Aziz Ansari is a funny guy. I was never a huge fan of Parks and Rec, but I love his stand-up. I was not that surprised to hear he had written a book, Modern Romance, but I was surprised that it was more than just comedy. Parts are the book are hilarious, which is what is expected of him, but the book was well-researched, insightful, and intelligent. As a young single guy, who grew up in a very different world from his parents, he’s questioning modern relationships.
What he’s addressing in this book is love in the digital age, how people connect, and how they find each other? It’s something I’ve thought about before, although I have been married for 11 years, and have not actually experienced. Reading through the book, I am so relieved I’m not single. He goes in detail just how important texts can be – in wording, timing, and tone.
I loved his take on relationships – even with his own relationships he is open and candid The book was co-written with Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist and professor at NYU. For the book, the conducted extensive surveys in different spots in the U.S. (both urban and rural), and in spots in other parts of the world. One area mentioned that I thought was interesting was Qatar. He talks about the constrains of dating in the Arab world – young women are very limited in their activities and communications with the opposite sex. He also talks about dating and sex in Buenos Aires, and how people there were much more open about infidelity, and that it seemed much more prevalent there.
He explores the different apps, services, and things that are available to singles. He examines the idea of too much choice, these apps and services don’t seem to be that helpful in helping singles connect. He mentions that his own parents’ marriage had been arranged, and that they have been happily married for over 30 years. If they married each other sight unseen and are still together, what hope is there for anyone in the 21st century?
I got the audiobook from the library, and it was honestly one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever read, or “heard”. Ansari himself read the book, and there were inside jokes just for listeners, and he mocked listeners for being too lazy to read the actual joke and for missing out on all of the graphics the book included. Overall, it was hilarious, and one of the best books I’ve read all year.