If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to apartment hunt in NYC, this book is for you. There’s a section of the book which, though it has a few funny moments, is way too long and detailed about Andi’s search for a place to live. (Also, I imagine that most other people who are not Andi Dorfman couldn't just pick up and move to NYC with no job and afford an apartment without a roommate.)
Then we get to the good stuff: the dating. Let’s be serious – this is why people are reading this book. Once Andi is settled into her tiny apartment, she starts going out with guys through set-ups from friends and dating apps. I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but let’s just say her first real date is kind of a hilarious disaster. (And it’s oddly comforting to know that someone has smoking hot as Andi also has bad dates like the rest of us.)
It’s interesting to watch her navigate the NYC dating world after coming off of such a public breakup, and I applaud her for not 1) hiding away, or 2) going on another reality show like her ex did (two, actually). She just goes and lives her best life, and that’s commendable.
We get to hear her thoughts as she has her first good date after the breakup, her first NYC kiss, her first time in bed with a new guy, the first time she feels love again, and even her very first one-night stand (again, no spoilers, but this story is almost out of a movie). She’s unblinkingly honest in these stories, even when it comes to sex details, which gives the book the vibe of talking to your friend and sharing dating experiences over red wine (another favorite of Andi’s).
There’s also a hint of Bachelor Nation gossip. At Jade and Tanner’s wedding, Andi catches some serious shade for going dateless, and it’s an odd glimpse into the bubble that is Bachelor World.
Speaking of singlehood (is that a word?), the parts of the book I enjoyed the most and found the most fascinating as a single 30-year-old reader were the parts that questioned the way people view single women in their late twenties and thirties. In an interview on Here to Make Friends, HuffPost’s podcast about the Bachelor, Andi talks about how she feels great being single in NYC and not-so-great about it when she visits Atlanta because the attitude toward unmarried women is totally different there.
It’s clear in a few instances that Andi has internalized some of this southern view of single women and the roles men play in women’s lives. For example, at one point, she says, “Maybe I should find a man soon to help me change a few lightbulbs and hang the rest of my pictures on the walls.” (Cue eye roll.)
Later in the book, she worries that her enjoyment of her independence could be a problem in the future: “What if year after year I find myself still content with being single?” When I heard this question (because I listened to the audiobook), I answered her out loud in my car, “Then you’d be content, so what’s the problem?” I wish she’d answered her own question like this, but she didn’t. She seemed genuinely concerned that liking the single life would lead to some kind of lifelong lonely-girl syndrome.
She does make a good point after enduring a particularly painful breakup that the only person you can ever truly know or truly trust is yourself. Here again, I wish she’d gone further and taken a more empowering angle. I wanted her to say something like, “So always choose your relationship with yourself over any of these fools.” But it doesn’t quite go there. This was the angle I wanted the book to have, but I’m not sure it ever really gets there.
It’s Not Okay was a fun read/listen in that Bachelor-tell-all way, but Single State of Mind is going for something else. It’s Not Okay seemed to know what it was and embraced that. This book felt like it had several threads (NYC life, dating stories, views of singlehood) that didn’t really come together in a way that was satisfying for me.
If you like Andi and know her from the Bachelorette, you’ll probably enjoy the book because you’re already somewhat invested in her story. If you’re just a single gal in her late twenties/early thirties looking for a book on dating, this might not be the one. I’m not fully convinced this book can stand on its own without Andi’s history (and other book) behind it to prop it up.
Rating: 3/5 Stars
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