How to Fall in Love with Anyone: A Memoir in Essays

How do we fall in love? What are the ingredients for a lasting relationship? Is love purely chemical, mainly psychological, a deliberate choice or all of the above? These questions had plagued Mandy Len Catron since childhood, as she listened to her parents' and grandparents' love stories (told and retold until they took on the quality of myth) and then tried to navigate the messy world of love on her own.

In 2015, Catron published the Modern Love essay "To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This" in the New York Times, and it went viral. Both the essay and her first book, How to Fall in Love with Anyone, are inspired by a study from psychologist Arthur Aron: a series of 36 questions designed to foster increasing intimacy between two people. Catron's memoir gives context and weight to the events described in the essay and the man whom she still loves. She also examines the cultural ethos (and baggage) surrounding romantic love, explores the family lore that shaped her views on love, and details her own decade-long relationship (which eventually buckled under the weight of uncertainty). Combining psychology, cultural criticism and literature with personal insights, Catron creates an engaging, thought-provoking mosaic of essays on love's challenges, risks and quotidian joys.

"What to do about the problem of love? These are the revisions of my life," Catron admits near the end. Her love stories may not fit neatly into the Hollywood fairy-tale mold, but they, and her memoir, are rich and satisfying in their complexity. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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