Book Review: Mandy Len Catron’s How To Fall In Love With Anyone is a thought-provoking set of essays about modern love

In 2015 writer and academic, Mandy Len Catron went viral when an article she wrote was published in The New York Times. It was called, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This” where she described her recent date with a new acquaintance. They had answered 36 questions together from a research study designed to make people fall in love with each other. Her book, How To Fall In Love With Anyone is a collection of essays that includes this previously published one. It expands on the idea she posed in this article as well as looking at modern love and relationships and it does this in a helpful and thought-provoking way.

Catron’s book is not a self-help one. It’s actually a memoir that blends together her own personal anecdotes with some in-depth studies and research from the fields of science and psychology as well as different depictions of love from films and on TV. Catron’s prose is very easy to read and understand. It’s also an absolute joy to see her tackling such a complex subject and breaking it down into quite simple, relatable and logical terms.

This book has chapters where Catron describes the love stories from her parents and grandparents. For the latter, marriage offered her impoverished grandma with some stability and comfort. In her parents’ case, their relationship was like a fairy-tale where a coach fell in love with a cheerleader and it could have been a love letter to young romance. Except that it didn’t last and Catron’s parents divorced after three decades of marriage. This forced Catron to rethink everything she thought she knew about love.

Catron actually forces the reader to reassess a few things for themselves. She describes her own tumultuous, decade-long relationship with a man she fell in love with at university. In this relationship, Catron and her partner Kevin were ambivalent, especially towards the end where neither party could decide whether they wanted to stay together or see other people. It was quite a formative partnership for Catron but she also learned a lot from it, including being clear about her wants and needs.

How To Fall In Love With Anyone is ultimately a personal book about a universally, human topic that has been covered by many great minds in the past and recently by the likes of Alain de Botton and Aziz Ansari. Catron’s book includes some thought-provoking pieces about love, relationships, myths and other private matters. This book is a well-written and down-to-earth exploration of love and it should help people navigate their own paths in relationships. Even if the road to love appears to be rocky, with such a clever and wise guide leading the way you will not get lost.

Mandy Len Catron’s How To Fall In Love With Anyone is available now through Simon & Schuster.


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