing your tastebuds, curating a brilliant circle of friends, being ok with going to the cinema alone, and just generally enjoying your own company....why would you want to spend time with someone you're not interested in? I talked about back up plans and settling here with regard to your career. The same applies to this situation I believe. Basically, if you've not been on a date before, then dating for dating's sake just seems absolutely ludicrous. 

Secondly, I don't think dating is the same in the UK as in the US. I don't know for sure but from what I've learnt by way of cultural osmosis, over here it's more about hanging out with friends of friends and making it work that way rather than systematic dating. However, as I said, I don't really know for sure. As for online dating, well, as far as I can see from our adverts it is for older people. Then again, according to one of my friends everyone our age is doing it. So, I'm not sure about that but considering I have quite a hard time writing profile bio's for Twitter and even here (notice there isn't one) I just don't think I could do it - it wouldn't work for me. I don't really like Facebook, I'm a rubbish Tweeter, and I'm just generally pants when it comes to creating an online presence (again, can't you tell?). 

Thirdly, happily married for 25+ years parents, and religious beliefs, give you different perspectives on love. As Katie says, if your parents met at school/college, and haven't really spent much time apart since, then you kind of expect the same thing to happen to you. I will admit, I was a little disappointed no-one cropped up at my HUGE London university. Although I did spend a lot of time in my department, Theology, so that might have played into it. Anyway, this all plays back into the settling thing discussed above. 

Finally, when you spend so much time on your own and not expecting anything, it can be hard to pick up when someone does like you a little more than usual (note to the future Mr Sophia - I probably won't have a clue unless you tell me straight out). There's a great bit towards the end of the book where Katie's best friend Rylee admits she judges whether there might be the possiblity that every guy she interacts with might be into her. It later turned out that nearly all her friends did the same thing. Katie couldn't believe it. Neither could I but I know people do it. 

Anyway, to conclude (because I'm aware I have been waffling/ baring my soul for far too long) I just loved this book. It also helps that the book was endorsed by Rachel Bertsche of MWF Seeking BFF, which I also LOVED because it helped me a lot. I just enjoyed taking a brief jaunt away from the 'lighthouses' and spending time with a fellow 'Bermuda Triangle' (as Katie says). ANyway, here's to hoping both Katie and I (or maybe just me, I don't know what Katie's situation is these days) manage to shun our Bermuda Triangleness for a while so that we might find people who appreciate our awesomensss.

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