My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Match Made in Manhattan (MMM from now on) took me on a journey down “Memory Lane” and back into my own past.
I kicked off my dating years back in the ’80s, when there were no cell phones (horrors!) and people were pretty much out of control when it came to sex, drinking (drive-in liquor stores!) and drugs.
The story Stauffer tells in her book could hardly be more different than what I experienced. Even so, there are definite parallels between dating in the 80s and dating in 2015 (or so), and I think that is where the magic in this book lies–the commonalities of the dating scene that bridge age or era. I swear, I dated the older brothers (or uncles) of some of Allison’s duds….
Anyhow, here’s the story: Allison–our protag– isn’t out for a good time and NSA sex; she is looking for a mate. But although she has a “The Pants Stay On” approach to dating, Allison doesn’t come off as a prude or judgmental, instead she is mature, focused, and decisive about what she wants in a guy. I mean she is VERY mature and focused and I found her approach to dating fascinating to read about as it is so utterly different than my own.
Interspersed between her various dates are interesting details about her job, which is certainly a conversation starter: she is an architectural conservator. Her job (well, her boss) and the attendant stresses are a big part of the story, and the reader gets more than just a series of amusing dating vignettes–they get a thoughtfully crafted tale of her life and who she is.
I think the comps on the book blurb may do this book a disservice. I’ve never seen the reality TV show The Bachelor so I can’t say whether that is accurate, but I have read TBJ Diaries and I would say MMM is a more serious “slice of life” with humorous moments and incidents. Unlike Bridget Jones, Allison is not a drinking, smoking, weight-obsessed woman consumed with finding a man and I respect the way she conducts her friendships, career, and relationships.
While she maintains her standards throughout the book I did enjoy her changing attitude and approach to dating and her dates as the bloom slowly comes off the rose (don’t want to spoil the ending, which is not what I expected…)
NYC is one of my favorite cities and Stauffer works the City into the story almost like another character. At times the role NYC played made me think of another story about single women and their different approaches to men/life/love/careers in NYC. (Go ahead, guess!)
I found myself turning pages late into the night, eagerly reading about each date and wondering where it would go. Rooting for some of the guys, shaking my head in disbelief at others (my favorite out of all the dates was Brandon. What the hell was THAT all about?!)
Anyhow, I hugely enjoyed my journey into Allison’s life, which made me think back on things in my own life I haven’t thought about for years.
A fun page-turner and great debut.