cover art by Lauren O’Hagan

Available at Ten Dollar Books & Montclair Book Center.

Back Like I Never Left is a collection of stories about getting back into dating after having a child. They cover a few months of meeting men off the street, maintaining relationships with weedmen, and curving people fast as hell. Still, the book isn’t necessarily heartless. It’s also about reconnecting with an old lover, escaping from men in the dark, and trying to figure out what I really want for my son and me.

Chapters include:

Not Your Babymother
Chilling at the House is Not Dating (but they know that)
Smoking Me Out is Also Not a Date
On Longass Phone Conversations
Is It a First Kiss If You Haven’t Kissed the Person in a While?
Good Dick
Tinder Sucks Part 1 of 2
Tinder Sucks Part 2 of 2
Unsolicited Dick Pics
Being Too Honest
When the Wrong Guy Asks You Out
Love Languages and Horoscopes
He Likes Me I Like Him, Time for Self-Sabotage
Not Exactly Ghosting
Periods and Plan BS
To Date the Weedman or Not
Why I Don’t Talk Shit About My BD
Do I Really Look That Young?
In Retrospect
Men with Kids
Tobacco Killz
A New Thing Guys are Trying Apparently
Chilling with ½ a Couple
Just Forfeit
Being Someone Else’s Compliment
Regretting Going Out vs Regretting Staying In
How to Turn ½ a Blunt Into Like 8 or 9 Blunts
Rather Go 2 Your Place
Hmm Could I Ever Date a Cop
So There’s This Guy
A Lot of Energy
Sidedick to the Sidedick
Pretty Obvious Not to Follow Women in the Dark
Men in Cars
Men Without Cars
Clearing the Roster

About the writer:

Rachel is a writer from New Jersey. She grew up in Cranford and currently lives in Newark with her son. She’s also an instructor at Seton Hall University.

About the artist:

Lauren O’Hagan was born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey. After four years of living in the DMV (Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia) area after high school, Lauren decided to finish her degree in Graphic Design in Arizona. She currently lives in Phoenix with her dog Luna.


5.0 out of 5 stars 
Great, funny character; great situations; excellent writing, funny, true.
I thought this was a very funny, very engaging, very smart book of something between stories and advice for a young, single mom. The character is defined by the situations she addresses, and the writing is very good, clipped, easy to read, and entertaining.

Robin K.
5.0 out of 5 stars 
Intelligent, honest and funny as hell
Rachel writes in a way that is both blunt and refreshing, and she offers a unique experience into the mind of a young, single badass mother who knows herself and understands how to navigate the gender politics of the world around her. I recommend this book to anyone who craves to be engaged with a literary experience that will make them laugh, reflect and relate on some level to the material and the author behind the words. I can’t wait to read more of what Rachel’s brilliant and bold mind puts into the world.

Mark F. Fogarty
5.0 out of 5 stars 
Rachel Wagner is never unclear about anything in this odyssey of dating after having a kid. Hang at the house with me? Nope. Be unclear or timid about what you want? Nope. How to get ghosted or canceled? Yup. Catfishing? Well, I don’t even know what that is but it sounds uncool. It’s a tough world out there, and somebody has to venture out and then explain it to all of us (twice, to me, who reads with his finger). Rachel Wagner is our Odysseus.

“Where do all the lost weedmen go?” – an immortal question really. I for one have no goddam idea.
God. This. Book.

Just around 100 pages but absolutely brilliant, hilarious, raw, real. If you follow Rachel Wagner you know she’s all about keeping it real as fuck. She’s outspoken, sharp, and shares her beautiful, deeply personal poetry. This book is an extension of that–it’s dating stories, yes, but it’s like sitting on the floor passing a blunt back and forth with your much wiser friend, having her tell you all the bullshit she’s been through with men. And this gem: “Women are givers. I feel like we don’t ever choose just one [love language]. How could we? If a person needs things, we give it. If a person needs different things, we give those instead.” It won’t take you too long to read and it will stay with you. It will make you reflect on where you’ve been, what you had, and what you truly want and need from a relationship. It will also make you appreciate yourself more for having learned from your pigheaded mistakes. Get the book. Pour some wine. Have fun.

Hannah Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars 
A really excellent read for those looking for a new perspective
Rachel wagners voice is one like you’ve never read. It carries the cadence of her north jersey upbringing and the special highs and lows of her own inflection. The book is a series of loosely connected vignettes that explore her interior life against the backdrop of urban newark nj, and her circumstances as an underpaid professional and single mom. Its top notch! Think the murakami of north jersey.

Gregory Iannarella
5.0 out of 5 stars 
Funny and full of heart
This is a great read. Rachel has a real voice that makes the situations she’s in funny, heartwarming and sometimes terrifying. Like Sex and the City for New Jersey, Rachel is a writer who is struggling through the NJ dating scene as a single mother. She shares stories that are hilarious and offers some hard truths about love, men, and knowing yourself along the way. I’m looking forward to the follow up to this.

Stephen J. McKenzie
5.0 out of 5 stars 
A funny candid take on single motherhood dating.
If your wanting a “no holds barred” account of what the dating scene is like for single mothers this is the book. Rachel’s candid and clear-eyed view let’s you know in no uncertain terms about what she thinks of guys who try to bullshit her, date her in-house, smoke her out, don’t have a plan, don’t have confidence or are just plain wrong. It’s all a big NOT.
The girl does not play games. Touching, funny and scathingly honest, Rachel’s book is a lot of Don’ts with a few Do’s for dating single mothers.

5.0 out of 5 stars 
More books please
I loved this book! Such a great read from start to finish!! Looking forward to reading more books from her.

Gabe Ribeiro
5.0 out of 5 stars 
Loved it!
Funny stories and harsh truths. Looking forward to more from Rachel!

Chris Mejia
5.0 out of 5 stars 
A definite eye opener
Great insight into the mind of the writer. A definite must read. I made sure to let my friends know about this gem.

Sam Ma
5.0 out of 5 stars 
Wonderful Book!
This book was fun, enjoyable and informative about what its like to date after having a child. The author met men traditionally and the modern day era of dating apps and wrote about her experiences which people can relate to. The book also shows the author’s personality of her taking no drama and garbage from men. Fantastic read and cannot wait for the author’s second work.

Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars 
Raw and entertaining
The book is ripe with individuality and raw experience. Anyone who has dated and knows the weight of disappointment will love this book, as it places a humorous spin on the realities of playing the field.

Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars 
Like happy hour stories with your friends.
Rachel’s voice is authentic and hilarious, and I hope she narrates her own audiobooks in the future, because dang that would be the best. Read this book if you need a friend, a laugh, and confirmation that you should never suffer fools.

Adam Marco
5.0 out of 5 stars 
A uncensored look into this woman’s mind
Ever wonder after meeting a girl what’s she really thinkihg? I’m not sure you want to know. Loved this book.

Misty Taylor
1.0 out of 5 stars 
Do not buy
This is not a book. It’s more like a notepad. There no helpful tips in here. Save yourself the time and money if you are looking for actual advice on how to date as a single mother. There is no story. There is no beginning end or middle or main characters. It’s just a bunch of random thoughts slapped together

5.0 out of 5 stars 
Enjoyed Reading!
This book kept me on the edge, of my seat. It was an interesting read, left me wanting more>

5.0 out of 5 stars 
So smart and funny.

5.0 out of 5 stars 
She aint here for none of it.
I bought the paper back and loved it. Men can be cringey and she aint here for none of it. Funny true life stuff right here. From the gems that reliable weed men are, to deal breakers and ghostable offences! Great book for men or women. Hope there is more to come.

Girrrrlll I took your book with me this morning to work and loved it!!!!! I’m read the whole thing. Thank you this book is awesome.

Tatt G
good book