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Book Review: The One Date Rule

The One Date Rule. TaKaylla L. Gordon. Hyde and Seek Press, July 15, 2018 Trade Paperback and E-book, 251 pages.

Reviewed by Kelly Fumiko Weiss.

The One Date Rule follows the relationship of Draylen, a near-forty-something freelance proofreader who goes back to school, and Quinn, her forty-something Creative Writing professor. They are equally gripped by each other as soon as they meet, igniting the central conflict of the book—should they pursue each other or not? The narrative seamlessly flows between Draylen and Quinn’s point of view, following along as they fall into a rapid cycle of dating and breaking up repeatedly, each trying to conquer the baggage they bring to the relationship. 

The strength of this book comes from the tropes it does not employ. This is a book about two strong women in a relationship, but neither is mean nor trite. This is a book about a lesbian relationship, but the classic “coming out” story is not used, nor is there any hint of angst from either character about her sexual identity. This is a book about minority women on the South Side of Chicago, but issues of race are not the crux of the drama. Treating these women as women first (and not debating the merits of who they are—which is a debate we should no longer be having in 2019) felt refreshing and allowed the reader to focus on what really matters—how these women are feeling, and how their passions, both past and present, translate into their relationships today. 

Gordon does a great job creating an incredibly sexy narrative, with the passionate scenes between Draylen and Quinn serving to fulfill the best arousing intents of a romance novel and the emotional needs of the characters. None of the sex scenes are for the sake of sex alone; each scene plays into the emotional state of the characters and has its own flavor—exploration, need, passion, manipulation, and at the end, love. 

What is lacking in this book is a strong antagonist. Draylen’s ex, Dava, serves in this role, but not enough. Draylen’s desire to be published and her reticence to let other people see her work is relatable but isn’t too much of a struggle. Sure, she works very hard on her writing, but aside from writing being hard work, there are no real roadblocks for her. Quinn has the “one date rule” that the book is titled after, but easily gives that up as soon as she meets Draylen and never really goes back to it. 

But those are small points compared to the overall triumph of the book, which is to showcase a lesson we all must learn—that we are often our own roadblocks to the things we want in life. Once Draylen and Quinn get out of their own ways, they can love each other openly and freely, and by the end, that outcome feels duly earned. You are rooting for them the whole way, as are most of their friends and family, and Gordon does a good job making the reader invest in their story and feel real happiness for them when they finally let their guards down and dive in. 


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