Monday, March 23, 2009

"What Was I Thinking? 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories" edited by Barbara Davilman and Liz Dubelman

Ah, boyfriends. Husbands. Lovers. Men in general. Most of them are wonderful, if you meet them at the right time and right place in your life. But we usually have to go through at least one "bad boyfriend" before Mr. Right; it's so prevalent that it's almost a female rite of passage. Davilman and Dubelman started asking around and yep, just about every woman they talked to had a bad boyfriend story. More importantly, there was usually a defining moment where each woman realized "This is never going to work." The breakup might have happened immediately after that "aha!" moment, or it might have taken a couple months or years for said woman to finally throw in the towel. But they all that distinct "aha" moment where they just knew this guy wasn't going to be the one.

I had requested that our Collection Development department order my branch a copy of this collection, and when it showed up last week on a return, I thought I should read it. Why not? I mean, it was my idea to order it, right? Well, I sat down yesterday afternoon to read some of it - and ended up finishing the whole thing in just a few hours. The stories are addictive in a way I hadn't anticipated, and also very reminiscent of parts of my own life. Some are more literary than others, some are downright hilarious, some are just sad. And the "aha" moments are all so different, everything from a prospective beau mangling the French language in a restaurant to another boyfriend yelling about the "right" size noodles to use in soup. One of the funnier ones is "My Date with Homer", where the date in question starts talking about his childhood and inadvertently plants the seed in the woman's mind that she's on a date with Homer Simpson. Try as she might, she can no longer see him as her date - only as the goofy, doughnut lovin' cartoon father to Bart, Lisa and baby Maggie. Needless to say, she was over him in a hurry!

If you've ever had a relationship gone bad, if you've ever hung in long past that point when you knew you should've gotten out, if you've ever said to yourself "He'll realize how wonderful I am IF...", then you should read this book. You'll laugh, you might cry - but I guarantee that you'll nod your head in complete understanding. We've all had an "aha" moment - and we've all had a bad boyfriend.

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