Book Reviews

Book Review: The Love Affairs Of Nathaniel P. | Adelle Waldman

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Year: 2013
Country: USA

This book is exactly what is it – The Love Affairs Of Nathaniel P. It explains how a guy with an absurd sense of entitlement goes through a string of relationships searching for “love” (or whatever he mistook for love) which to be honest, was exhausting, irritating and disturbing. It also tries to address and analyse the dynamics of romantic relationships and why some things are the way they are. How men behave (badly) in relationships and how women react to the (bad) behaviour and how it affects/dictates their decisions, attitude and general condition of the relationship and whatnot. It was fairly decent and scary narrative that details a man’s struggle in relationships generally.

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I’m not a guy so I have no idea how accurate the author is but I assume it applies to a greater majority of the population so it’s pretty much safe to generalise.

Of course, for someone that has been in a handful of relationships and doesn’t have that much experience for my age – shocker! – there were a few things that I was able to pick out that don’t necessarily sit well with me;

1. How ever you wanna fine tune it, engaging in casual sex is a disgusting behaviour! Shoot me!

2. As our faces are different so are our relationships are. You can never have the same relationship with two different people no matter what!

3. As much as I love the idea of “intellect”, “intellectualism” and “intellectuals”, i think it puts you in a box. Of course, an “intellectual cachet” is always an attractive trait but more often than not, you find yourself trying to compete and meet up to par which naturally breeds insecurity.

4. It always better and more convenient to date in your circle. That way, you could easily gauge people before approaching or engaging them.

5. As a writer, you’ll always be judged by the taste of your book collection. God forbid your bookcase doesn’t extend to the ceiling.

6. Note To Self: I’m not allowed to be ambiguous in my writing until I’ve achieved a level of success. I don’t make the rules.

7. Writers generally have the tendency to feel intellectually superior to regular people based on the books they read. Hence, condescension is inevitable. To be honest, it’s already difficult to engage with someone who isn’t as well read as you are but we really don’t have to be condescending about it.

During the course of reading this book, I had an eureka moment. The only reason this sort of book appeals to me is because it has a literary setting/scene. The protagonist was a struggling freelance writer/rising star who recently got a book deal. This was right up my alley. I was able to identify and relate to this book on several levels. It was amazing! By the time I was done, I was fully convinced of my decision.

I’m gonna work in Publishing! But before or after that, my Masters degree will be centered on Publishing.

For the first time in a while, it feels right. Recently, I’ve been struggling a lot especially as regards a career choice. I wanted the next phase of my life to be in tandem with my already budding writing career. So, this…this is huge! This book revealed all the possibilities available in the publishing industry as well as some of the tricks, pros and struggles of the profession especially when you’re fresh from school and just starting out. Of course, that means I might have to step down from my freelance work for a while. But the ultimate goal is to return to freelance and write those books. I just need the experience.

This breakthrough trumps all the reservations I have about this book plus it’s a debut novel. It gets a free pass from me.

Favorite Quotes

” Dating is probably the most fraught human interaction there is. You’re sizing people up to see if they’re worth your time and attention and they’re doing the same to you. It’s meritocracy applied to personal life, but there’s no accountability. We submit ourselves to these intimate inspections and simultaneously inflict them on others and try to keep our psyches intact – to keep from getting old and callous – and we hope that at the end of it we wind up happier than our grand parents, who didn’t spend this vast period of their lives, these prime years, so thoroughly alone, coldly and explicitly anatomized again and again. But who cares right? It’s just girl stuff. “

Aurit had once espoused a system of categorizing people that he found useful. She said some people were horizontally oriented, while others were vertical. Horizontally oriented people were concerned with what others think, with fitting in or impressing their peers. Vertically oriented people were obsessed only with some higher “truth” which they believed in wholeheartedly and wanted to trumpet no matter who was interested. People who are horizontally oriented are phonies and sycophants while those who are entirely vertically oriented lack all social skill – they’re the ones on the street shouting about the apocalypse. Normal people are in the middle but veer one way or the other. “

Rating: ***

~EB.

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