Comedian Aziz Ansari takes a turn for the slightly less silly in this book looking at the modern world of dating. With the help of co-author and noted sociologist Eric Klinenberg, Ansari takes a look at online dating, texting, cultural mores, and what it all means when you’re looking for love in a digital world. Technology isn’t the only thing that has changed when it comes to meeting the person you want to marry, and Ansari takes a look at what it all means with his trademark wit and humor.
Part of what makes Ansari’s book so successful is the seamless blend of humor with actual information. Ansari is quick and plentiful with the jokes, both obvious and obscure, but he also adopts a tone of earnestness that makes for a compelling read. Ansari is so clearly interested and invested in the topics he’s researching that it’s hard not to get on board immediately. It doesn’t take long for him to establish himself as a serious investigator, and the book is richer as a result.
The book is unique in its approach to its subject matter, too. Laying out the history of dating and marriage as well as the evolution of those rituals, the novel provides valuable information to readers about how and why these things have changed. Technology only plays one part of this, and Ansari investigates this fully. The inclusion of other cultures–Ansari visits Tokyo, Buenes Aires, and Paris–adds a lovely complexity and dimension to the exploration of cultural mores.
Also noteworthy is the fact that Ansari doesn’t just present information about the perils of online dating and the paralization of choice that plagues singles in this day and age. Ansari also presents real, helpful advice on how to succeed at finding one’s soulmate in the book. This is a surprising and delightful inclusion in a book that is compulsively readable and very, very fun.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. Penguin Press: 2015. Borrowed copy.