A complimentary advanced reader copy of this book was provided by Grand Central Publishing in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you!) My review was in no way influenced by this consideration.
“I’ve been single for my entire life. Not one boyfriend. Not one short-term dating situation. Not one person with whom I regularly hung out and kissed on the face.”
It’s a quote from Katie Heaney’s book, Never Have I Ever, but I could have written that. Up until a certain, shockingly late point in my life, that was me. I never, never EVER had a boyfriend. In high school, in fact, I never had a date. There was nothing wrong with me; guys loved me. They wanted to tell me all about their girlfriends and hang out with me and take me all kinds of places to hang out, and even tell me how awesome and sometimes how cute I was. They just didn’t want to date me. I watched them take other girls to dances and to fancy dinners, watched them hold hands and kiss in the halls and go on picnics, and always wondered, “Why not me?”
I never did figure it out, really. I think it mostly came down to the fact that I was terrible at flirting, and by the time I got to be OK at it, I only tried it out on guys who weren’t worth my time. You can imagine how THAT went! (Or maybe you can’t. Good for you! Don’t try.) Thank goodness my husband finally came along and rescued me, the summer I turned 24.
In any case, when I read that sentence up there, and early reviews about how hilarious Heaney’s memoirs are, I was in. What could be more fun than laughing along with a life so similar to my own?
I can’t figure out why, for sure, but I just didn’t end up finding Heaney’s book all that uproariously funny. It could have been mild disappointment that I didn’t really find that much similarity to my own experience, but I don’t think so. Really, I think it’s that I found Heaney ever-so-slightly off-putting. Her sense of humor is quirky, and sometimes chuckle-worthy, but at other times, her experiences left me feeling empty, as if she had set up her suitors (of whom there are several, who are truly interested, and usually very sweet and kind and even attractive) for some kind of jarring practical joke: she chases them until they like her back, and then finds herself feeling distant, even cold, and put off by the idea of being with each of them. For a book that sets itself up to be a memoir of a girl who’s “looking for love, but never quite finding it,” I felt a little betrayed. I came away feeling as if Heaney isn’t looking for love at all–just a little confused about her end game, and wishing she were.
Unsatisfying, for me, but you might disagree. Major language alert, here. 2 stars. Never Have I Ever is on shelves now.