How To Fall In Love With Anyone by Mandy Len Catron
PUBLISHED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER
REVIEW BY KRISTY KYI
Mandy Len Catron’s feature article, To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This, was published in the New York Times in 2015 and quickly went viral.
The article was about a 20-year-old psychological study by Dr Arthur Aron, which used a set of 36 questions to attempt to make strangers fall in love. And it worked: two people who participated in the study did in fact fall in love and end up getting married. Catron wrote the article after using the questions from the study herself with interesting results.
Inspired by the reaction to the article and, in particular, the notion that it may be possible for love to be created rather than being something over which we have no control whatsoever, Catron further explores the topic of love in her book How to Fall in Love with Anyone: A memoir of essays.
Using her parents’ and grandparents’ relationships as well as her own, and adding in references to literature and pop culture, Catron examines the significance of love stories. She considers whether the emphasis we place on the circumstances of people meeting and falling in love prevents us from recognising or understanding the complexities of love and accepting that not every love story ends 'happily ever after'.
As someone who is a lover of love stories, I found the subject matter of this book fascinating. But the thing that makes this book really captivating is Catron’s style of writing which is raw, honest and poetic. Her descriptions of the experience of being in love and of falling out of love or seeing others fall out of love are heartfelt and raw. There were sentences I read over and over, they were so beautiful in their sentiment.
The fact that Catron bases her writing on personal experience but also delves into research and history associated with the topic makes the essays educational as well as relatable on a human level. The stories in this book are real love stories – not the love stories we see portrayed in the movies – but they are somehow just as beautiful despite not always ending the way we would like them to.
This is a book for the romantic at heart as well as lovers of literature. It is one of those books that I know will remain on my bookshelf forever and which I will go back to many times.
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.