My mother, a fan of all things woo-woo, got me in for a chart reading with an eccentric septuagenarian astrologer named Fritz on my 18th birthday.
Fritz opened a window into my troubled teenage psyche throughout the 90-minute session:
everything about me, from my nerdy passion with manga cartoons to my eccentric dress sense, seemed to be written in the stars.
When I first encountered Linda Goodman's Love Signs a few years later, I learnt that astrology might also help me navigate my romantic life.
The book, dubbed "the first astrological blockbuster," was essentially a self-help handbook for lovelorn astrology nerds.
Goodman delves into the romantic compatibility of each of the 12 sun signs. You don't have to read all the way through the nearly 1,000-page book to figure out that Linda lived on her own bizarre planet.
In the prologue, she recounts that she composed Love Signs over the course of a decade while trapped in a haunted suite at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel,
finally finishing the novel in 1978, a setting reminiscent of Miss Havisham. (It's worth mentioning that, four decades later, the book's conventional heteronormative framework has not stood the test of time.)
Still, it's difficult not to be taken in by Love Signs. Goodman, like your favorite auntie, draws you in with her charmingly gossipy tone, casually imparting romantic advise in the shape of cosmic cautionary tales.
It can be so intense that the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Other times, you're left wondering, "What the hell was this woman smoking?"