Book Review: ‘Red’ by Neal Samudre

Book Review- 'Red' by Neal Samudre
From ‘Red: Discovering a Love that Lasts in a Culture that Doesn’t Believe it Can’

This is a rather quick read, quite aptly subtitled “Discovering a love that lasts in a culture that doesn’t believe it can”.

The book was a reaction to this post, where Samudre lists 5 reasons why he got engaged at the ripe young age of before 23. TM sent it to me while I was going on my “should-I-even-be-thinking-about-getting-married-this-young?-everyone-else-says-it’s-a-bad-idea” bender. While it wasn’t the definitive post that settled my heart on the subject, it did resonate with me enough to where I went to Amazon to buy his book.

The book is a sweet love story interwoven with insightful societal commentary about the prevailing cultural narratives surrounding love and marriage. Samudre invites us to follow him in his pursuit of his then-girlfriend-now-wife, Carly, telling us his fears about love and how his thoughts and opinions changed along the way.


Samudre tackles the dominant cultural narrative that love won’t last, reframing it in the viewpoint that love won’t last for those who believe it’s only purpose is to make you happy. He argues that love isn’t simply meant to make you happy, but it’s supposed to make you better. Through love, you are forced to change and become a better person. For those who cannot change, and for those who quit because it no longer serves them, love does not last.

Samudre also mentions the pressure that one feels to find love before a certain point in time. He deftly navigates that treacherous cognitive dissonance, where we believe both that 1) love is painful and should be avoided or put off for as long as possible, and 2) that love is a necessity and if you haven’t found it by a certain point then you have failed. He cautions us against this, stating that any time you feel forced into something, and you do it without the full engagement of your heart, it’s bound to fail, because you didn’t choose it for yourself.

Overall, his message seems to be that there is no right time for love: it comes when you least expect it, and you cannot force it to happen. Neither should anyone else force it upon you. And when love does happen, you have to understand it’s driving force in order to make it last: you can’t be selfish, and you cannot only look for what you get out of love. You have to be selfless, willing to give, and you must be open to growth, challenge, sacrifice, and change. Those are the ingredients for a love that truly lasts, no matter when in life you find it.

Top 10 Quotes

Fear, I’ve learned, should not be a guiding principle for life. We shouldn’t give it the power to govern our decisions and our action, because if we do that, we’ll never live the life we want to live.

…my fears kept me safe from hurt, but so far away from where I wanted to be.

We should be positioning ourselves to be in relationships of impact, but that only happens once we commit. Happiness requires wandering, while change requires our perseverance.

Society has skewed the conversation to lean on the side of happiness as the purpose for relationships.

The more I committed, the more I changed; and the more I changed, the more our relationship flourished.

There’s a difference between committing with full knowledge that there’s a way out and committing with knowledge that there is no turning back.

I thought that if I waited until I had enough money and was a certain age, then I would ensure that my marriage wouldn’t fail.

It’s a mystery why I trusted culture more than my own ability at being the difference.

What I’m willing to do to make marriage work should speak more to the possibility of my marriage lasting than general trends in culture should.

The world needs to believe in love again.


Pick up your copy of Red: Discovering a Love that Lasts in a Culture that Doesn’t Believe it Can here on Amazon.

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