Hello, all you beautiful humans!
Who here has read a Blind Date book?
For anyone who doesn’t know, blind book dates are usually orchestrated by libraries and bookstores around Valentine’s Day, and essentially consist of a mysterious book wrapped up with a clue on the front.
In case you haven’t already noticed, I did not read this in February when I was supposed to. I also did not post this in February when I meant to.
I’m a queen of library renewals and disappointment.
Aaaaanyway, I’d never done one before, so I figured I’d give it a go this year. I am very much a judge-a-book-by-the-blurb-and-cover girl–AKA the absolute OPPOSITE of the whole going-in-blind thing–so this was very much something I am not at all used to.
The book I turned out to have gotten is The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg. When when I picked it up, it was covered in brown paper packaging (tied up with strings! These are a few of my favourite things!), labelled “It’s a 5-Star fluff with a little protein to make it stick.”
Clearly, that tells me NOTHING except that it’s probably contemporary. I’m still not entirely sure what possessed me to go “yeah! Let’s definitely pick the most ambiguous clue for the first time you’re doing this!”
I wanted to guess things! I had nothing to guess!
I decided, against my usual grain, that I would not look up the title and read the blurb, that instead I would go in totally blind. So in the book about a 40th high school reunion, I first had to piece out oh they’re all seniors, oh they’re from high school, oh it’s a reunion.
It’s an interesting experience to have gone in without any reservations at all, and I found it largely freeing that I didn’t have any expectations, meaning I couldn’t so easily be disappointed. Also, everything was a surprise. Blurbs will often contain or allude to spoilers, presumably as a way of hooking their readers, but then twist ceases to be a twist! The shock isn’t shocking! This time I had ZERO spoilers, and had to piece everything and everyone out as I went. I didn’t know about, as the description states, “Candy Armstrong, the class beauty,” I just knew everyone was jealous of her or wanted her, meaning okay she’s probably the cheerleader.
A downside I found was that I couldn’t get excited about something that was going to happen. I mean, okay, if two characters are gonna end up together, I kinda want to know about it! To anticipate it! Get pumped about it! But I didn’t, so I couldn’t, which didn’t affect me as much as it could have but bugged me more than I, who hates spoilers, might care to admit.
The book itself at the end was pretty good. It definitely took some getting used to the seniors acting like sex-starved teenagers and superficiality of some of the characters, but as the novel progressed it showed more and more depth, offering not only a picture of nostalgia, but also the reality of coping with life coming to an end. I gave it 4/5.
As an experience, the blind date thing was neat. I’m not entirely sure if I’d do it again, and the book wasn’t exactly my usual style, but I found the whole ordeal (yes, ordeal) more fun that I’d anticipated!
Maybe come next Valentine’s Day, it’ll be a solid alternative to my nonexistent love life–who needs a real date when you’ve got a book? 😉