Josh is on a mission: why has he never had a girlfriend? The plan is simple, recall all the close encounters that he has had with women to determine what went wrong. What about him caused them to never take the plunge for the title of boyfriend and girlfriend? Each chapter is devoted to one almost-but-not-quite-girlfriend with their name being the title. After reviewing the background of each lucky lady, Josh comes up with a hypothesis as to why their relationship never bloomed. These hypotheses typically involve some type of self-deprecation on his behalf: Subject was interested but due to some mishap on his end and/or his awkward personality, she lost interest. Josh then arranges a meeting with each woman to hear their side of the story. Ironically, most of them wanted to be in a relationship with him- aside from one rather awkward encounter in which the woman was unable to recall the events between the two of them. The answers that they provide are not necessarily fulfilling to Josh or the reader, and his attempts to reconnect are met with failure, but this is the real world.
Most of us do not get the glamorous happily ever after that we often see on the screen. Lovers who are destined to be together but the timing just wasn’t right yet when they meet ample years later they are both coincidentally single and rekindle the old flame. Hell, most of us do not have the balls to contact bridges that we believed were burned over the fear that there is more fuel left to ignite, causing for a higher probability of getting burned all over again by the same person. In the end, Josh discovers that he was seeking a problem that did not exist. He was creating a problem in his mind because he did not want to admit to himself that he had prevented all of these relationships from forming because of his own insecurities. He was hoping to find answers that would prove that it was their fault, that they were not attracted to him, that they lost interest in him, that they found him awkward, that perhaps they found him being an amputee as uncomfortable. Josh reveals that his mission had taught him “It was not the shape of my body, as it turned out, but my insecurities about that shape that had kept me single”(317). For such an unconventional mission, this seems like a rather predictable ending: Believe in yourself and anything is possible. Look at me, I did not believe in myself so I could not get a girlfriend for 25 years, but now that I believe, I can have a girlfriend!
The premise behind the book is enticing because as, I mentioned previously, most of us do not have the balls to reach out to potential partners to learn why the relationship remained DOA. We remain with the constant “What if?” and often regret as we replay each event hoping that the 1 billionth time will provide an answer. Josh’s writing style is humorous and the charts that often accompany his writing add another level of humor. Yet there were times when the jokes fell a little flat when it seemed as if he often reverted to putting himself down, making himself the punchline. At the same time, this does accurately represent what typically happens to us when we ask ourselves “What is wrong with me?” There were moments where the descriptions of the women that came off as entirely cliché and a bit misogynistic. This was a hard pill to swallow at times considering that he is a motivational speaker and probably speaks about women this way during his lectures; however I do think this is again a result of failed humor. I mean even the premise of the book seems like that, is it really that big of a deal not to have a girlfriend by the age of 25? At times he makes it seem as if we are born dating and he has missed out on 25 years. In the prologue, his soon-to-be girlfriend calls him out on this and says that she does not want to be his girlfriend for the sake of him having one but it still does not remove the tone that was often underlying the book. Aside from this, I thoroughly enjoyed the book because of Josh’s honesty, humor, writing style, and relatability. He is also extremely awkward, which made the book very relatable. We are all awkward, or at least perceive ourselves to be,especially when it comes to dating.
Favorite Quote: “Fighting emotion with logic is like bringing a calculator to a knife fight.”