The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.


If you're an urban Millennial, chances are that you have crossed paths with a Nathaniel P. at some point.

And if you're really, really unlucky... you've dated him.

"The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P." is the fictional tale of Nate, a Brooklyn-based Harvard grad in his late 20s / early 30s, and his relationship with a down-to-earth journalist named Hannah. Nate is a writer who, when not watching porn or getting verbally slapped around by his only female friend Aurit, spends his days doing mental gymnastics to bend his particularly infuriating breed of misogyny into something that loosely resembles an asshole's take on feminism.

Over the course of 250+ pages (or 7+ hours if you listen to it on Audible), readers get a glimpse into the mind of a guy who didn't really get a lot of attention from the ladies until he started to experience some professional success. At least, that's way he sees it. These days, subconsciously bitter and consciously manipulative, he has women falling over themselves to talk to him: ex-girlfriends who want him back, neighborhood baristas, wide-eyed graduate students... the list goes on.

And I can see why: simultaneously self-absorbed and deeply insecure, Nate is hard to hate. The glimmer of damage that he occasionally shares is like crack for the otherwise intelligent women who are attracted to him, women who just want to nurture him, women who are just happy to have an equally intelligent person to talk to, let alone someone who seems to be on his way up professionally. If I had a dollar for every chick in NYC that I met who would have fallen for a Nate, I'd have at least $54 dollars. At least.

Honest and very, very true to life, "The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P." elicited a rabid response from pretty much every critical review when it came out in 2013, with the all-too-likely reason being that every critic who reviewed the book was probably a NYC-based female in her late 20s / early 30s: they were not shy about admitting that this novel provided insight they'd wished they had when they were younger. I know that's certainly the case for me... it would have saved me about 2.5 years of very misguided crushes during my early twenties.

The men who reviewed TLAONP praised it as well, most of them heralding it as a wake-up call, realizing that they saw glimpses of themselves in Nate. Which is scary. Because it was written by a woman and I'm sure all of us wanted to believe just for a second that maybe Adelle Waldman got it wrong, maybe... but apparently, she nailed it. At least someone was willing to call a spade, a spade.

A realistic character study with excellent pacing and a lot of fodder for debate about the world of Millennial dating, "The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P." is a fun and interesting tour through the mind of a psuedo-intellectual douche. But I will warn you: if you've dated this guy, it can be a little too real. It's disheartening, even heartbreaking at times, to watch what happens to Hannah throughout the course of her and Nate's affair.  However, even with that disclaimer, I would happily recommend this, my first novel of 2015, to any reader who is prepared to wince and smile knowingly in equal measure.

2015 '50 Books' Progress: 3/50