A fresh and approachable read, Mandy Len Catron’s series of essays present love as an idea, a problem to be solved, and a story which changes for every person.
Catron’s starting point was the conclusion of both her parent’s 28 year marriage and the subsequent end of her own long-term relationship, which spanned her twenties. Was it that love itself is finite, even when both people are good and kind? How did you know what made you compatible? What could you do to sustain the happily ever after?
With a long involvement in collecting love stories, the tales of how people met and fell in love have interested Catron for a long time, and it is through these experiences and her own family history that she investigates what it might mean to project these myths onto our own relationships.
In 2015 Catron’s short essay ‘To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This’ was published in the New York Times Modern Love column, describing what it was like to take a test with an acquaintance designed by a psychologist to create the perfect conditions for falling in love. Arthur Aron’s study originally asked pairs of heterosexual strangers to ask each other, and answer, 36 questions of increasing intimacy and record the results.
The book includes these questions, so you can take the test yourself with a willing partner. I enjoyed reflecting on my own experiences, prompted by the book’s considerate questions. We all experience love and attachments differently, but the idea of the love story endures.