Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:
Synopsis for Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own (from Goodreads): “Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman’s existence.” So begins Spinster, a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why she—along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing—remains unmarried. This unprecedented demographic shift, Bolick explains, is the logical outcome of hundreds of years of change that has neither been fully understood, nor appreciated. Spinster introduces a cast of pioneering women from the last century whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama have emboldened Bolick to fashion her life on her own terms: columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. By animating their unconventional ideas and choices, Bolick shows us that contemporary debates about settling down, and having it all, are timeless—the crucible upon which all thoughtful women have tried for centuries to forge a good life. Intellectually substantial and deeply personal, Spinster is both an unreservedly inquisitive memoir and a broader cultural exploration that asks us to acknowledge the opportunities within ourselves to live authentically. Bolick offers us a way back into our own lives—a chance to see those splendid years when we were young and unencumbered, or middle-aged and finally left to our own devices, for what they really are: unbounded and our own to savor.
Author: Kate Bolick
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Feminism, Sociology
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I don’t know how I found this book. Normally, I find out about my nonfiction reads from The Daily Show or because the author is a celebrity I like. I think I found Spinster after reading So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed via Goodreads but who knows! Anyways, I wanted to read it because I wanted to explore the topic of marriage expectations for women in today’s culture.
It’s going to get a bit personal and so I apologize. But I wanted to have this discussion because it helps explain what I wanted from this book and why I picked it up.
I’m 23 and I always thought that I would be in a serious relationship, if not possibly married by this age. But I am still single and have no romantic prospects in sight. Prior to starting university, I had a plan to find my husband, go to graduate school and then have kids before I was 30. But the more I thought about my post-post-secondary, I realized I didn’t want to spend another 4 years in school (a total of 8 years of post-secondary education) and then have kids before taking off time to have children. And so, I made the decision to pursue a different post-graduate degree and just let my romantic relationships go with the flow. I want to be clear that I have never felt pressured to be married and have kids. It’s just something that I want to have in my life when the time is right. As of right now, I know I’m not ready for kids and I’m OK with that. Out of my close group of friends, only one is engaged to be married but isn’t getting married for a while; only a few are in serious relationships and the rest are single like me. So I don’t feel like I am behind or missing something from my life. Why do young people, especially young girls, feel like they can’t remain single. It drives me crazy when I watch Say Yes to the Dress and I hear the girls say “This is the most important day of my life”. Is it really? I don’t deny that marriage isn’t an important event in someone’s life. But what about the day you graduated from university? What about the day you started your first job; or accomplished a big goal? Why is marriage SO IMPORTANT? And why is is especially for females?
That was what I was hoping this book was going to explore.
Why I DNF’d:
This book was not what I was expecting! I thought it was going to be an insightful look into the way society has viewed single women throughout the decades. Why I thought that when I reread the synopsis now is beyond me–because what the synopsis says is what you get! This book is really just a memoir of Kate Bolick and her explaining how these 4-5 women made her into the woman she is totally. Which is great and all, but I honestly don’t care! It doesn’t interest me! I’m not one to read memoirs–even if it is someone who I admire or am interested in. I also had a hard time with the writing. It was way too academic for me, making it read more like a college essay than a story. I also had a hard time with the flow. Reading the first entry lost me in terms of why this little blurb was relevant to this little blurb. I found myself getting bored and when I wasn’t bored, I was frustrated and so, I decided to DNF this book.
My Rating: N/A
This book just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I wanted a book that explored cultural expectations of single women and instead, I got a memoir about a girl who became a woman. Perhaps if I had stuck it out, I would have read the parts that I wanted but my perusal of the pages ahead didn’t look very promising
Read if You Like: memoirs Avoid if You: want an investigative look into popular cultural