About the Book

Title: Modern Romance
Published: 2015

Cover Story: Heart Eyes Emoji
Talky Talk: Aziztastic
Talk Wordy to Me: Aziztastic Again
Course Curriculum: Modern Romance
Extra Credit: Research
Class Standing: Successful PhD Defense

[Edit 2022/09/19: This review was written years before sexual misconduct allegations against Aziz Ansari were made public. While this knowledge doesn’t invalidate the research that he conducted with Eric Klinenberg, it’s still crucial to keep in mind before you consider reading this book.]

Cover Story: Heart Eyes Emoji

This cover is perf — Love! Aziz! Technology! — and can be best described thusly: 😍😍😍

The Deal:

For anyone who’s been out of the pop culture loop over the past decade — well, first: welcome back from that rock you’ve been living under. Aziz Ansari is a comedian, actor, and now author, teaming up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg to conduct an extensive worldwide research project on modern romance.

Talky Talk: Aziztastic

Typically, celebrities write books along the lines of autobiographies, memoirs, and tell-alls, so it’s a refreshing change of pace that Aziz Ansari’s first literary foray is an fascinating examination of modern dating. While there’s some overlap with his show and (presumably) his stand-up actModern Romance is mostly the product of a multi-year and multi-city research project spearheaded by Ansari and Klinenberg, presented with the former’s delightful wit. Some of my favourite jokes were callbacks to earlier parts of the book, so I’d recommend reading it relatively quickly (which is pretty easy to do) to keep the material fairly fresh in your mind.

Talk Wordy to Me: Aziztastic Again

When I was already laughing before the audiobook officially started, I knew I was in for an auditory treat, courtesy of Ansari’s fantastic and lively narration. For anyone familiar with his acting career, his actual personality is similar to those of Tom Haverford and Dev Shah. By going with the audiobook, however, I did miss out on graphical content available in the text versions (and y’all know I love graphs). But Ansari does break the audiobook fourth wall with a few asides only for the listeners, so I don’t feel too badly about missing out on the graphs. Plus, it’s an excuse to reread in another format for a different experience!

Course Curriculum: Modern Romance

As anyone who has dated can attest to, dating can be utter shizz; it can take a lot of effort, but it can also have a lot of upside. And evolving technology and shifting expectations have greatly transformed the dating scene into what it is today. This book provides insight for those who have been out of the game for a while, and totally accurate observations for those who have been single more recently. (E.g., women over 25 have less patience for texting: CAN CONFIRM.)

Extra Credit: Research

In addition to combing through existing census data and consulting leading sociologists, Ansari and Klinenberg interviewed research participants around the world, both in person (incl. Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Qatar, Paris, and Wichita) and online (via Reddit). Their work mostly pertains to straight, middle-class relationships, but it’s still comprehensive af within its scope.

Class Standing: Successful PhD Defense

I had high hopes that this book would dazzle me with its humour — which it did — but it truly impressed me with the breadth of investigative legwork involved. I’d gladly grant this book its doctorate.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from my local library. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). Modern Romance is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she’s been overseeing all things FYA Book Club since 2013.