The synopsis of Josh Sunquist’s memoir was cute enough to catch my attention: man looks back through his relationship history full of non-starters and tries to get answers about why it took him until his early-twenties to have a real girlfriend. Josh is a retired Paralympic skier who is now a motivational speaker. What I didn’t realize was Josh Sunquist is the amputee bad-ass that pops up on my timeline every Halloween! He was also completely useless with women as a teen and young adult.
I think several things contributed to his awkwardness; he lost a leg to childhood cancer, he was home schooled until high school and his family was incredibly religious. Josh scientifically explores his past failed relationship, forms a hypothesis about why they didn’t escalate to boyfriend/girlfriend status and then tests his hypothesis by meeting with the women in the present day. This is a fun way to present the information and Josh is an engaging writer, most likely because he is a motivational speaker now, but I just couldn’t with his romantic ineptitude. Sure, he was probably a bit stunted by his parents’ dating rules but he was just so clueless it almost felt unbelievable! It seemed, for the most part, the girls liked him too but waited for him to make the first move and he was too worried about rejection that he kept waiting for them to make the first move. Or their non starter relationships meant a lot more to him and didn’t even register enough a decade later when they were “interviewed” by Josh to give a reason on why they didn’t become more.
“To paraphrase Elie Wiesel, in relationships, the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. having no feelings at all. Not caring either way. Hate, at least, requires a foundation of emotional involvement with the relationship.”
It is always hard to judge memoirs on their content because they are based on real life situations and the real choices the author made. Josh just made a lot of stupid choices which makes him hard to root for. One woman tells him she had a huge crush on him and, when he stopped calling her because he felt she should have called him, she was hurt. His immediate reaction, years later, was to ask her out! No growth whatsoever.
Sundquist has a few other memoirs and I may check those out. I liked his writing style and wonder if a less awkward plot would make for a better, or at least less cringe worthy, reading experience.