138 Dates - Rebekah Campbell - Keeping Up With The Penguins
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Rebekah Campbell always dreamed of a fairytale romance. She let her first love, Steve, drift away so that she could get swept off her feet by someone better… then he died, tragically and unexpectedly, and Campbell found that no one could quite measure up to her memories of him.

She clawed her way to the top of the entrepreneurial world with her social-network-cum-restaurant-review app, but over a decade later she found herself still single, still thinking about Steve.

So, she committed herself to dating, applying all the business strategies she used at work to finding love. It sounds like your standard 2010s rom-com, but it’s the real-life story of a Kiwi CEO (sent to me for review by my dear friends at Allen and Unwin).

138 Dates wasn’t a difficult read, I chewed through it in one sitting, but something about the particular strain of girlboss feminism running through it didn’t sit right with me.

At times, it felt like Campbell was cloaking an advertorial about her business in a memoir about “love” (she didn’t mention until the epilogue that she had stepped down as CEO, but she mentioned the app and the restaurants she found using it on every other page). She seemed very concerned with appearances (“What will people think?!”) and yet her self-awareness was barely skin deep.

If you’re looking for a memoir about how to find love, this probably ain’t it, but it’s got business advice and Tinder nightmare stories aplenty.