Yes, that title was meant to be read out loud in your best host voice! ABC’s The Bachelor has been running for so many years and in the last few months, it has really surfaced again in popularity as we all need some new entertainment during self-isolation. While this post may seem timely, I started watching the show a few years ago and have become obsessed with it. I know that there is a very rare chance that the show could actually help people find love but there has been enough success stories (though they do not outnumber the many failures) that I am hooked each season. Of course, I have to admit that the drama between contestants is definitely a part of what makes the show so compelling.
The show is largely seen as a guilty pleasure or unsophisticated viewing but if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure. I also really enjoyed Roxane Gay’s essay in Bad Feminist (when I read the book years ago!) on the franchise where she discusses that you can love something and still critique it. That said, I thought it would be fun to discuss some books about the franchise because one of my favourite things is combining my TV hobbies with my reading hobbies.
A book that I really enjoyed about the show is Amy Kaufman’s Bachelor Nation. As an entertainment journalist, Kaufman has access to the show and its stars and she knows how to get the insider scoop. She interviews various people deeply involved in the franchise as well as covering the show’s long history. This book not only served as a good reference point about the series, but it also really explored some of the problematic issues in the franchise. I also liked that Kaufman goes beyond the franchise itself and thinks about what it means that such a show is a large part of American culture and what that says about America’s idealism about (straight white) romance.
There is also no shortage of celebrity memoir when it comes to The Bachelor franchise. One of them includes Amanda Stanton’s Now Accepting Roses. A fan favourite, Amanda Stanton talks about her experience being a single mom on the show as well as providing a helpful self-help guide.
Similarly, Andi Dorfman, the lead of the 10th season of The Bachelorette, has two of her own books. The first book, It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Ever After is all about her experiences on the show and how to move on from a heartbreak, whether it is as public as hers was or not. The second book is a follow up, Single State of Mind, where Dorfman discusses the next chapter in her life, including a move to New York and what it’s like to see her ex-fiancée propose to someone else on national TV.
If you’re looking for another unique perspective, you will appreciate Courtney Robertson’s I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain. In this book, Robertson describes her experience of being portrayed as the villain of season 16 of The Bachelor, and how she got engaged to the lead despite that. While Robertson is not as much of a recognizable name in the franchise now, her experience definitely provides a unique perspective on reality TV in general.
While The Bachelor may not seem like a series that has strong ties to books, there’s definitely more than enough books for any fellow bookworms who also like their fair share of reality TV!