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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
First Date Stories: Women’s Romantic and Ridiculous Midlife Adventures by Jodi Klein is a non-fiction collection of experiences aimed at cementing solidarity and reinforcing sisterhood from within the ranks of the post-forty dating scene. All told, there are nearly a dozen moments that Klein puts forward. These stories are told in vignettes, with each delving into a full first date and all it entails. Pre-date jitters, premonitions, and early expectations roll over into the slices of reality that are both good and bad, providing an unvarnished look into the meeting. The experience is then followed by “The Rest of the Story”, which provides what occurred after the date ended. Finally, Klein plucks what can be learned from the featured story's heart and through the beauty of hindsight is able to provide “Dating Takeaway Tips” to encourage a better next time.
A dear, dear friend of mine in the over-fifty dating scene once told me that in this specific age bracket, the dating pool definitely has pee in it. First Date Stories gives the caliber of experiences that one hopes for when selecting a book written for a niche category of readers, but Jodi Klein pushes beyond this with moments that are written with pitch-perfect wit, even when the tales take a turn into the realm of drama that reads like fiction. My favorite is The Real Jim, where Ellen goes on a date with a man who feels the demands of his daily life inhibit his true nature...and once permission is given for him to let loose, he gets way too loose. There are others, such as The Day Trip and The Cringe, both of which delve into dating someone whom you've crossed paths with before, and the divergence of how those concluded so differently. I absolutely loved this book and wholly appreciate the contributions that Klein weaves into a fantastic anthology. Really well done.