In her debut memoir, Prada recounts the frustrations and anxieties of dating men in her 30s.
The author freely admits that she’s a “late bloomer”—a single schoolteacher who, at 30, lives with her hard-of-hearing grandmother in the San Francisco Bay Area. In this book, she recounts a string of unsuccessful relationships, with each man neatly encapsulated in his own chapter. There’s James, her first kiss; men with fanciful pseudonyms, such as “Dante Prosecco” and “Rich Calamari”; an array of Irish beaus (Seamus, Finn, Connor); and a Japanese surfer named Hiro. “No matter where I was, I was a magnet for foreigners,” she writes. “What can I say? I’m a sucker for someone funny who also has an accent.” Prada gives a complete account of the way the men entered her life—through school, via a mutual friend, or, more often than not, while drinking at an Irish bar—as well as the various confusions and insecurities that come with courtship and, inevitably, the breakups. One engaging story recounts a relationship that was particularly disastrous: at one point, Prada had to track down and steal back a car from an untrustworthy ex. But other accounts make for less-compelling reading. The book is more of a dry catalog of romantic happenings and the back-and-forth of flirty conversation than a narrative with memorable scenes. Tonally, it reads like a chatty monologue delivered over glasses of pinot grigio, complete with self-deprecating asides, constant worrying, and evaluations of the quality of men’s teeth. Prada sometimes strikes notes of humor—“Send me your poor, emotionally and geographically unavailable, huddled masses, yearning for credit or codependency, or just yearning to break free (probably from prison)”—or pathos (“How long had [he] been going around telling people…that he was trying to shake me, like some annoying piece of lint from a fuzzy sweater?”). But she focuses so heavily on the intricacies of each romantic entanglement that she leaves little room for deeper self-reflection. In this regard, the book’s resolution is no exception—like the author’s relationships, it’s ultimately unsatisfying.
A comprehensive account of one woman’s love life that loses its overarching narrative in the details.