Sunday, November 13, 2011

31 Dates in 31 Days by Tamara Duricka Johnson @31dates

Imagine this- A few weeks to your 31st birthday, your boyfriend suddenly realizes there is nothing more between you two, especially when you were still hoping he is the one, and breaks up with you before you could point out the silver-linings in your relationship. What do you do? Well, Tamara Duricka Johnson’s response to such predicament is what has evolved into a much talked about 31 Dates in 31 Days

Except, Tamara’s case is not an imaginary one. It actually happened to her! It must have been a big blow on her self-esteem. But she did not allow the blow to keep her down for too long! With the support of her witty friends, she launched a project!

When I first got an email from Andie Atwood of Seal Press, requesting for a review of 31 Dates in 31 Days on this blog, I had no idea what I was setting myself up for!

Wow! If there is any book I’ve read so far on dating and relationship, that made a lot of sense and left me with a plate full of life lessons, this is it! 
Okay I must admit I was cynical when I first heard about the book. The shocking title at first might make your wonder- Was she crazy dating so many guys in such a short space of time? How did she cope frolicking with all of these men? Is she a slut? But again, who are we to judge a book by its cover?  No, the story is definitely different from the impression we first perceive from the title or synopsis!

The minute I opened it and started reading, I knew the book was not just another fictitious do’s and don’t’s about dating and relationship. It is a true-life story, written in its raw form. No male bashing. No cranking feminism. Just a pure story told to empower others.

The author re-defined what dating should entail, bringing the fun back into the center of it. How ladies/women ought to perceive the men in their lives or the men that come their way. The author took us to the very basics of dating. What we often forget or are never told.

Stop seeing every guy as The One!  Enjoy the friendship first and it will grow if it must.

Experience they say is the best teacher. But we can’t all experience everything so we must be open-minded and learn from other people’s experience. 

Reading about Tamara’s experience and following her through the journey of shaping the future is thought-provoking as it allows you, the reader, develop a new knowledge of self.

At some point, I felt the author’s fatigue of the marathon dating exercise. It was pretty hard to keep up. Twenty dates into the book, I was tempted to flip to the last chapter to see how the story ended. But then, that will mean missing out on the lessons each character unfolded in the story.

The story took a dynamic turn when the author was asked on Air (yep ABC interviewed her in the course of the project) what advice she had for people going out on the first date-

“First,’” I said, “don’t take first dates too seriously. Second, don’t judge too quickly. And third, every guy is somebody’s Prince Charming. Maybe not yours, but he could be someone else’s. so respect him.” 

How on point!

From her narrative point of view, the author certainly presented the guys, with whom she had 31 dates in the 31 days, with much respect. She carefully pointed out as much good in them she allowed herself to focus on during the few hours they spent together, making the book sound too nice. Well, isn’t that the whole purpose of sharing the lessons through which others can grow?

The men formed a gracious and alluring backdrop for the author to learn that self-worth, identity and fulfillment don’t come in a package labeled “boyfriend” or “husband.”

She tells us “Love is something to offer, not to seek.”

Is there anyone (yes, the book is NOT for ladies only!) out there trying to understand the complexities of dating, relationship and finding true love? Go pick up a copy of 31 Dates in 31 Days, read it and learn from 31 years old Tamara, as she wriggle her way out of a history of broken relationship into enjoying the experience of dating and the many lessons that come with it. It might not teach you everything, but it will help you get a grip of the basics, that has become almost extinct these days :-)

31 Dates in 31 Days certainly make some of the other books on dating and relationship look pale. The simplicity through which it was written makes the story worth reading.

It is wrapped with a rich sense of humor that would crack you up. I caught myself laughing as I flipped through the pages, exploring each scene and character.

The author shares her story of giving love and finding her true love. She highlights her struggles, insecurities, frustration and faith. 

The story also focuses on the important role friendship plays in shaping destiny. 

Although the central theme of the book focuses on dating and the characters of the 30 dates (men), other sub-themes were expressed through the loss of her father and step-father, the strength of her mother, the dedication of her girlfriends, support of her colleagues and the broken relationship she experienced with a couple of men, who indirectly inspired the story itself.

So even if you are not interested in dating, there are other lessons equally expressed through these characters, all of them played an important role in shaping the story.

I hope we have more unpretentious writers willing to draw from their own experience to share insights into dealing with every day issue, instead of just sharing complex theories that are not really applicable in reality.

31 Dates in 31 Days gets all the 5 star ratings! I totally enjoyed reading it! I hope you find the book thought-provoking but inspiring!

Synopsis of the Book

31 Date in 31 Days (Seal Press / October 2011 ) is the true story of Johnson’s journey toward changing her outlook on life, love, and modern dating. Her dating marathon teaches her to keep things in perspective, helps her let go of her preconceptions, and opens her eyes to how many single, smart, and attractive guys are out there—even in a super-sized metropolis like New York City.  With a few rules (never the same place twice, don’t spend over $31, and no second dates until after the 31st date), her dating project unexpectedly turns out to be a series of authentic and unpredictable experiences. With each of her dates—whether it’s the shy dance teacher, the sweet surfer, or the 21-year old Coast Guardsman—Johnson learns to open up and have more fun; which is, after all, what dating should be about.  Ckeckout the website: