Rebecca Schuman was just your average 90's teenager with a passion for punk rock and Ethan Hawke circa Reality Bites until two men walk into her high school Political Science class: Dylan Krieger, with deep blue eyes, and an even deeper soul, and Franz Kafka, hitching a ride in Dylan's backpack. These two men are the axe to the frozen pond that is Rebecca's soul, and what flows forth is a passion for all things German. Blue eyed Dylan might leave the second a more popular girl looks his way, but Kafka is forever, and in pursuit of this elusive love Rebecca will spend two decades stuttering and stumbling through broken German sentences trying to win over a people who couldn't, on the surface, care less. She smokes endless hand rolled cigarettes in fleabag hostels, squats in an abandoned East German factory loft with angry roommates, and plunges down the rabbit hole of acedmia in pursuit of a PhD in German until she realises that maybe the greatest challenge of her life is not to become German, but learning to embrace all the reasons
Rebecca Schuman is a frequent contributor to Slate, where she writes about higher education, Germany, popular culture and parenting. She holds a PhD in German from the University of California, Irvine. Schadenfreude, A Love Story is her first book.