It's not billed a how-to guide (with a title like that, you should gather this), but you've got to figure a retrospective on twenty-odd years of striking out with girls before finding one to marry might make you better in the ways of relationships. After reading this book, though, I'm sorry to announce to every girl I've ever dated, I still suck at girls.
But...the book still succeeds, I think. Here's why:
- It's (usually) funny. This may come as no surprise to someone who has followed Halpern's Twitter feed, watched his TV show, or read his previous book. The thing is, I've never done any of those things. Before picking up this book, I had never knowingly consumed any of Justin Halpern's writing. Turns out he's pretty funny.
- The stories are easily digestible. Deciding which details to include and which to jettison is a difficult task. I wouldn't call this book a memoir, exactly, but it bears some resemblance; and this type of personal history is usually in danger of reading like home movies. But I Suck at Girls doesn't fall into that trap. Generally speaking, each story/chapter goes into detail without dragging on. I read the whole book in one sitting.
- It's relatable. Halpern's eperiences are certainly his own. We can't all say that we've been chased from the woods with armful of a homeless man's pornography, or asked a potential girlfriend to guard the bathroom door while we tend to digestive problems. But we can all remember the excitement and questions that arose from our earliest experiences with the human form, and we can certainly remember unavoidable embarrassments that we wished could have waited until fledgling relationships had matured a bit more.
All in all, the best lesson learned from this book is that it's a worthwhile exercise to reflect on one's own life an experiences in romance. Whether you're a lifelong bachelor, or you've been married for a lifetime, a bit of reflection and introspection ought to lead to a few good stories for a cocktail party and, hopefully, a useful lesson or two. I Suck at Girls did a good job of encouraging me to think about my own experiences, hopefully learn a lesson, and remember that it's safe to laugh at myself once in a while knowing that I'm not alone in sucking at girls.
Disclosure: This review is based on a copy of the book I received from the publisher.