36 Questions that Changed My Mind about You is a cute story. It’s nothing to be taken seriously or to be analyzed deeply. It’s a mindless read, or if you’re like me, a mindless listen. It’s best to read 36 Questions if you’re in a rut or just finished a serious series and want something lighthearted.
As mentioned in the book, this story is based on The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness by Arthur Aron, which is why the best part of the story is when Hildy (Betty) and Paul (Bob) are answering the questions. If it wasn’t for the banter between these two characters, 36 Questions would be a waste of time. You can tell that Grant tries to make the book a fleshed out story by adding a problem (rom-com style) and adding side drama to Hildy’s life. However, these aspects fall flat and drag the story on since you can tell that it wasn’t Grant’s central focus.
All in all, 36 Questions is decent given the cliche romance. You have the wounded nice guy with the outward jerk persona fall for the clumsy, privileged girl who thinks any little problem means her world is ending. Stay for the banter, leave if you want depth.
Why are protagonists rarely given more than two friends in a story? Is it because developing a third perspective is too difficult? Maybe it’s because having a third perspective sets a majority when it comes to a two-sided problem and that means less inner dialogue for the protagonist. But maybe that’s not a bad thing. It would be interesting for a change to have a protagonist and their friends decide yes, pursue the love interest, or no, don’t do it, instead of there being a split decision, which means at least one chapter dedicated to the protagonist going back and forth between the two options before making a decision. Sometimes I can forgo the drivel.
Also, why do friends have to be a ragtag bunch? I’m not saying they aren’t possible, but they’re not common. Like how, exactly, did these people become friends? They may have things in common, but not enough for long lasting friendships. And why are they mean or uncaring at times? I understand getting on a friend’s nerve every once in awhile, but book friends don’t seem to enjoy helping the protagonist through their problem, as if the problem is inconveniencing them. I demand better book friends and more book friends because I want a better narrative.