The First Time

The Bachelor franchise is the guilty pleasure I don’t feel guilty about—it’s a phenomenon around the country and some fascinating entertainment. And so, when I found out that Colton Underwood, the famous “virgin Bachelor” with the epic fence jump was writing a book, I was super excited to read it, and anxious to get a jump on it as soon as my e-ARC came in–thanks Edelweiss.

The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV is on-sale everywhere March 31, 2020.

Unfortunately, Colton’s book was scheduled for release right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and he himself tested positive for the virus! There goes his press tour–but I hope this book doesn’t get swept under the rug completely, because it has some real merit as a Bachelor memoir. Colton was on all three shows–Bachelorette (Becca Kufrin), Bachelor in Paradise, and the Bachelor. He’s also still with his girl, the girl he jumped the fence for, so I think that goes a long way. I’ll admit I was not on the Colton train at first–he just wasn’t compelling to me–and I don’t follow him and Cassie because they come off as very pre-planned to me, but I became a much bigger fan of them both throughout this book. They felt like real people, people who made mistakes and had personalities and all that jazz.

One of the things I didn’t like about Colton was the sports emphasis–so color me shocked when I didn’t hate those chapters of Colton’s book. He was honest–he was on the practice squad, facing injuries, trying to better himself. The chapters weren’t bad, and it was interesting to learn just how fickle the NFL is. ¬†Another thing that I knew about Colton pre-Bachelor was that he had dated Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman--and I was super confused about how that happened–but this book clears it up (He played football with Shawn Johnson’s husband and that was the set up) and that also helped me feel better about Colton as a person and not necessarily a fame whore. I do still think he is looking for fame, but not necessarily in the worst ways. I don’t think he’s trying to get rich quick or anything, he’s just someone who likes attention but isn’t necessarily doing the worst thing in the world with what he gets–though his foundation still confuses me a bit.

What I loved most about this book was the behind the scenes stuff on the Bachelor franchise–packing lists, the slow filming process, how they get groceries in the mansion, who he liked and who he didn’t on each show, the real deal with the Tia situation, how he fought with producers to get more time with Cassie, et cetera. I enjoy the show, a lot, but I also have a healthy skepticism about it all, and this book helped me get that behind the scenes honest I was craving–I think it’s pretty clear that Colton is thankful for his time with the show in that it gave him Cassie, but he’s been honest about how he felt pressured by the producers.

Overall, I liked this book a lot more than I thought. It wasn’t a literary classic, sure, but it felt honest and there was humor and insight and I appreciated it. I read it pretty quickly, which we all know is a sign I liked a book, but I can’t wait to hear what other Bachelor fans thought of the book.

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