Size Doesn’t Matter (151): The United States of Absurdity; I Believe in a Thing Called Love

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (151): The United States of Absurdity; I Believe in a Thing Called LoveThe United States of Absurdity: Untold Stories from American History by Dave Anthony, Gareth Reynolds
Narrator: Dave Anthony, Gareth Reynolds
Length: 2 h4s, 48 mins
Published by Random House Audio on May 9, 2017
Genres: Nonfiction, History
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

Discover illustrated profiles of the weird, outrageous (and true!) tales from American history that don't appear in school textbooks.

From the creators of the comedy/history podcast "The Dollop," "The United States of Absurdity" presents short, informative, and hilarious stories of the most outlandish (but true) people, events, and more from United States history. Comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds cover the weird stories you didn't learn in history class, such as 10-Cent Beer Night, the Jackson Cheese, and the Kentucky Meat Shower, each accompanied by a full-page illustration that brings these historical "milestones" to life in full-color. Adding to the giftable history/comedy package, each story is accompanied by tongue-in-cheek trivia and timelines that help place the stories in context with the more well-known historical events that occurred around them.

Though I’ve never gotten into podcasts, I couldn’t pass up on audiobook that’s basically sketches from a podcast about weird bits of history. I would totally do podcasts but there’s no sense of accomplishment because I can’t really mark it “read” so it feels like time lost, but The United States of Absurdity does make me want to get into it.

This book was everything I wanted it to be: funny and full of silly historical facts. I’d have been perfectly happy to have tons more stories. I mean, the audiobook was just under three hours, which means the print book would have taken like an hour to read max; that’s absurdly short, yo. An excellent pick for a road trip drive, especially since someone could come in partway.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (151): The United States of Absurdity; I Believe in a Thing Called LoveI Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR) on May 30, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Humor
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository

Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She's for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It's a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

Maurene Goo’s debut Since You Asked was great, and she’s only improving with her sophomore novel I Believe in a Thing Called Love. No surprise that I really enjoyed the contemporary romance based on kdramas lbr.

Actually, though, the biggest weakness of I Believe in a Thing Called Love was the kdrama aspect. Goo does a great job doing a send up of some of the silliest kdrama romance tropes, but they aren’t the ones used in my favorite kdramas. There’s so much high level embarrassment in this book that sometimes I had to set it aside because I couldn’t deal. Like, seriously, when Desi first meets her love interest, she accidentally pantses herself. That actually happens.

The plot is that of the studious girl who is absolutely horrible at flirting and decides to study up on kdrama to catch her new crush Luca. It’s over the top and ludicrous in the way that a lot of the romance kdramas are. Unless you’ve seen a kdrama, some of it might be hard to swallow (and even if you have), like the bit <i>where Desi intentionally causes a car accident or her attempt at a grand gesture, which would have made me get a restraining order probably</i>. Goo really commits to the concept, and she does a great job with her goal. Still, I would have enjoyed the actual romance more if the kdrama hijinks had been toned down.

Luca and Desi don’t really make a ton of sense to me as a couple, though I do appreciate that they really start to bond later on. Initially, it’s Desi insta-crushing mega hard on him for no apparent reason aside from his cuteness. It’s not a ship ship ship, but it’s a convincing high school romance. Secretly, I wanted her to hook up with her best friend (curse you, second love interest syndrome (even though he’s not actually a love interest)).

The strongest elements of the book for me were Desi’s relationship with her dad, herself, and Violet. Initially, Violet’s an antagonist love rival, but back story comes out and they become friends, tentatively at first, which is really sweet. Desi’s dad is completely adorable, an auto mechanic addicted to kdramas. They love each other so much, and I just love getting to see those healthy parent/child relationships in YA. Also, I think one of the most touching elements of the whole book is how Desi comes to realize that, though she was milking her mom’s death when she was a kid as her “tragedy” for the kdrama plot, she actually did have issues associated with having lost her mom young to work through. In some ways, all the needless drama did help her process.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love is clever and funny, but do be aware that this is one that’s all about the concept, so sometimes Desi will make choices that don’t necessarily seem like something Desi would do. That kind of stuff happens in kdrama all the time, as sensible heroines go bananaballs around their love interests (I prefer the ones where the girls stay pretty sensible and the dudes go bananaballs haha). Read this one in the right mood, and you’ll have a grand time!

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (151): The United States of Absurdity; I Believe in a Thing Called Love”

  1. Oh!! My coworker loves podcasts and was telling me about The Dollop actually. The book sounds so fun, I love obscure history stories.

    Oh noooooo I’m excited for “Love” but I have a hard time with really embarrassing stories! Ack. I’ve never watched kdramas so I appreciate the heads up about tropes and character decisions and all that. This does sound very cute!
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