30 First Dates

Book: 30 First Dates by Stacey Wiedower 

Synopsis: Erin Crawford is a relationship blogger with a bucket list and a vendetta. After years of horrible luck in relationships, she decides to start a blog called "30 First Dates." Her mission: go out with 30 men before her 30th birthday, all to find a non-jerk in 30 dates or less. As she blogs about her sometimes humorous and sometimes laughably bad dates, she crosses off her bucket list of 30 things she wants to do before she turns 30—and kills two birds with one stone by completing the items on her dates! In fourteen months she skydives, skinnydips, crashes a wedding, travels to multiple cities and lives way outside her comfort zone. The only question is, as her birthday approaches and her list grows smaller, will Erin be able to find love? Or is she destined to be a first-date-only kind of girl? [via Amazon]

Book Notes:

The thing about reading chick lits is you open yourself up to a certain predictability in terms of the story-telling process. It's popcorn romance on paper that happens to be just as comforting as a night in with Netflix. But then you kind of realise that after going through the library of RomComs on Netflix, there's certainly a big difference between an ABC/Hallmark movie as compared to the classics that we all secretly still own and collected on DVDs. The stories are cliche, but it all goes back to the story-telling, the characters and the lessons learned in between.

I wish I could rate this book with as much stars like the reviews on Amazon, but 30 First Dates is simply a mediocre attempt at trying to be romantic, witty and empowering. In the first five pages, you've pretty much solved that entire plot, and it was quite an accomplishment that I actually finished it. It did have some moments of sudden insights, but overall if I needed a reminder from life, I would reach for other books. 

On a more personal note, it scares me so much that the life I imagined by 30 is no where close to what I plotted it out to be a decade ago. In fact everything during that college conversation in the bench never came true. Perhaps it was flawed from the beginning, given I was planning a life with my then boyfriend whom I thought was perfect for me because he checked out perfectly on my list. Looking back on it now, everything was just one big illusion that I set myself up to believe my life was moving towards a direction with a future plotted out highly dependent on external factors to make me happy. 

There's something about turning 30 that I can't seem to properly grasp, or at the very least I am trying to let it go. It is definitely a milestone, much like turning 18 or 21, but to be driven mad by society's definition of what 30 has to be is something I am working on. Sometimes it is difficult to wake up in your late twenties only to realise that you haven't figured anything out, even worse if you realise you haven't actually lived. So yes, I am working on that and just reminding myself that sometimes my life doesn't have to be the perfect time line. 

Book Quotes: 

"Why did thirty feel like this precipice—this craggy, critical ledge with a 10,000 foot drop and no safety net?"

"Were those things Ben talked about—house, mortgage, kids—the net? Were they the answer? Those things she hadn't known she wanted, at least not consciously, now felt like some giant secret the rest of the world had failed to let her in on. A great big cosmic joke on her."

"Nope, it was growing pains—that was all. Thirty was the new twenty. She just hadn't grown up yet."

"If you want to do something different, do it. This is the time of life to figure stuff out. Obviously you've figured that out or you wouldn't be writing the blog. So you've already taken some chances. Take another one."

"She was a different story. She felt like she'd been running on the same track for years and suddenly realised it was the wrong track."

"You're young, you're smart, you have every single opportunity in the world out there waiting for you to grab it. You aren't tied down to a mortgage or a husband or even a job anymore. And so you don't have any of those things. So what? You still have time to create yourself, to figure out what you love to do. A lot of people recreate themselves over and over again. If you don't experience new and different things, how can you even begin to know what is right for you?"

"I only wish I had that kind of fire about something more important than my own fumbling inadequacy at committing to a profession or holding down a relationship."

"She'd wanted to change her life, and now it seemed her life was changing her."

"Honestly, the more perfect somebody's life looks, the more complicated it probably is."

"How will you know if it's the right move?"

"Love just wasn't something to be experimented with."

"I've learned you can't always will life into the shapes you want it to fit into. I've learned that things you think you want might not be right for you, and things that look like mistakes might take you exactly where you're supposed to be. I've learned you don't have to get it all right on the first try (unless you're skydiving). I've learned not to judge other people, because you're every bit as screwed up as they are. I've learned what failure feels like, and I've learned to look at failure as opportunity and opportunity as success."

Book Rating: 2/5

Reading Map:

One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin

The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

Change The Way You See Yourself by Cramer and Wasiak


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