To absolutely no one’s surprise, I am a huge fan of the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. I started watching during Ben F.’s season freshman year of college and have been hooked ever since. When Andi appeared on Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor, I was genuinely surprised. I saw she was an attorney during her introduction, and therefore not a total bimbo like a lot of the women we see on the show (who I also for the most part happen to love as they provide great entertainment and overall make me feel better about myself.) Anyway—I knew right off the bat Andi was too good for Juan Pablo, and while I wanted her to be the next Bachelorette after her infamous departure on his season—I kept thinking, “Why in the hell is she a part of this franchise? She’s too good for it!” So curiosity killed the cat, I bit the bullet, and bought her book, It’s Not Okay. Reading it made me love her even more. For all of her success career-wise at such a young age, she was so GOD-DAMN RELATABLE when it came to love.
I don’t want to give away too much of the book, although if you watch the show you probably know that Andi’s final rose was given to Josh Murray, a man who was less than stellar and essentially (in my opinion) just out for fame and redemption from living in his younger brother’s shadow. Having experienced a bit of a heartbreak this past year, the subject was already on my mind a lot. Reading Andi’s story actually got me thinking even more about heartbreak.
I’ve been through heartbreak multiple times now—a lot of it due to deaths in the family, a bit of it due to a break-up that I thought was just the worst thing ever. But, I look at heartbreak very differently now. The funny thing about heartbreak is, it’s the absolute WORST pain in the world. But would you take back the love that was once there to avoid it? No. Of course not. When you’re in the midst of it, it’s really hard to make sense of things.
Andi captures this pain and all of it’s different faces incredibly well. Her story starts with two-plus weeks of crying and moping around the guest house of her best friend, Kelly, to the end of the book where we find she’s bounced back from what most of us would consider a living hell.
The girl knows about heartbreak.
What really caught my attention in Andi’s break-up story (aside from that now thanks to The Bachelorette franchise she was a pseudo-celebrity), was that her life was now defined by a “before the show” and “after the show.” And while our heartbreaks as readers may not be defined in such terms, heartbreak is definitely a pain that defines certain parts of your life, chapters if you will—and Andi brings those chapters to life perfectly. All of a sudden, a life is defined by a bunch of “before”‘s and a whole lotta “after”‘s.
“After _______ and I broke up.”
“Before I realized _____________________.”
“After I lost ____________________.”
It’s funny how as we grow up, we think the things that define us are the heartbreaks and the losses. We remember the moment where we had just downed a bottle of wine and cried our eyes out over a boy, who in the end, will not matter. We think the aftermath of the death of someone we love is all we will remember of them, but that’s only the case if you choose to focus on the end of their life, not the “during”. We miss what we used to have instead of relish in what we still do. So many of us thrive on our heartbreak; it is the motivation that drives us to be better, but it’s also our greatest opponent. It’s ready to drive a dagger straight into your heart at any moment you give it the chance to. And so it makes us stronger.
Throughout It’s Not Okay, Andi chronicles her many ups and downs throughout the nearly year-long aftermath of a break-up from literally someone who just seems like SUCH. A. HUGE. JERK. Murray is now on this season of Bachelor in Paradise, and I feel some kind of weird satisfaction seeing him on such a shit-show of a show, because it just proves my point (and the world’s point for that matter), that he is literally SO DESPERATE for fame. It’s pathetic, and if I were Andi, I’d be laughing triumphantly right now at the entire situation.
I noticed throughout the book, Andi did harp on the fact that she now felt defined by a failed relationship, or the title “ex-fiancee” for that matter. And while I can relate to feeling like a failure after a relationship didn’t work out, I hope that Andi doesn’t continue to define herself by that “failure.” Heartbreak and break-ups, unfortunately, aren’t things we can avoid. They are parts of life that teach us so much about who we are and about strength we never knew we had until forced to. And while I don’t think it’s something we should erase from our stories, I think it’s something we need to stop defining ourselves by. There’s a reason your past is your past, and there are very few times when it’s worth revisiting.
A heart can handle a hell of a lot.
Andi knows that, I know that, we all know that. But sadness can give way to despair, and leading a life of wallowing over something (or someone) lost is just not worth it when there are so many amazing, beautiful things (and people) ahead of you. Remember the event or thing or person that hurt you, but don’t let it/he/she define you. I’m happy that by the end of It’s Not Okay, I felt that Andi had come out a stronger person who realized that her ex did NOT in any way, shape, or form define who she is.
To dwell on heartbreak is to live in the past, and we can’t live in the past as we walk towards the future. I think the reason I really enjoyed this book is because in the past year, I’ve experienced a lot of the same things—minus a reality show. Take a bad relationship, a job that no longer served me, and a town that was quickly becoming too small for comfort, and I was ready for a HUGE change. Andi ended up moving to New York, and I— after seriously questioning if I was just running away from all the things that haunted me back home—took a huge leap of faith and moved to Colorado. One of the last “lessons learned” in Andi’s novel is:
“Lesson learned: Bad relationships go out of style, but happiness never does.”
And if it’s okay by Andi, (and I think it would be), I’d like to add onto that. So here’s my lesson learned:
“Lesson learned: Bad relationships go out of style, but happiness never does. And 9 times out of 10, we come out of heartbreak stronger than ever—and if you ask me, that makes us as good as new.”
So, is It’s Not Okay worth the read? If you’re a Bachelor/Bachelorette fan or a woman scorned, then hell yes! Andi’s unapologetic in doing everything you’re not supposed to do in a break-up, and she came out even more of a bad-ass bitch than she was before the show. It’s an easy read and entertaining as all hell. Go for it.