As I mentioned earlier this week on Instagram, I *attempted* to kick off my husband’s deployment by not eating my emotions. Instead, I decided to “read my emotions,” as in, indulge in guilty pleasure books. So much healthier, right?
In theory, yes. But my determination only lasted about 8 hours. I ended up reading a book written by a former Bachelor contestant and binge-eating a large pepperoni pizza, all in one day. This was perhaps one of my biggest adult fails in recent history, other than when I had a milkshake for dinner three nights in a row back in March.
Since these books fall into the “guilty pleasure” category, there’s a good chance they are, or would be, embarrassingly gratifying for your eyes, as well– not just mine. If most women enjoy The Bachelor and chocolate, it’s safe to assume that most women have the same taste in mindless reading material. Bearing in mind that reasoning, I’ve decided to go full-on fifth grade status by providing book reports on these three bad boys, which cost me a pretty penny last Saturday at Barnes & Noble:
The first, I finished in exactly two days, and that was It’s Not Okay by former Bachelorette star, Andi Dorfman. Thus, today’s installment of this three-part Guilty Pleasure Book Review Series will be a review of her riveting tale of “happily never after.” The other two, written by comedians Amy Schumer and Aziz Ansari, shall be reviewed upon my completion. Could be tomorrow, could be 2018. You won’t know until it happens, so keep checkin’ in!
Let’s start by talking about Andi, author, lawyer, dating extraordinaire. She first gained recognition as the feisty contestant on Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor. But she wasn’t The Juan. (Still funny!) In fact, she dumped Juan Pablo after becoming one of the final three and participating in a Fantasy Suite Date, which she describes in the book as anything but a “fantasy.” On the show, she explained her reasoning for walking away from The Bachelor as taking issue with Juan Pablo being a selfish jerk who clearly only signed up for fame, not a relationship. Her explanation in the book was identical, so no new news there. Hence why she got it out of the way in the first chapter, granting that failure of a Bachelor only about two pages in her book. #byefelicia
A contestant dumping the show’s star is so rare that Andi became the strong, fierce face of sassy divas who don’t take no crap from no man. Paired with her backstory of being a smart, fast-talking defense lawyer in A-T-L, she was surely the no-brainer choice to become the new Bachelorette. I mean, it was her or the girl who showed up with a pillow under her dress pretending to be pregnant the first night. Hot attorney? Or fake-pregnancy girl? Yeah, pretty obvious.
In the book, which is written as a diary recounting the first 50 days following her breakup with Josh Murray, with each chapter including flashbacks and explanations, Andi talks about how hesitant she was to go on the show in the first place, much less participate in Round 2 as the Bachelorette. She was queen of judging reality starts, labeling them inferior and idiotic. But here she was, a successful assistant attorney who completed law school and passed the bar by age 26, convinced by friends to attend an open casting call for a dating show. She was quickly shuffled to the top of the casting directors’ list, despite the fact that she was so skeptical that she didn’t even bother to return the paperwork that producers asked her to send in for further consideration. Casting directors had to chase her down to get her on the show, which annoys me on many levels, because I will never be one of those girls who “doesn’t even want the amazing opportunity– it just happened!!” But good for her, I guess.
Anyhoo, throughout the book, she calls doing The Bachelor the biggest mistake of her life, while also constantly saying has no regrets (other than getting engaged to her winner, Josh Murray). My takeaway is that she liked the attention until the attention got ugly. Isn’t that always the case?
Andi has no qualms with revealing her materialistic side throughout It’s Not Okay. She insists on naming the high-end brand of every article of clothing and handbag in her possession, which is a slight turn off, but at least she’s not pretending to be someone she’s not. She isn’t shy about growing up with lots of money, although her parents seem normal enough to have raised a woman who sails through law school, so that’s a win. In her dating life, she’s very open about not being able to date guys who don’t have fancy homes or apartments, even taking a dig at the apartment of the #2 guy from her season of The Bachelorette, Nick Viall, naming his un-swanky living quarters as the reason she lost all sexual attraction towards him.
Oh, Andi also loves the F-word. Just warnin’ ya.
So she’s a bit superficial and a bit spoiled. But other than that– or perhaps I should say, because of that– you can’t help but appreciate her honesty. She really dives into the ugliness of a broken heart. That horrible, despair-filled aftermath that can’t be soothed by food, logic, or fortitude. Pretty much every woman has faced a breakup that is only cured by time, exhaustion, and maybe a relapse or two, so I really appreciate Andi never sugarcoating the pain of a broken heart.
During a few breakups in my past, I felt like an idiot for not being stronger. I was embarrassed to tell people, embarrassed that I was so distraught, and embarrassed that I’d been so confident in what “we had.” On top of the shame, I was hopeless. I thought I’d spend my entire life alone. I thought I’d always view him on a pedestal. I figured there was something inherently wrong with me. There were times I was so upset, in fact, that I tried explaining to friends why I was in some ways more torn up about a breakup than I was about the death of my own mother. So let’s add some guilt on top of things, just for good measure, sound good?
I was actually relieved to read these words in Andi’s book: “In fact, getting through heartbreak can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do in your lifetime. I mean it. It’s worse than a death and harder than battling an illness. With a death comes finality, with an illness comes an opponent to beat. But when it comes to heartbreak, it’s just you fighting….your own pain.”
I couldn’t agree more. I’m a happily married woman, and even still, thinking about the pain I went through during some breakups in my past brings a sick feeling to my stomach. When I lost my mom, I had no choice but to keep moving forward. It was horrific, but completely out of my control. Nothing I did made her die. She didn’t leave because she didn’t love me. And there was no way for things to change. It was final, so I had to just keep on trucking along, as hard as it was.
I still cry about missing my mom, and I definitely don’t cry anymore about missing any exes. That’s for sure. But the initial recovery periods were vastly different in terms of my sanity and strength. I had way less of both during a breakup.
Andi does an awesome job using a bit of self-deprication to remind us that we’re all in the same boat when it comes to heartbreak. While it’s pretty clear she had a ghost writer to livin’ things up a bit, and while I don’t believe for a single second that she remembers the exact fortune she read from a fortune cookie a year before she wrote this book, it’s an easy, fun read. I don’t think it takes itself too seriously, which I appreciate.
Fine, fine, I’ll give you what you want. The “juicy” insight to the breakups with her final two men:
Nick, her 2nd place guy:
Andi says that she truly liked Nick throughout her season, even though Josh was always the one she wanted to pick, from night one. She said that by the end, she was questioning the red flags with Josh so much that she truly considered picking Nick as a safe bet. However, after the Fantasy Suite, he was no longer in the running due to his unsatisfactory pillow talk. She reveals a few things he said while they were doing the “deed” that turned her off to the point of no return. About 10 months later– 1 month after she and Josh ended their engagement– Andi visited a friend in Chicago and ran into Nick (he lives there). She went up to his apartment, somewhat open to the idea of hooking up with him as a rebound or whatever, and was turned off by his un-posh home decor. Instead, they just chatted, and he apologized for outing their romp in the Fantasy Suite on national television during “After the Final Rose.” To this day, she still thinks everything he does is for T.V. acclaim.
When I was single, I can’t say the lack of exposed brick in one’s apartment would affect my attraction level, but hey, to each her own.
Josh, her ex-fiancé:
Andi claims she truly did fall in love with Josh while filming The Bachelorette, unlike Sean Lowe, who is currently married to the woman he chose on his season of The Bachelor, but said he didn’t truly fall in love with Catherine until they were home in the real world. (Yes, I read his book, too. What of it.) Men and women may have a different viewpoint on “love,” though. Women tend to label “love” as that “I can’t live without you” feeling, which can definitely happen in two months (hi, hello, I got engaged after two months), while men often define “love” as the undying affection that grows through shared experiences. Realistically, it’s probably a bit of both. I just found it interesting that two different Bachelor stars explained the whole “Did you fall in love with your winner on the show?” thing quite differently.
After the show, Andi said things were great for a few months, but it quickly became clear that Josh loved the spotlight more than she did. He liked paparazzi and taking pictures with fans, and even began asking people to take pictures with them. Andi also said that while Josh originally claimed he wanted a strong woman with a career, he began telling Andi she was selfish for wanting to return to work as a lawyer. Instead, she should be preparing to have children immediately. This was a different story than what he’d expressed for their future before they got engaged. Apparently, he got more and more controlling, down to checking who she recently started following on Twitter, and yelling at her if she so much as followed a new male country singer. She was not allowed to take pictures with men or follow men on social media, while he was in pictures with other women left and right.
They broke up the night they flew home from the premier of Farmer Chris’ season, when there was that big “red carpet” live show leading into the first episode.
They got in a huge fight right before the event, then that night Josh stayed out until 3 a.m. partying with some girls from the new season. As soon as they got back home to Atlanta, things were over for good.
Listen, I’m sure there are two sides to every story, but based on Josh’s behavior on Bachelor in Paradise, I’m prone to believing he has a remarkably controlling and temperamental nature. He probably needs someone more Type B and laid back than firecracker Andi. No woman should ever be made small by her significant other, but some women are more inclined to be a bit more unassertive and compliant, and that’s the kind woman Josh needs. He also might need some therapy.
I’m not convinced Nick is a terrible guy. But I’m not convinced he’s a great guy, either. If I had to choose, though, I’d definitely choose Nick over Josh.
Andi is very smart and very honest…and very uppity. If you can get past her obvious hot rich girl mentality, you’ll find her to be quite charming and relatable. I gobbled up all 310 pages in just two days, so it’s obviously an easy, compelling read that does everything it sets out to do: Entertain Bachelor fans while painting Andi to be the good guy, revealing just enough of her flaws to induce empathy, and also leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouths about Josh Murray. Come on, if you’re reading this blog, you’ll love it.
COMING SOON: A review of Aziz Ansari’s book, Modern Romance! I’m 50 pages in, and already LOVING it.