There Is No Ethan

There Is No Ethan by Anna Akbari

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for There Is No Ethan:

This is a “read in one sitting” book.

Quick synopsis:

The bonkers story of a catfish and the women who brought them down.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

There was a guy on OkCupid called the “Swiss Cheese Pervert” and he’s exactly what you think he is.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

In 2023 alone, 381 million people used dating apps worldwide.

My Take on There Is No Ethan:

I will never again make fun of my friends who worry they are being catfished after reading There is No Ethan by Anna Akbari. I think this review will work best as a Q&A with questions I think you may have as a reader:

1. Is it very good?
2. Will I like it if I have never internet dated?
First of all, I’m bitter and jealous that you didn’t have to get on dating apps while the rest of us were fighting for our lives out there. But I owe you an answer and yes, I think you will. While the method of this dating may not be universal, getting sucked in and abused by a toxic person is definitely universal.
3. Yeah, but only foolish or lonely people would fall for a catfish, right?
The author, Anna Akbari, is a PhD sociologist. She didn’t come from money and had to work hard to even get through school. She had previous healthy relationships and an active social life including doing things I didn’t know you could do like house swapping, but I digress. The other women in the story are equally accomplished and socially adept so chill out, dude. Your tone is all wrong. It can happen to anyone.
4. Ok, so “Ethan” was a master manipulator?
5. Do we find out who “Ethan” is?
6. Wait, can I just google and look at the actual “Ethan” once I know the real name?
Yup, and you are damn right I did it before I finished the book.
7. Will I be enraged on multiple levels?
8. Wow, is “Ethan”‘s life going to suck after this book comes out?
9. But isn’t this just reading someone else’s text messages? Seems weird, doesn’t it?
You’re being judgy again. Who doesn’t like hearing a friend talk about their latest dating drama (good or bad)? Also, Akbari spends the first part of the book digging into her messages with “Ethan” and it isn’t just dropping into a conversation. You are learning about their dynamic and also peering into how the manipulation works. Akbari deserves an award purely for being so vulnerable to the reader, but she also keeps it interesting by explaining what was happening to her. The second half of the book becomes a detective story with the two other women as they unravel “Ethan”.
10. Anything else I should know?
I’m so glad I’m no longer on the dating apps.
11. I am using dating apps now. Should I wait to read this book?
Knowledge is power, my friend. But you should probably keep some alcohol nearby.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing.)


You must read this book. Buy it here!

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