Trending: Want to dump her? Turn to p56


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The Independent Culture

Choose Your Own Adventure, the children's gamebooks that allow the reader to determine the main character's actions and the plot's outcome, provide the unlikely model for a book about a disastrous relationship.

Titled Love Is Not Constantly Wondering If You Are Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life, it tells the story of "your" tempestuous four years spent with Anne, an alcoholic cellist. The book cleverly adopts the structure and second-person voice of Choose Your Own Adventure novels, which were hugely popular in the 1980s and shifted over 250 million copies.

Although it's clear that "you" should finish your relationship with Anne, the narrative format means that the choices you make will have no significant impact on anything that happens, and the ridiculous options the book gives you (such as duelling with an Ant Warrior, or attacking the Evil Power Master) merely highlight the botched perspective of the co-dependent. Written by a 33-year-old from Portland, Oregon, called Zach, he wants to remain anonymous so that the real-life Anne can't be traced.

He says he wrote it in the style of a Choose Your Own Adventure book because it reflected his own helplessness in the situation, not to mention the fact that he doesn't consider himself a very strong writer. The book also served the purpose of telling friends and family why he doesn't really enjoy drinking, and explained to them why he stayed in the relationship for so long, despite many of them telling him to end things.