The book’s an engaging example of how the journey matters more than the destination: Turns out, Arnold’s true goal was to love and accept herself for who she is. Arnold’s introspection and clarity (she describes her type as the “spiritual businessman”) will inspire even skeptical readers to evaluate their love lives and perhaps even face and accept aspects of themselves, such as a curiosity about polyamory, that they may not have before. Arnold’s frank description and thoughtful reflection on her dozens of dates––from good to bad, from being rejected to having to reject––will make women readers feel heard and understood.
However, Arnold takes a lot of time describing her work with the Human Awareness Institute, putting a lot of stock on what she has learned there, which makes some of this memoir’s accounts of breakthroughs feel promotional––and risks losing readers enticed by the book’s title. In the final pages, Arnold tends to explain rather than dramatize, burdening the narrative with expositional detail. Still, when Arnold tells these stories with brutal honesty––with herself and her readers––Fifty First Dates shines.
Takeaway: Perfect for the poly-curious and their skeptical counterparts, this account of looking for love after fifty offers surprise and discoveries.
Great for fans of: Zoey Leigh Peterson’s Next Year, For Sure, Sophie Lucido Johnson’s Many Love: A Memoir of Polyamour and Finding Love.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B