51 dates. 50 weeks. That was the social experiment Kristen McGuiness — single, living in LA, and entering her thirties newly sober — embarked upon. McGuiness thought facing her struggle with alcoholism would be the hardest part, with love coming easily afterwards. It didn’t. Rethinking her previous dating strategy, she embarks on the ultimate social experiment: 51 dates over the course of 50 weeks, and a chance to claim the life she thought was supposed to be hers.
Dodging CHAs (Cheesy Hollywood Actors) and men with self-diagnosed RAD (Relationship Anxiety Disorder), McGuiness is determined to find the “perfect guy” by being the “perfect girl.” But McGuiness, like all of us, has her own issues to contend with: a longing for the wrong kind of men, a penchant for swearing, and a difficult relationship with her father in maximum-security prison. But as the year progresses, McGuiness begins to develop a new hope for her future — the dates transform into truth-seeking missions, and point her toward a life with satisfying work, a supportive family and, with the help of a local shaman, a comforting spirituality. Told with wry humor, pathos, and an engaging lack of self-pity, 51/50 is a moving adventure.
As a woman who’s been dating in Los Angeles for five years — sober — I do miss the ‘beer goggles.’ If you aren’t using booze to get through it, baby, you better laugh, or cry. This book will have you doing both.
Any woman who can go on fifty-one dates stone-cold sober is showing pluck that can’t be ignored. Kristen McGuiness has concocted a truly terrific read.
Never has the quest for love and sobriety seemed so hilariously poignant. A fizzy cocktail of Bridget Jones with a splash of A Million Little Pieces, Kristen McGuiness has bared her soul to give us a refreshing portrait of a young woman hell-bent on finding the perfect guy — only to find herself along the way.
Dating is something every woman has to do, but it’s so much more fun to read about Kristen doing it, and living to tell about it so hilariously, than actually having to suffer through it yourself. Thank you, sister.