Before I get started on my review of Andi Dorfman’s “It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After”, I feel like it’s important that I say a few things:
First and foremost, I really love the Bachelor/Bachelorette. Granted, I don’t know if I like it because it is such a hot mess, or because deep down I really want these people to find love. To find that thing, that I myself want to find. Maybe it’s a little bit of both, but I sure do love curling up on the couch on Monday nights and watching people lay it all on the line (sometimes a little too much so) in the name of love – or 15 minutes of fame. I also really enjoyed Andi on both the Bachelor and the Bachelorette. I remember cheering her on from my living room when she told Juan Pablo off (finally), and being a little envious of her dating 25 handsome suitors, and getting engaged to the babe that is Josh Murray. I also want it to be said that my review of this book – which is not an overwhelmingly positive one, does not mean I think the way she described being treated in her relationship is in any way acceptable—I don’t. Now on to the review.
When I first saw that Andi was writing a book I was looking forward to reading it. As a member of Bachelor Nation, I’ve read all the books previous contestants have written and have thoroughly enjoyed each of them. I really wanted to like this book too…but I just couldn’t. It really missed the mark for me. Aside from its strange time-jumping diary-type formatting, I found myself cringing and shaking my head more than I found myself agreeing with the words she said. If you want to write a tell-all book about your time on a reality TV show, do it! If you want to write a tell-all book putting your ex’s on blast, that’s okay too. I don’t take issue with either of those things, and frankly it makes for entertaining reading. Where I struggled with this book was feeling like the advice she gave for dealing with a breakup stemmed from being hurt and angry, and less from a place of wanting to help other people in her situation.
You know how it’s pretty much common knowledge that you should NOT text or tweet or even send an email when you’re in your feelings? I’d argue that also isn’t the time you should publish a book. I give Andi credit for how raw her feelings came across in the pages of “It’s Not Okay.” She really captures the helplessness and pain that comes with getting your heart broken, and the anger that comes with being treated poorly. That being said, I think there were several times when she took feelings a bit too far. It was tough to read sentences where a broken heart is said to be worse than death, because at least in death there is finality. It was discouraging to read advice about how in order to get over your ex you should burn the memories and the things that remind of you them (literally—like with fire), and how if you want to take back the “power” and be seen as “the one that got away,” you should have one last romp in bed with your ex, even if they treated you terribly. As a 26 year-old single female, it sucked to read sentences about even if you do get married you’ll probably get divorced or “waste” your thirties dating and having kids.
Now don’t get me wrong, the book wasn’t all bad. There were some winning moments, and some anecdotes that made me laugh. When Andi writes about her friends and her family and how they have loved her through her highs and lows, when she talks about her dad’s uncanny ability to read people within the first few minutes of meeting them, when she talks about how change is inevitable so you just have to make the best of it. Those were the moments I was glad to be reading “It’s Not Okay”. When she wrote about gorging herself on thin mints, which are not thinning, and eating Chinese food and popcorn in bed, I laughed and felt empathy and the familiar and relatable sting of heartbreak. I understood her anger when she wrote about the pain of someone you love making you feel like you don’t matter or belittling you or calling you names, I’ve been there, I get it. It is inexcusable behavior on his part. BUT – and that’s a big but, I’ve learned the hard way that writing (or speaking) out of anger doesn’t take away your anger, it just spreads it.