Aug 14, 2020

‘The Roommate Book’: I now pronounce you roommates

For many, college can be full of firsts: your first job, your first serious relationship, your first emotional breakdown in a parking lot because you can’t find parking

And, of course, your first roommate—

Adventures in roommating can sound fun to some, while others may dread it. Whichever side of the spectrum you fall under, Becky Simpson, author and illustrator of “The Roommate Book: Sharing Lives & Slapping Fives,” says the season of your life in which you take on this adventure, should be one you cherish.

In “The Roommate Book,” Simpson’s positive attitude toward being and having a roommate is quite refreshing and matched with her sense of humor; it makes for a fun read while also offering some substantial advice and ideas on how to live with someone who isn’t a parent or significant other.

The book is split into four sections. The first is a rundown of the different types of roommates one could encounter. Simpson takes a very relatable route when identifying roommate types and categorizes them as if they are the cafeteria tables in the 2004 film “Mean Girls.”

My favorite part of this section — following the cafeteria tables, of course — is the tips Simpson gives under the title, “Marriage Advice Fit for Roommates.”

She gives actual marriage advice, explaining that signing a lease is essentially like signing a one-year marriage license, which I, had never thought about. Being and having a roommate is something you have to work at and dedicate time to.

The second and third sections revolve around getting to know and having fun with your roommate. There are pie charts and flowcharts on how to reach roommate utopia, as well as personality tests that tell you things like what kind of houseplant you are (San Pedro Cactus, personally).

Tips for hosting parties, advice on starting traditions and crafting ideas, all on a budget, are also explored.

While I appreciate the ideas for party themes and the step-by-step directions on how to make a cheese plate, Simpson’s “A Case for Blanket Forts,” probably takes the cake for the best anecdote.

The final section begins with what you need to know when it comes to sharing things with your roommate.

While this section could have worked at the beginning of the book, Simpson makes it clear why she put it at the end. She goes from talking about sharing, to a roommate getting too comfortable and finally to confrontation. She quickly moves on as she begins to talk about your time with a roommate coming to an end.

Simpson’s final anecdote is one in which she recalls kindergarten nap time. As kindergarteners, we hated nap time and often took it for granted because we wanted to feel grown up. We didn’t cherish it. Then as we get older we long for a part of our day set aside, at school or at work, for nap time.

She wraps her thoughts up nicely by saying roommates and the season in which you have roommates must be cherished:

“Because like kindergarten nap time, when it’s over, it’s over.”  

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