It was only while typing up this review that I realised I can’t spell ‘Darbyshire’ and have almost no knowledge about YouTube or its stars. Both opened my eyes to a whole new world. If you’re like me and had (or indeed, have) no idea who Will Darbyshire was / is let me explain: he’s one of the YouTube stars currently taking over the younger demographic world one social media post as a time. Many of YouTube’s vloggers have released books – some fiction and some non-fiction. Will Darbyshire’s is different to everyone else’s because he crowd sourced the content of This Modern Love. His fans submitted letters, stories, and photographs about the state of modern romance.
There was something about This Modern Love which really didn’t appeal to me and I went in with low expectations. Did I really want to read other people’s ‘innermost thoughts about their relationship experiences’? Frankly the answer to that was no. But I am a curious cat and even though it might one day kill me this time round it caused me crack open the spine. Only metaphorically, since I don’t crack the spines of my books.
This Modern Love is structured like many relationships – the beginning tackles the beginning of a relationship, the middle the middle, and the end…well you get the picture. I started the book from the beginning, reading it in order though this by no means is the only way to read it. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had opened it at random and dipped in and out. However, that isn’t to say I didn’t like it because…I did. And that did surprise me. Mainly that’s because 1) I am not the target audience and 2) I have a low threshold for almost everything.
- I share my personal life with almost no one and rarely in a public sphere. Some of the contributions were so personal and so deeply part of their psyche that I was shocked to read it in print. Either Generation Z is a lot braver then us Millennials or they literally don’t give a fuck.
- No joke but I have the attention span of a gnat assuming that they have really small attention spans.
But like I said, I enjoyed this. It was deeply moving and very, very touching. Once I got over how much was being shared I could feel the contributors’ tentative hopes, their fears, their disappointments, and their joys with their relationships. This Modern Love swept me up into the ups and downs of a relationship. Yet if it wasn’t as funny as it was I don’t think I would have carried on with it because it was also ridiculously sad.
Now that I have finished it I still have mixed emotions about This Modern Love. I can’t separate the content from the real people who submitted the content even though I don’t think you’re supposed to. I love sharing my life on social media but there is so much I don’t and for me love falls into that latter category. And even though I think that makes me really old-fashioned at least now I know how to spell ‘Darbyshire’.
This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire is published by Century, Penguin Random House, and is available now from all good and evil retailers.