Friday, May 23, 2008

The Girlfriend Project, by Robin Friedman

Reed Walton is a senior and has always been a bit of an outcast, the kind of guy who Marsha Peterson laughed at in freshman year when he asked her out on a date. But Reed has grown two inches over the summer, gotten contacts, and lost his braces. Now he's ready to find his first girlfriend. And with some help from his best friends Ronnie and Lonnie he's having more success than he ever thought possible. Reed has gotten used to his loser-dork status, so the discovery that his new self turns heads is quite a surprise. Moreover, he finds that getting a date is not only no longer a problem, but that he has to pry them away. Now, if he could only get the girl of his dreams!

The strength of this story is the way it brings up so many familiar discussions about dating (the types of questions we have all discussed at one time or another), exploring the unbalanced rituals of the process and exploring what it really is all about. As an actual story, the plot drags a bit at the end but it does pull a last minute satisfying conclusion.

It's also a bit hard for me to relate to the story as I was never much of a casual dater as a teen (although ironically I did a bit much more recently as an adult). But I suspect that for those who have gone through the whole dating scene, there's plenty to recognize here.

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