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  • Cookie Boyle

Books I have read and why — Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch

A bookshelf doesn’t just hold books. It holds memories.

Back in the 90s, when I was single and actively looking for love, I was introduced to a fellow through a randomly forwarded email. It was that kind of unexpected, rom-com meeting that I could convince myself meant ‘something’. We began a pre-Tinder, online conversation. We lived in different cities (strike one) but he lived in a city that I visited often (so only a half-strike).

We were both single, so naturally our lengthy online chats turned to relationships. During one of these exchanges, he mentioned Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch. He declared that when he read it, he found it to be so full of male truths that it should be banned to all females, as it would give us “an unfair advantage” in the dating game.

Of course, the first thing I did was rush out and buy it. I devoured the book, expecting to become instantly wiser on a subject I was obsessed with – single men. I imagined I’d be surrounded by a light of wisdom. I would float through the days on a cloud of male insight, smiling at those women less informed than I was (effectively half the population) who didn’t realize, as I did, what men really thought. I would be able to see into the male soul and predict their actions. I would laugh – oh how I would laugh – at those who were astounded by my predictive abilities about what a man was thinking or going to do. And I would never make another bad relationship decision again.

I would write a book about “Things All Women Should Know About Men” (TAWSKAM™). The book would lead to a book tour, followed by a stint on Oprah and eventually my own TV show. That was the power of Fever Pitch.

When I finally met aforementioned fellow in person (IRL as we now say), he was funny and smart. I decided that I understood him, because I had read The Book. Half an hour into our evening, we were joined (unexpectedly, at least to me) by a local female celebrity — single, gorgeous and delightful. The kind of woman you want to find fault with, but can’t. Over the next hour I watched him flirt with her, and her return the flirt. Hold on, aren’t I the one who’s meant to be on a date with this guy?

Nick Hornby didn’t prepare me for this.

There was no second “date”. But to this day, when I see Nick Hornby’s first book, I smile, as not only was it an enjoyable read, I remember who I was when I was reading it. That person will forever be embedded between the pages of Fever Pitch. And is now happily married to someone else.

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