This post was originally published on January 29, 2016.
Often when I’m faced with life’s toughest questions, I ask myself what would provide me with the best insight into the human experience at that moment. Sometimes I find answers in episodes of Friends. Usually I can find answers in something edible. The problem with those is that the answers are occasionally clouded by Joey’s judgement, and the meaning of life can only be explained by a jar of Nutella for, like, three spoonfuls.
The next thing I turn to, after spoonfuls of various nut spreads, is—surpriiise— literature. J.K. Rowling taught me that the meaning of life is friendship. Harper Lee taught me about the importance of truth and justice. Haruki Murakami made me question my entire existence, reality, and sheep, twice.
That’s why I think we should turn to literature for wisdom about ~love~, too. Below, I’ve cobbled together all the advice I could remember about how to find it from some of my favorite pieces of fiction. Up to you whether to take it or not.
Romeo and Juliet: Crash a party; make sure you bring a wingman and a general sense of despair
The Hunger Games: Pretend to be in love until you’re actually in love; bonus points if your love subverts an oppressive regime
Little Women: YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR LOVE until you move to New York
Anne of Green Gables: Engage in intellectual feuds with smart, handsome boys at school; tip your canoe and wait to be rescued by one of them
Harry Potter: Look for potential mates amongst your best friends’ siblings
Pride and Prejudice: Pick out a handsome but broody man, convince yourself that he’s an asshat, realize you were so wrong and then make out in the sunset
Jane Eyre: Wait until you hear your soul mate call your name from beyond the moors
Madame Bovary: Move to Yonville, France, and you will find ALL THE LOVES. Maybe too many loves