Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date is a contemporary memoir in which Katie Heaney rambles about how she’s gone the 25 years of her life without ever having a date (which isn’t completely accurate). A better title for this book would be “Never Have I Ever: Been in a Romantic Relationship,” or something along those lines, because Heaney actually goes on a date at age 25, which contradicts the title. Heaney’s real “problem” in the memoir is that she’s gone so long without having a boyfriend while she watches her friends jump in and out of relationships, which isn’t a big deal. It’s today’s society and cultural norms that have created a pressure that tells young adults that if they haven’t kissed, been on a date, or had sex by 21-ish there is something wrong with them, but there isn’t. More teenagers and young adults need to wait and mature before doing such adult-ish activities, though that isn’t the reason Heaney doesn’t have such “experience.”
Heaney is an awkward girl who would rather flee and pine from afar than to take risks, interact with guys, and possibly enter a relationship. She doesn’t really want to be in a relationship though she loves to talk about not being in one. At first, I wanted to blame her relationship with her religion and her parents (though both topics aren’t discussed much) for her behavior, but through the course of the book I realized that she is her own obstacle and that only through maturity and the desire to be in a committed relationship will she get out of the “rut” that is her dating life.
Overall, the book isn’t bad. There are moments when Heaney is really annoying (because of her antics), but there are also moments when I wanted to scream “Yes, you’re making progress” because she had a great epiphany only for her to slip back into her silly ways. To explain, here are four quotes that I feel are quintessential to this book:
- “Without realizing it, I’d been treating my school crushes like a crush I’d have on a celebrity… That’s how all my crushes went: no real boys, no real me.”
- “I mostly haven’t had chances, and when I’ve had chances I haven’t realized it. Or I did, but didn’t want them.”
- “Either I am the expert on crushing on non-single boys with questionable loyalty to their girlfriends, or I am the expert on mistakenly interpreting friendliness for flirtation.”
- “Basically, I want to expand minimal effort and have somebody fall madly in love with me just by virtue of being near me for a handful of days, and then it will just work out that we’re perfect for one another.”