Book review: What To Do When Jane Knows DICK About Dating

(Cover courtesy of Laura Wellington)

Katie Leibel
Staff Writer

“What To Do When Jane Knows DICK About Dating,” is not your traditional dating guidebook. It holds silly stories, interesting analogies and strong recommendations for women when it comes to dating men.

In the book, the author, Laura J. Wellington, typically talks from a first-person perspective. She refers to women as “Jane” and men as “Dick,” from the popular “Dick and Jane” books that taught many kids how to read.

Wellington’s hope with this analogy is to teach people the ABC’s of dating as “Dick and Jane” did the alphabet when she was younger. Wellington uses this book and her analogies to tell many interesting anecdotes.

As a mother of five, divorced once and widowed once, Wellington has a lot of experience detailing the adventures of meeting a new partner. She describes the dos and don’ts of dating from personal experiences.

Each of the 44 chapters explains something different about dating, and what can help or hurt a relationship. The book has a quirky motherly tone to it, as if your “mom friend,” “mom-away-from-home,” or your own mother were telling their own silly stories to give the reader dating advice.

This motherly overtone both hurts and helps the book convey its lessons. It helped the book to inform those who refer to it for advice because the reader receives input from someone with dating experience, and in-turn the reader takes the book more seriously.

The tone hurt the book because, although Wellington qualifies many of her statements, she tended to push more traditional and domestic gender roles in her book that not all women abide by. Wellington addresses this multiple times and helps her readers to understand that not everything in her book is set in stone or 100 percent correct. She encourages women to check in with themselves and listen to their “Sally” as well as her advice before making any decisions.

Sally refers to one’s conscience and the voice in their head. Wellington encourages women to listen to Sally, and not ignore her advice, as doing so can hurt oneself in the long-run. She adds that her book is there to provide guidance, but if your Sally tells you otherwise, to listen to her, and know that she is telling you what you truly want.

Although the book is not a set in stone guide to dating, it provides wonderful insight to many young people who have recently joined the dating scene, and some helpful reminders/ new lessons to those who have been in the dating scene for a while.

The book details the importance of self-respect and expecting others to respect you as much as, if not more, than you do. Wellington reminds readers that if one respects themselves, others should follow suit.

Lastly, Wellington wraps up the book in the same way she starts it: she informs the readers that if the person you care about wants you, they will let you know. She adds that this is her advice, and the reader can take it or leave it

Overall, her book is informative, though it does bring up some traditionalist tones. I believe that despite these traditionalist tones, it can be helpful to some women looking for their “soul mate.” For those interested, “What To Do When Jane Knows DICK About Dating,” is available at many major online and in-store retailers.

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