Reviewing Tim Kreider’s “We Learn Nothing”

We Learn Nothing paperback cover, published by Simon & Schuster (2013)

Tim Kreider is a cartoonist and essayist who was a regular contributor to the New York Times. I’ve previously referenced his article “I Am a Meme Now”, which I absolutely adored. It was that essay that prompted me to buy this collection. It features a number of his excellent sketches, too.

Overall, some essays were incredibly powerful, and I’ll 100% read them again and again. Whilst others were middling, and a few even left a rather bad taste in my mouth. Yet I must have enjoyed this book a great deal to write a review this long!

To review the book, I thought I’d highlight six (out of 15) essays that perfectly encapsulate my thoughts about the book as a whole.



I recommend “Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory” by Raphael Bob-Waksberg

Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory: Stories hardback cover, published by Knopf, 2019

Between the tweets about Brexit and Trump, the Twitter algorithm likes to show me snippets of people’s love lives. From self-deprecating jokes inspired by heartbreak and sassy memes about your cheating ex to inspiring quotes with handclap emojis about not faking orgasms and #RelationshipGoals. Even those not looking for love seem compelled to tell everyone just how happy they are in their independent singleness. I mean, there is a lot more bed to go around when you don’t have to share the sheets, am I right? Love: it’s either the inescapable ruler of our daily lives or it’s waiting on the sidelines for its chance to assert dominion over us. But what’s so great about love?


I’m Over You, I Truly Am

I’m over you, I truly am.
But I’ll never forget the reputation you gave me.
An anomaly with an ugly aura, oh how you all sneered.
The apathy, you neither knew nor cared how it pained me,
Humiliation day after day, oh how you all cheered.
I forgive you, I do, and I’m glad you forgave me,
But you still sowed the seeds of terror, oh how I fear
That from loneliness, nobody will ever wish to save me.
I weep with every chunk torn from my heart, oh how I tear.

I’m over you, I truly am.
But I’ll never understand how you suddenly changed.
From brightly lit paths to dark chasms, oh how you turned.
No more laughter, only silence is what we then exchanged.
Warm smiles to cold shoulders, oh how you spurned.
Our secrets became mysteries as we became estranged.
Years of regret and pain, oh how I yearn
To show you a side of me not so deranged.
But I remain atop your pyre of anger, oh how I burn.

I’m over you, I truly am.
But I’ll always remember how you looked right through me.
Silly me thought you understood me, oh how you deceived.
But the uniqueness in your confidence and character drew me.
With the key to my chest, you stole affection, oh how you thieved.
Only then did I discover the red flags that threw me:
Unpacked baggage, phobic of commitment, oh how I grieve
The heart you halved, and you never even knew me.
But I won’t let myself lose faith, oh no I still believe.

Oh how I fear,
Oh how I yearn,
Oh how I grieve.

And I may tear,
And I may burn,
But I still believe.

I’m over you,
I truly am.

Published in Love & Heartbreak: A Writing Society Anthology by the University of Essex Writing Society, 2019.


Lie To You

No poisons are whispered or veiled,
You are not wrong to bestow trust,
But considering what my true feelings entail,
Lie to you I feel I must.

I’ll never dry your eyes with a lie,
I’ll never blanket you with deceit,
I’ll never repay honesty with falsehoods.
I’ll answer any question you ask,
Hand on heart,
Fingers uncrossed.
Just please don’t ask.

I’d never say the word “love” without meaning it,
But I assure you, this isn’t shallow lust.
All I know is there’s no way you’re feeling this,
So lie to you I feel I must.

There’s no game plan here,
There’s no ulterior motive,
No premeditated tricks to lull you,
Make you think I’m something I’m not.
I’m not an octopus,
Constantly shifting,
Hoping to slip into your heart through a tiny crevice.

It would be wrong to play your heart like a game,
I know that, but lie to you I feel I must
Because I just know you’d never feel the same.
It’s not about holding out hope for an us.

You’re happy walking down your path,
I’ll settle for the grass beside it.
I do not intend to make you question
My words,
My steps,
My intentions.
You’d prefer the lie if you knew the truth.

The truth is,
I would choose eternal silence,
Despite each and every aching heartbeat,
If it meant I could make you smile just once.

Published in L’amour: A Writing Society Anthology by the University of Essex Writing Society, 2017.