14 March 2019

Single State of Mind by Andi Dorfman

Somebody bought me this book for Christmas but I can't for the life of me remember who. I didn't even realize I had got it as a gift either until I went to my bookshelf and saw it. The mystery is real. The only person who could have possibly forgotten he bought this is my fiance, so it was either him or somebody is playing coy. And there's no reason to be ashamed- I am a die hard-'till my last breath-Bachelor fan. I could read these books non-stop and not give a care who wrote them or what the content is because if there's even one sentence of scoop on the show I will have found it worth my time.

If we go wayyyyy back to one of our first reviews on this blog, you will remember that despite her being my favourite Bachelorette, I did not like Dorfman's first book It's Not Okay. I don't read these types of books expecting Pulitzer winning prose, and It's Not Okay served it's purpose for me of providing grade-A Bachelor gossip. It was Dorfman's whiny, teenage writing style that put me off, and surprise, it's still present for her second novel, Single State of Mind (because she's not a writer she's just a woman with a platform who is a good bet for a book deal by someone in publishing who doesn't even like reading, but alas). This second book is a more bearable however, because it has a more optimistic tone- less whining about her public breakup- more promiscuity in New York City.

One of the most interesting parts of this book to me is Dorfman's move to NYC. At the end of It's Not Okay, she leaves Atlanta and boards a plane to NYC for a fresh start, and this is where Single State of Mind picks up. Part of me can't actually believe there are people out there who have the luxury (and the balls) to just move states whenever they're upset over a breakup. I saw my ex at a grocery store in London once and was ready to pay $2000 a month for a one bedroom in Toronto to never have that happen to me again, but of course, my job and life and practicalities (and complete lack of gumption) all prevented me from actually doing so.

           Dorfman, who my fiance has dubbed the "hottest" Bachelorette- and I'd agree, girl looks like Alicia Vikander

Dorfman moves to NYC and rents an Airbnb for a few weeks to get a lay of the land and find an apartment in a neighbourhood she actually likes. The first few chapters take you through her apartment hunting experience, which is both hysterical and horrifying. She doesn't go as far as to say what her range is for rent, but you have to imagine it's high given a) she's looking at Manhattan apartments and b) she's an ex-Bachelorette with Instagram sponsorships. So even in whatever already-high rent range she's looking at, she's being shown scummy apartments with bathtubs in the kitchen and sinks built into the backs of toilets... can you even imagine? Eventually on a drunken walk home she sees a 'for rent' sign in an apartment on the same street Carrie lived on in Sex and the City, of course, and despite it being WAY over her budget and STILL needing to convert the living room into a bedroom, she convinces herself it's 'the one'. It's so expensive she has to call her dad to co-sign for her. An ex-lawyer, ex-bachelorette, getting her dad to co-sign on an apartment rental...

While I appreciated Dorfman's candid experience apartment hunting in NYC, it also made me feel a little bit sick, both about the city itself and just about the privilege these Bachelor franchise stars have and how entitled they all must feel after the show... like to need an apartment on Carrie Bradshaw's street... ok... I really enjoyed this little bit about her interaction with the leasing agent, shows how embarrassed some of them truly feel for their newfound 'professions':

'Also, what do you do for a living?'
Fuck, the dreaded occupation question. 'I'm a blogger,' I lie.
I can't tell her the truth, which is that I'm a former attorney who went on a reality television show, who is surviving on odd jobs like attending events that I really have no business attending, and getting paid to post on social media."

I was surprised by how candid Dorfman is about her promiscuity in NYC. She lives a very public life and is subject to a ton of scrutiny already on a daily basis for how she does her hair and what she wears, etc., etc., so it was surprising to watch her deliver her sex life to the public on a silver platter. Not that she's not entitled to one. Certainly, she's a grown adult and is living a life that makes her happy, so that's great, but not everyone holds my opinion and some people are ruder to people they don't know on social media than necessary.

Dorfman discusses a number of casual relationships she had with various professional baseball players (all with 'nicknames' so as to not out these people), a few vacation flings, a few locals she meets on nights out, and even a Canadian athlete (who gave her a terrible impression of Canadians, sweet.) She's pretty candid about how the relationships went, both in and out of bed, and while usually I wouldn't care for this 'trying to be Carrie Bradshaw' persona, I found it endearing. I like that she doesn't care what others think anymore and is willing to be vulnerable and give people the honest truth- ready to embrace whatever people have to say about it. In this way I found this book a lot more mature than It's Not Okay, however, I'm still not sure I'd call it 'mature' as a standalone.

I think it's also important for people reading her book to recognize that everyone's not just out there meeting all the great guys except them. Guys are shit everywhere, and to everyone, including very pretty, rich, ex-Bachelorettes. Dorfman has some less-than-great experiences with guys that I think make her more relatable to the general public. She's lonely too. She's playing the game too. She's also sifting through gross, immature, rude, shit-in-bed, psychopaths trying to find someone she actually likes. I wanted to include this little interaction below that she has with a Brazilian guy while on vacation:

At some point, we shift from family life to talking about Brazilian life. Mainly the life of Brazilian women and their enviable asses.
'Yeah, we American girls weren't blessed with that.' I chuckle.
'Aww, but you have a cute little pooch,' he replies as he pinches my belly.
I swear to God, he actually leans over with a thumb and an index finger pinches my pooch."

This is the kind of awkward, crawl-into-a-nearby-garbage-can type of encounter that would happen to me. It also happens to others, apparently. You can tell throughout that she goes through phases where she's really happy and smitten with her single NYC lifestyle, and other phases where she's lonely and really struggling with the idea of not having a partner, which again, is relatable.

Naturally, this second book was less rich than her first with the Bachelor drama that I froth at the mouth for. Dorfman is just a bit removed from the whole scene at this point, which is too bad but also admirable. An interesting 'thing' Dorfman calls out is that her book was released right in the midst of a season of Bachelor in Paradise, in which her ex-fiance Josh Murray (whom It's Not Okay is largely about) is a contestant and gets engaged to another franchise alum, Amanda Stanton (worth noting they also split shortly after for reasons seeming eerily similar to Dorfman's). Because of Murray's new relationship, the negative picture Dorfman paints in her book is mentioned a lot on the season of BIP, which Dorfman claims is arguably the best press her book could have gotten. Ridiculously enough, Stanton also has a book coming out this summer and I can't wait to read Murray's second profile as an emotionally abusive man-baby.

Stanton and Murray - Stanton's book should be riveting.... (jk)

I liked this book more than It's Not Okay, but it's hard to compare the two. If you're looking for scoop on the Bachelor, you'll be disappointed to read this, but if you're in the mood for newly-single-promiscuous-in-NYC-Carrie-Bradshaw-wannabe-esque material I'd recommend this. It's easy to read, fairly short, and entertaining. Dorfman apparently has another book coming out, so she is really trying to run with this author thing, which, she's funny but she's not a good writer. It's very young-adult, and I doubt I'll continue to read her books now that she's so far removed from the Bachelor franchise, but who knows...

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