The title is what immediately drew me to this book. After all, which one of us hasn’t felt, at one time or another, like our heart was definitely being an idiot? That’s what makes this book accessible to its readers. It may have some crazy adventures which none of us have experienced, but the overall sense of excitement with first love, the heartbreak of loss, and the hope of the future is something that all of us can understand.
The book is written in a series of separate moments in time, arranged in no particular order, which gives the title the modification of being a collection of essays. However, despite the non-linear arrangement of events in the book, the commonality of revolving around different romantic endeavors keeps the story together and readable. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the way the events are presented out of order, each chapter a new event, contributes to the ideal that Davy Rothbart is a romantic mess. In each chapter, Davy allows his heart rather than his head to make his decisions, and although it doesn’t always give him a happy ending, he discovers new friends, new opportunities, and something new about himself.
Granted, this isn’t exactly a “happy ending” sort of story, which makes it that much more appealing. As much as I love a good happy ending, this book is more about the reality that the heart doesn’t always make the smartest decisions, while leading you on one hell of an adventure. While reading these insane trips and nonsensical rationalizations of the very enigmatic, although eccentric Davy, I found myself laughing while shaking my head and telling the author what a stupid move he’s making meeting up with a girl he’s never met in real life (only spoken to on the phone) and going on a road-trip through Arizona. Yes, these are the kinds of messes that Davy gets himself into, and although you may be screaming along with me that this is a huge mistake, you can’t help but applaud the heartsick author for his dedication to his crazy, idiotic heart.
The book takes risks in the sense that it does not follow the traditional skeleton – the introduction, build-up, climax, etc. – and yet it does not read like a typical collection of essays due to the common thread and character that remains central to each chapter. It follows Davy in his unorthodox adventures to find love, and it reads like sincere tales that, despite the insane events, read true. There is no sugar-coating; no perfect first meeting, first date, or the like. As previously stated, they are the reality of what a mess romance can be, especially when you approach it with abandon, which it feels like Davy is certainly doing just that. However, you cannot help but root for Davy, like some awkward video game hero, in hopes that he will finally find what he is looking for – a happy ending.
In the end, Davy Rothbart’s story is one of impractical, almost unbelievable, and very real accounts of one man who is trying just a little too hard to find love. In the end, I was left smiling, satisfied by the ending as unorthodox as the rest of Davy’s story, and in some ways hoped that one day my heart would be just a little more idiotic, so that I could have my own adventures.