Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wood Nymph Seeks Centaur by Francesca Lia Block

Wood Nymph Seeks Centaur by Francesca Lia Block

Rating: PG-13; 4 stars

Summary: Wood Nymph Seeks Centaur isn't your average book, even for Francesca Lia Block (one of my favorite authors, and someone whose books are never average). It isn't a novel. Rather, it is a dating guide. A dating guide for mythical creatures. The book starts out classifying the reader into one of the mythical creatures. It then has general advice on it, followed by famous people who are also that type, and how each type relates to the other types (both gay and straight).

Opinions: This book is so much more than a dating guide. First of all, the descriptions of different creatures are scarily accurate (I'm an urban elf, by the way). My friends and I (for the most part) figured out who we are quite easily and were surprised by how spot on it was. It could easily be just a book about how to determine one's mythical personality. The descriptions are light and humorous. You can tell that Block had fun with this book.

One of the fun parts about the book is trying to figure out what personality types friends and/or potential lovers are. For this, Block gives us a couple of resources other than just the descriptions of the types. She has a list of celebrities who have each of the types, as well as a list of likely types based on astrological sign (which was entirely inaccurate for me, but fun anyway). Also, almost as a bonus, there was also a list of classic literature and what types the main characters were, which is definitely good for a laugh.

Also worth noting is the fact that the book covers both gay and straight couples. Although in the main descriptions of each type, Block generally uses examples of straight couples, the back of the book (which has a short description of every type with every other type) has separate lists for male and female, male and male, and female and female couples. I don't read a lot of dating or compatibility books, so I can't say whether or not this is the norm, but it is certainly useful for a diverse audience. Also useful is the fact that while the types are classified as male or female, Block specifically states that those aren't set in stone. Males can be female types, and vice versa.

Overall, this book is fun and unique. It definitely contains Block's standard writing personality, even if the type of book is different from her usual style. It's great fun for a group. I got it in college and immediately shared it with my entire lunch table. It was fun for all of us to figure out what type we were and laugh over how accurate it was or where it was way off. This book is fun to have around in any case, but I really recommend it for parties. This book does contain references to sex (the satyr type is even referred to as “Mr. Sex”), which aren't too graphic, but certainly not meant for children. I would say in general that this book is for the high school crowd and up. It's definitely a fun book, and I've no real complaints about it.