Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Novelist Kultgen (Strange Animals) and TV writer Pace, hosts of the Bachelor-themed podcast Game of Roses, take fandom to a new level with this entertaining how-to for snatching the final rose on the popular reality series. The authors--who watched every episode from the show's 25 seasons (on double-speed) in a mere 74 days--believe "The Bachelor is a professional sport." They treat it as such with unabashed zeal, diving into the show's history as they determine the "best players of all time" and glean insight from "past plays" in order to help potential contestants win the game. They identify the objectives (with roses here being "the lifeblood"), and even offer statistics on players' skill levels at securing roses. In addition to sharing effective tools for advancing in the game (such as playing The Good Girl archetype to one's advantage), Kultgen and Pace pose provocative theories, including why the "First Flower" of any rose ceremony may be more telling than the "First Impression Rose." Though contestants' social media clout and deceptive strategies get heavy attention, they also shed light on the franchise's less-than-flattering history, including former host Chris Harrison's "racism-related scandal that erupted in Season 25." Bachelor fans would do well to grab a highlighter. Agent: Alex Glass, Glass Literary. (Jan.)
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
An attempt to treat The Bachelor as a spectator sport, with all the associated praise of gameplay and creation of jargon. Never mind that the show is, ostensibly, about finding love, not generating competition--or that sports are generally a celebration of personal and team excellence. The biggest problem with this guide is how it champions manipulation and image-polishing in the pursuit of Instagram followers and screen time. Kultgen and Pace pack the book with suggestions gleaned from their rewatching of every episode of The Bachelor's 25 seasons, a feat they accomplished in 74 days. "After he gives his toast, join in graciously with a nod and pursed lips," they advise in dealing with a "fantasy suite" date. "Do not give him a smile. Do not give him any information about the tone or mood of what the rest of the night holds. After some brief generalities about the beauty of the location just sit there, silent. This forces the Bachelor to initiate the conversation." What are more useful are the authors' revelations of how reality show producers seek to create situations and storylines to serve the series, from "forced nudity" and humiliation to day trips and, of course, excessive alcohol consumption. They also rightly take the show to task for its lack of diversity over the years as well as using racism to generate controversy. However, even with those issues and the replacement of longtime host Chris Harrison for his controversial comments about race, the authors feel the need to stand behind their "sport." "Instead of completely disengaging from the sport we love," they write, "we continue watching knowing that we are complicit, but we are also aware….We believe the show must become more progressive or be discarded as an antiquated relic of a past generation." Die-hard fans will love this exhaustive look at their beloved show, but most will question the value of the sport. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.