Stevens recounts his struggles in love in this debut memoir.
After receiving candid relationship advice from his grandmother at a young age, the American author has been perennially unlucky in love—but always willing to give it another shot. In this collection of anecdotes, culled from decades of good, bad, and ugly romantic encounters, he plumbs the depths of human desire and indignity to which love has brought him. Stevens takes readers through the embarrassing, inadvisable, unlikely, and incredible events that have marked his relationships with women, from grade school crushes and awkward teenage sexual encounters to rushing into marriage with a woman and experimenting with online dating. A self-described “sexy ogre” (“not exactly attractive like The Rock, but has a good personality, kind of like Shrek”), Stevens nevertheless gets many chances at love, though they’re often upended by a lack of honesty (or too much of it), misunderstandings, infidelity, incompatibility, or plain old boredom. Of course, these hazards await anyone who dips a toe into the sea of love; the thing that matters is what one learns from the experience. Stevens has apparently learned a lot—several times over—and he wants to share it all in this work. To that end, he writes in an exuberant, jocular prose that attempts to keep the reader forever on his or her toes: “Have you ever gotten a date because of ferrets?” begins one chapter. “I can say that I have, and it was a really awesome experience too!” Unfortunately, this authorial personality can sometimes be difficult to bear. The book routinely refers to women as “lasses” and demonstrates dated views on gender roles: “If she is wrong and you gloat about it, you could find yourself sleeping in the doghouse without any treats. If you smile about it, you could be wiped off the face of the earth with a simple glare, and fellows, you know the glare I’m talking about.” If readers can get past this schtick, however, they’ll find a sometimes-engaging story of one man’s complex relationships.
A hammy but occasionally compelling story of love’s humiliations.