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  • ★★★-3.5

Review: Planning Perfect by Haley Neil (Spoiler-Free)

That doesn’t mean marriage isn’t something I still want. It’s just something I might not get to have.

Staple that to my forehead, why don’t you?

Look, you gave me a book about an anxious, aspec, Jewish girl navigating high school as a control freak yet a wreck. Pretty much an exact recipe for success.

When I resonate with a book too much, I struggle to write about it seriously. Because that would mean exposing my true deep down feelings! Ew! Anyway here’s my comedic deflection instead:

- Studying love like a science ✅

- Asking for help? Who is she ✅

- That sinking realization you’ve been ✨ infantilized ✨ ✅

And perhaps most importantly,

- Why would you ever talk about your feelings when you could just not™ ✅

Okay, okay, just to expand on all that SLIGHTLY: The representation in this book is handled impeccably well. The story is a bit basic, and exactly what it needs to be, but the nuance on discussing anxiety and asexuality truly impressed me. There are some really great passages where Felicity feels infantilized for her anxiety—like people walk on eggshells around her. And hahahahahah did that strike a sensitive chord.

I hate this. I hate everything about this. They're acting like I'm not even here, like I'm something breakable that needs to be controlled.

Growing up as a kid with several anxiety disorders, this physically (and probably irrationally) infuriates me. It's a humiliating cycle of having an episode, worrying that you're a burden, recovering, realizing that at times people DO see you as a burden (in this book, someone she loves refers to her as the "Felicity Show" because she's so much to deal with), and then realizing that those same people now think they have to "protect" you from yourself. And then you wish you didn't exist.

Anyway, this book did a great job of distilling down that feeling that I haven't realized is as triggering to me as it is.

Another thing that was fascinating was realizing that this knee-jerk reaction against infantilization from anxiety is likely also triggered in many contexts involving asexuality. A huge fear is that because you don't experience the normal level of sexual attraction, you are now seen as lesser than and more "childlike". So it creates a really fun self-fulfilling cycle of shame! Love that.

Alright that was enough opening up to the world for one day. Time to regress back into my hovel.

I know what Nancy wants, and I know that her idea of a romantic relationship is entirely different from what I can give her. I don't know anything at all.

P.S. @ykwho: Throwback to when I was reading Loveless in your dorm room and we both simply chose not to acknowledge it until months later when you sent me my own tweet. Why are we like this.

3.5 stars


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