My thoughts: I did not watch The Office, so I did not discover my love for Aziz Ansari until his Netflix stand-up special, which I thought was hilarious, and I enjoy stand-up less than the average person. So when I heard the premise of this book was a take on one of the funnier bits from that stand-up routine, I jumped at the chance to read it.
Modern Romance isn't what I expected. It is not a typical celebrity comedian memoir, but there are still fascinating (and hilarious) insights into Ansari's life. He frankly discusses his own love life and pontificates on his happily married parents, who have an arranged marriage.
Mr. Nomadreader and I have been together almost ten years, so I have never dated in the age of Tinder. I didn't even have Facebook when we started dating. There is a lot I don't know about what it's like to date today, and Ansari explored his own dating life, but he also shared fascinating insights about how different dating is across the United States (the distinctions between large cities, small cities and small towns was particularly illuminating) and in other parts of the world. Through focus groups, audience members at his comedy shows, legitimate sociological research (with co-author Erik Klinenberg), and his own experience, Ansari has created a unique research artifact that is both entertaining and informative.
Favorite passage: "That's the thing about the Internet: It doesn't simply help us find the best thing out there; it has helped to produce the idea that there is a beat thing and, if we search hard enough, we can find it. And in turn there are a whole bunch of inferior things that we'd be foolish to choose."
The verdict: Modern Romance was as funny as I hoped, but it's layered with deep thinking and fascinating sociological data I didn't expect. This unusual combination helps make it impulsively readable. It's entertaining, hilarious, and informative.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 288 pages
Publication date: June 16, 2015
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Modern Romance from Amazon (Kindle edition.)
Want more? Visit Aziz Ansari's website, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.
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