Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date by Katie Heaney

I loved this book, but it also infuriated me.  Two years ago, when I was 25, I wrote 80 pages of a pseudo-memoir about how I was 25 and had so far avoided having an actual boyfriend.  Now Katie Heaney does the same thing, and SO MUCH BETTER.  I’m over my jealousy – this girl is hilarious and we are kindred spirits.  Her every observation (whether about 90s kid culture, junior high horror, or college friendships) is so accurate.  Her personality, like mine, is perfectly suited to obsessions and inaction.  Which is why she’s 25 and hasn’t had a date.

“I just don’t know how anyone ever knows what to do with their bodies.  I catch myself worrying about what my arms are doing when I’m walking alone, and that is just walking.  Alone.

So I am a basket case, generally, and picky, and have almost always had crushes on people who usually don’t have crushes on me, and it’s rare that I’m so attracted to a stranger that I could imagine having sex with him at that exact moment.  And even when that has been true, I am only able to talk about thinking about it, from a safe distance.  I have no idea what I’d actually do about it.  But generally speaking, I’d like to date someone, at least a little, first.  Add all this to my somewhat looming height, an unintentional bracing hostility toward people I don’t know well, and an end to the era in my life when I might have felt the need to do something for the first time to get it over with, and it’s not hard to end up with a twenty-five-year-old who hasn’t had sex.  I put practically no effort into it at all.”

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Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

This is an excellent book for people who have ever been in an unhealthy relationship (everyone).  The three sections, “Unsafe People,” “Do I Attract Unsafe People?” and “Safe People” concisely describe the patterns of relating that people naturally fall into.  Cloud and Townsend help their readers identify people in their life who are unsafe, and equally important, help readers identify what personal habits they have that perpetuate unsafe relationships.

Boundaries (which, coincidentally, is another book by Cloud and Townsend) play a huge role here.  I loved the delicate balance they find between owning our own flaws and holding people responsible for theirs.  There’s no blaming, just understanding.  And there is so much hope!  Whether you constantly find yourself in draining and/or abusive relationships, or perhaps you simply have a person or two in your life that drive you nuts, this book offers the possibility of reconciliation, growth, and maturity.  I loved it, even when some of the descriptions were a little too on-the-nose.  Continue reading

Scary Close by Donald Miller

Donald Miller is one of my favorite authors because he writes honestly and deeply about faith, relationships, and trying to live a meaningful life.  When I heard he was writing a book about intimacy and vulnerability, it was a no-brainer to pre-order it.  I read the whole thing in one day, alternately overjoyed and disgruntled depending on if his words hit a little too hard to home.

Scary Close is not a self-help book.  Instead, it is Don’s story of how he grew into relational health after realizing he consistently found himself in manipulative relationships in which he was trying to use a woman to fulfill his own deep-seated needs.  Sometimes I felt like he was peeking into my brain, especially when he described how he has always used humor, intelligence, and writing to get people to like him.  It was helpful, then, that he shared a lot of the wisdom he has received from therapists, friends, and his fiancee Betsy.  Continue reading