Thank you to Penguin Group Dutton for providing me with an advance copy of Amy Kaufman's book, Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT- Amy Kaufman provides an unauthorized look at The Bachelor franchise.
LIKE- I was a reluctant fan of The Bachelor, including all of its many spin-offs. I became a fan of the show, when I was a caretaker for my aunt, who was obsessed. Now, years after my aunt has passed away, it remains one of my favorite "guilty pleasure" shows.
At one point Kaufman was officially invited by ABC to be part of the press for Bachelor events, but they found that she was being too negative on social media and she was blacklisted. To write Bachelor Nation, she combined her insider knowledge, research (there are so many interviews/articles/books) and she interviewed both previous contestants, and those who worked on the production. Not everyone would speak with her, but her book still feels comprehensive. My main take-away regarding Kaufman's interest in the subject, is that she's simply a huge fan of the show, warts and all.
It's pretty trashy. I don't think it will come as any surprise that The Bachelor is heavily produced and a large portion of Kaufman's insider look involves exposing the tricks that the producers use to create characters out of contestants and manufacture story-lines. It's more fascinating than the actual show. Let's face it, producing is the primary reason that the show is compelling. I've not seen about 3/4 of the seasons, so I didn't know all of the contestants, yet Kaufman explains the scenarios in a way that is easy to follow, without prior knowledge. Even a casual fan, will find Bachelor Nation to be an engaging read.
Kaufman has also alerted me to the Lifetime series, UnReal, a fictional look at the production of a Bachelor-esque show= I know my next binge weekend.
DISLIKE- Truely, I enjoyed Kaufman's behind-the-scenes look, but I didn't like how her writing style leaned towards informal, using a lot of slang to make herself sound relatable. It didn't work for me. For example, she refers to her group of friends and fellow journalist that meet to discuss The Bachelor as "Bach Discush." I cringed each time I read that.
RECOMMEND- If you watch The Bachelor or are interested in the behind-the-scenes of a reality show, Kaufman's Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure, is a must-read.