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No round-up this fair Sunday, as, like I said, I’m away from my usual collection and can only read so much. I brought one library book to my parents’ with me (Charlaine Harris’s Three Bedrooms, One Corpse) and finished it in a day. So I had to resort to the odd assortment of books lying around here: things I’ve left behind, things my parents read, things that have been picked up at book sales for no apparent reason. Which brings me to what I’m currently flipping through: He’s Just Not That Into You, by Greg Behrendt. Mild spoilers, if such a thing even exist, to follow.

It’s a self-help book, the sort of genre with which I usually don’t hold much faith, as it tends to remind us that we are all special snowflakes. Tyler Durden would disagree. I think I’m with him on this one, given that it’s not statistically possible for all of us to be wonderful, because if we were, then there wouldn’t be all these terrible people ruining our lives, because they’re wonderful, too. HJNTIY is based on the premise that every one of its lady readers is a beautiful, wonderful lady that deserves a beautiful, wonderful man. Only if that were true, the terrible men who are damaged for us by their previous terrible relationships would have to have been in relationships with women that aren’t beautiful and wonderful. Do you see what I’m getting at here?

Of course, while it’s not a large book, it does seem largely padded with variations on a theme: men are pretty simple. If they like you, they’ll date you. If they love you, they’ll marry you. They won’t let anything stand in their way (men are apparently very machine-like in that respect). And that’s the whole book. If he doesn’t ___ [ask you out, call you, go out with you some time when he’s not drunk, not sleep with someone else, marry you], he’s, say it with me, just not that into you, and he never will be.

I’m torn. I think, speaking as a person who’s been in relationships and seen people in relationships, that the book has a point, as far as “if he wants it, he will get it” goes. I also think, speaking as a person who’s been in relationships and seen people in relationships, that life is infinitely more complicated than the very black and white view the book is putting forth. I think that’s part of the reason I’m never much into nonfiction, or at least self-help, because it lays down a very narrow depiction of the world: this is what happened to me, therefore it is gospel truth. Fiction, at least, offers you insight into why it happened, why it is or isn’t different from other things that happened, and offers follow-through. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a full story, and not just endless, endless padding.

But I guess I’m just not that into this book.

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