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Paperback Book Details
  • 11/2021
  • 9781647422110
  • 256 pages
  • $16.95
Books Forward Author Publicity
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Fifty First Dates After Fifty: A Memoir
After Arnold, a free-spirited, 50-something longing for a life partner, breaks up with her non-committal Buddhist boyfriend (and holds a “letting go” ceremony to seal the deal), she challenges herself to go on 50 first dates during her search for a monogamous life partner. Set in the Bay Area world of personal growth workshops and spiritual ceremonies, this revealing memoir traces the adventurous path of Arnold’s universal quest for love. The goal of 50 dates with 50 different partners pulls her forward through the highs and lows of dating — magical and ecstatic, pining and painful — while her heart soars, falls and keeps on going. Buoyed by her dating project, she avoids settling for the wrong guy and discovers the type of man she wants.
Reviews
Blending memoir and self-help, self-proclaimed Bay Area hippie Arnold offers a quick, refreshing––and surprisingly pro-sex––read about redefining relationships and expectations in a monogamous-normative world. Arnold recounts what she has dubbed “the dating project,” a time in her life, over the course of two years, when she went on 50 first dates searching for her one perfect partner––while trying to get over her noncommittal ex-boyfriend. That period finds her dabbling in polyamory, attending sex parties, and dating married men, convinced that once she finds “the one” she will settle down and be monogamous. But during her journey she finds more than misadventures or an ideal partner. She makes new friends and learns new truths about herself. “Oh yeah!” she exults. “I remembered. I love sex! It energizes and mellows me out at the same time.”

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.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: B

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 11/2021
  • 9781647422110
  • 256 pages
  • $16.95

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