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* NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2016 SELECTION * BEST BOOKS OF 2016 SELECTION BY THE BOSTON GLOBE * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * NPR * CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY * The New York Times bestselling investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women is “an informative and thought-provoking book for anyone—not just the single ladies—who want to gain a greater underst * NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2016 SELECTION * BEST BOOKS OF 2016 SELECTION BY THE BOSTON GLOBE * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * NPR * CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY * The New York Times bestselling investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women is “an informative and thought-provoking book for anyone—not just the single ladies—who want to gain a greater understanding of this pivotal moment in the history of the United States” (The New York Times Book Review). In 2009, award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister started All the Single Ladies about the twenty-first century phenomenon of the American single woman. It was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent; and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890–1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven. But over the course of her vast research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: The phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change—temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. Today, only twenty percent of Americans are married by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960. “An informative and thought-provoking book for anyone—not just single ladies” (The New York Times Book Review), All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the unmarried American woman. Covering class, race, sexual orientation, and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures, “we’re better off reading Rebecca Traister on women, politics, and America than pretty much anyone else” (The Boston Globe).


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* NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2016 SELECTION * BEST BOOKS OF 2016 SELECTION BY THE BOSTON GLOBE * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * NPR * CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY * The New York Times bestselling investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women is “an informative and thought-provoking book for anyone—not just the single ladies—who want to gain a greater underst * NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2016 SELECTION * BEST BOOKS OF 2016 SELECTION BY THE BOSTON GLOBE * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * NPR * CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY * The New York Times bestselling investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women is “an informative and thought-provoking book for anyone—not just the single ladies—who want to gain a greater understanding of this pivotal moment in the history of the United States” (The New York Times Book Review). In 2009, award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister started All the Single Ladies about the twenty-first century phenomenon of the American single woman. It was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent; and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890–1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven. But over the course of her vast research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: The phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change—temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. Today, only twenty percent of Americans are married by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960. “An informative and thought-provoking book for anyone—not just single ladies” (The New York Times Book Review), All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the unmarried American woman. Covering class, race, sexual orientation, and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures, “we’re better off reading Rebecca Traister on women, politics, and America than pretty much anyone else” (The Boston Globe).

30 review for All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tess

    This is a tough review to write. The book is really great, there is no question. But it’s nothing completely groundbreaking, like I have to admit I wanted it to be when I cracked it open. Perhaps that is because the author, Rebecca Traister, is just describing my life in a way that, I suppose people who aren’t single in their late 20s, cannot relate to. It seems obvious. We are independent. We have close female friends. We have complicated sex lives. Some of us date, some of us don’t. We work ha This is a tough review to write. The book is really great, there is no question. But it’s nothing completely groundbreaking, like I have to admit I wanted it to be when I cracked it open. Perhaps that is because the author, Rebecca Traister, is just describing my life in a way that, I suppose people who aren’t single in their late 20s, cannot relate to. It seems obvious. We are independent. We have close female friends. We have complicated sex lives. Some of us date, some of us don’t. We work hard. We contemplate having children, or not having children. Some of us want to get married, some of us don’t. I dunno, maybe I’m simplifying this too much, but this was my takeaway after reading the conclusion. The book is certainly readable, and she talks to very interesting women, but I would have appreciated more analysis rather than statistics and word-of-mouth testimonials. I did like how she covered all bases though, and has extremely correct feminist views about the subject. It’s tough out there for us educated women who don’t have to marry to survive. But it’s also impossible to generalize the rise of this independent nation. Maybe that is my problem - I much prefer novels about one woman’s story, one life story, that explores specific themes that are universal, instead of a fact-based checklist of how women today live in America. Again, not sure how I feel about this. Perhaps I need to digest it a bit more. I am very happy that the issues surrounding single women are becoming prominent and important to listen to, but I wished for a little bit more than this. It’s a great starting manual, but I am wary about the simplistic answers the book sometimes veers into.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Jeffers

    Before picking this book up, I read a lot of articles about it and interviews with the author. When perusing the comments sections of these articles, the criticisms that I've read of unmarried young women tend to fall into one of three camps: they are selfish leaches (the assumption here being that they're all single mothers on welfare); they're narcissistic and immature; or they’re man-hating feminists out to destroy the fabric of society. These assumptions about single women are so frustrating Before picking this book up, I read a lot of articles about it and interviews with the author. When perusing the comments sections of these articles, the criticisms that I've read of unmarried young women tend to fall into one of three camps: they are selfish leaches (the assumption here being that they're all single mothers on welfare); they're narcissistic and immature; or they’re man-hating feminists out to destroy the fabric of society. These assumptions about single women are so frustrating and often off-the-mark, yet they remain deeply ingrained in many parts of our culture. But it cannot be denied that more women over the age of 18 are choosing to delay marriage or to forgo it entirely than ever before. Traister's goal here is to examine the reasons for this trend, as well as how the trend affects not just women – economically, socially, psychologically – but also men and society as a whole. It's fascinating, well-researched, and broad. It was so wonderfully validating to me, even (and maybe especially) as a 31 year-old woman who only recently got married. I seriously can't remember the last time that I marked up a book so much. It's the book I was looking for last year when I picked up Spinster. This is a topic that I have lots of capital-F Feelings about. I’ve talked about this around here before, but the best advice I’ve ever received in my life was when my mother told me to wait until I was 30 to get married. She told me to live on my own first and make sure I did the things I wanted to do before settling down. I didn’t consciously decide to wait until I was 30, life just kind of worked out that way, but it was absolutely the right thing for me and I am so glad it worked out that way. Until I was 25, I thought I was going to marry the guy I’d been dating since high school. We broke up for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest was that I moved away for grad school and it gradually became obvious that it would not be easy to bring our visions for our lives together in a way that made sense. I was also realizing that I wasn’t experiencing life as fully as I wanted to because I was trying to make that relationship work. I’d never been in another relationship, I was just taking for granted that this one was the right one for me. It didn’t make sense to sacrifice so much for something I was just assuming was right. By the time I did get married, I’d been around the block enough times to realize that could say with a great deal of certainty that, yes, my husband does actually have all the qualities that I want and need in a husband. I also believe that our relationship is significantly healthier because I took some time to focus on myself. I wasn’t always happy when I was single and I wasn’t always secure, but I learned how to embrace the things I liked about myself and make them shine, how to distinguish between balance and sacrifice, and how to function without feeling like I was dependent on someone else. Those are all things that make me a better person and a better wife, but I never would have learned them if I had stayed in that one relationship. So I could probably write a review as long as this book itself sharing my many (many, many, many) thoughts on the topic of marriage in America, but to keep this from spiraling out of control, let me just say that the thing that frustrates me the most about those comment section criticisms is that they almost always throw the burden onto the women’s shoulders. Women are narcissistic or selfish if they don’t want to get married, but you rarely hear the same said of men. They just haven’t found a good woman yet. Single mothers are labelled morally deficient sluts setting bad examples for their children, but that ignores the roles that the absent fathers play in the women’s single status—it’s not always the woman’s decision to be a single mother, for any number of reasons, and, when it is her decision, it might be the better alternative to staying with an abusive or unreliable guy (and if you’re going to argue that they shouldn’t have gotten pregnant by an abusive or unreliable guy in the first place, let’s have a conversation about access to birth control). Finally, and perhaps most frustrating: women are the ones accused of destroying society when they’re not married. Not only does this imply that women are supposed to be the moral shepherds for men, it suggests that marriage is the only way to be moral or the only way to contribute to society. There’s a quote in this book from Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, in which he expressed his concern for women who were putting off marriage and motherhood until their late thirties or forties, saying that they were going to “miss so much of life.” Which made me want to find a time machine just to punch that man in the face. Why is it so hard to wrap the conservative Christian brain around the idea that A) there’s more to life for some women than just marriage and motherhood, B) waiting to pursue those things means that you get the chance to experience the other stuff first, and C) experiencing those other things might actually make you a better partner and a better parent in the end? I'm sorry, Mitt, but if I'd gotten married to that guy I would have ultimately spent the rest of my life in the same small town and never experienced a zillion different things that I got to do instead. I wouldn't have traveled, found a career path outside of random office drone, or met people who are different from the same white, small-town Protestants that populated my high school. I probably wouldn't have learned how to better manage my budget or fix a broken showerhead or take care of myself when I am sick. Personal growth isn't selfish. Learning to take care of yourself on your own isn't selfish. It's healthy and it's important and it's wonderful. And it's all stuff that I learned to do because I was single. I genuinely don't think I'd have gotten there if I was still focusing on that relationship. There’s another side to the conversation here, which Traister does address to some extent: marriage among lower income women is declining, and it’s doing so for different reasons than among middle- or upper-class women. Ironically, it’s low-income women who would perhaps benefit the most, economically speaking, from a marriage that provides two incomes. I do think that this book might have benefited from even more examination of that subject and how the concept of marriage can be adjusted to make it a little more favorable towards women in poverty. Traister also spends some time looking at trends among women of color but in general, I do feel like she puts most of her emphasis on middle-class white women. (She seems to assume that many of single millennials felt primarily inspired by Sex and the City, an assumption that bothers me a bit as I was never a fan of the series. I almost wish she’d looked a little more at the representations of marriage-vs-singledom and feminism in other media outlets, too) This book isn’t necessarily a judgement on the institution of marriage. Traister isn’t arguing in favor of not getting married—she’s actually married, though she did so later in life. She’s filled her book with anecdotes from women from many walks of life who have different approaches to marriage and how it may or may not fit into their lives. This may not provide a lot of new material for women who’ve read up on the many trend pieces and articles written on this topic over the last decade, but this is among the first books to cohesively and comprehensively tie all those trend pieces together in one place. Reading it was a great experience.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    I have so many splendid female friends, and quite a few of them have felt incomplete without a boyfriend. Despite their immense amounts of compassion, intelligence, and ambition, society floods them with the message that they are incomplete without a male romantic partner in their lives. Thus, I loved Rebecca Traister's All the Single Ladies because she drives home the point that many women live without male partners and achieve long-lasting success and happiness. Using a compelling mixture of s I have so many splendid female friends, and quite a few of them have felt incomplete without a boyfriend. Despite their immense amounts of compassion, intelligence, and ambition, society floods them with the message that they are incomplete without a male romantic partner in their lives. Thus, I loved Rebecca Traister's All the Single Ladies because she drives home the point that many women live without male partners and achieve long-lasting success and happiness. Using a compelling mixture of statistics, interviews, and critical analysis, she shows how single women have changed the United States for the better by pioneering social change in the realms of reproductive justice, workplace gender equality, and much more. With a warm and intelligent writing style, she conveys that women are so much more than their relationships with men, and that by staying single or marrying later, they can help create a more just world as well as higher-quality relationships with their friends, family members, romantic partners, communities, and themselves. One of the many quotes I enjoyed that articulates how society often conceptualizes single women: "When people call single women selfish for the act of tending to themselves, it's important to remember that the very acknowledgement that women have selves that exist independently of others, and especially independent of husbands and children, is revolutionary. A true age of female selfishness, in which women recognized and prioritized their own drives to the same degree to which they have always been trained to tend to the needs of all others might, in fact, be an enlightened corrective to centuries of self-sacrifice." I appreciate that Traister wrote this book, as single women endure so much stigma in society because we assume that they want a male partner or we think less of them when they do not have a man. Traister raises several incisive points to combat these ignorant and outdated notions, such as how many people in romantic relationships and marriages actually feel unhappy, but we assume the opposite because of how society glorifies romance. Furthermore, the increasing amount of single women reflects their rising economic and political power, as they can create fulfilling lives for themselves instead of depending on men as the patriarchy once forced them to. Traister also does a solid job of framing her commentary in an intersectional way, by highlighting how black women and poor women suffer even more from institutions that only value women who have male partners. One quote that captures how white people benefit from the exploitation of women of color: "The nation's history has included many iterations of the privileged white co-option of black, and often poor, habits and behaviors, which, when performed by white populations, have drawn different kinds of attention. When white flappers danced to black jazz beats, they were culture-shifting rebels; when, in the mid-sixties, white women busted out of their domestic sarcophagi and marched back into workforces in which poor and black women had never stopped toiling, when Betty Friedan echoed Sadie Alexander by suggesting that work would be beneficial for both women and their families, that was when the revolution of Second Wave feminism was upon us. It has long been the replicative behaviors or perspectives of white women - and not the original shifts pioneered by poor women and women of color - that make people sit up and take notice and that sometimes become discernible as liberation." Overall, a fantastic book and the best work of nonfiction I have read in 2017 so far. I would love to read a follow-up book about how men's emotional constipation contributes to the rise of single women and how men can learn to get in touch with their emotions, so that they can provide nurturing and caring, essential components of any relationship. Perhaps I will write this book myself, as Trainer and other amazing female authors have women covered. I would recommend All the Single Ladies to those who want to learn about the joys and revolutions experienced and created by unmarried women, an important demographic in contemporary society.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    4 high stars. I started listening to non fiction audiobooks about two years ago, and I continue to be blown away by the high quality of so many books. All the Single Ladies falls into that camp. A mixture of history, sociology, interviews and autobiography, All the Single Ladies makes an argument for the positive aspects of women postponing marriage or not marrying at all. In the end, Traister argues that there should not be one model for women to follow in their life trajectory. And there shoul 4 high stars. I started listening to non fiction audiobooks about two years ago, and I continue to be blown away by the high quality of so many books. All the Single Ladies falls into that camp. A mixture of history, sociology, interviews and autobiography, All the Single Ladies makes an argument for the positive aspects of women postponing marriage or not marrying at all. In the end, Traister argues that there should not be one model for women to follow in their life trajectory. And there should be more support for those who don't follow conventional paths. While this may seem like a truism, what makes All the Single Ladies interesting are all the disparate strands of information and insight that Traister pulls together. Oddly, while I don't fit her topic particularly well, the message really spoke to me. My husband and I married relatively young and before we had any idea what our work lives held in store. But I could still relate to what Traister had to say because what I did feel was compelled to avoid some of society's expectations about how our relationship and family life were meant to work. This has worked for us, but I recognize that I'm lucky. I've seen many female friends and colleagues over the years who have borne the brunt of achieving "work-life" balance while their male partners advanced unimpeded in their careers and unfrazzled in their home life. This is a pretty big digression. But I think it would be hard for most women to read All the Single Ladies without reflecting on their own lives, and the lives of their friends, mothers, sisters and daughters. A powerful and interesting read. Thank you to Goodreads friend Julie for recommending this one when I asked her for suggestions for contemporary feminist writings. Highly recommend for anyone on a similar quest.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    This is my favorite nonfiction book I read in 2016. It's just fantastic. It has tremendous breadth and depth of historical and social research, and I also liked how Rebecca Traister included examples from both pop culture and the personal experiences of her and her friends. I listened to this on audio, but I loved this book so much I want to get my own copy and mark my favorite quotes. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of the women's movement, or those wanting to read more ab This is my favorite nonfiction book I read in 2016. It's just fantastic. It has tremendous breadth and depth of historical and social research, and I also liked how Rebecca Traister included examples from both pop culture and the personal experiences of her and her friends. I listened to this on audio, but I loved this book so much I want to get my own copy and mark my favorite quotes. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of the women's movement, or those wanting to read more about modern social changes. Favorite Quote "The vast increase in the number of single women is to be celebrated not because singleness is in and of itself a better or more desirable state than coupledom. The revolution is in the expansion of options, the lifting of the imperative that for centuries hustled nearly all (non-enslaved) women, regardless of their individual desires, ambitions, circumstances, or the quality of available matches, down a single highway toward heterosexual marriage and motherhood. There are now an infinite number of alternative routes open; they wind around combinations of love, sex, partnership, parenthood, work, and friendship, at different speeds. Single female life is not prescription, but its opposite: liberation."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    Let's get a few things straight. I need to explain where I am coming from with this review. STARTING POINT People are animals, with animal instincts. In the animal kingdom most females in the mammal species, are territorial dwellers, being visited by roaming males to copulate and produce off springs. Females take full responsibility for the babies, due to lactation, and do not provide care for the male at all. He's on his own. Most males in the majority of species, commit infanticide to establish Let's get a few things straight. I need to explain where I am coming from with this review. STARTING POINT People are animals, with animal instincts. In the animal kingdom most females in the mammal species, are territorial dwellers, being visited by roaming males to copulate and produce off springs. Females take full responsibility for the babies, due to lactation, and do not provide care for the male at all. He's on his own. Most males in the majority of species, commit infanticide to establish his domain and eliminate competition. Human societies in the world base their social structures and order on the principle of marriage to provide stability for these societies. It is the fundamental principle of modern high density civilizations. A plethora of rules/laws were written for this purpose to protect order as well as provide security for children. These rules aimed to combat and control our basic animal instincts and elevate the human race to a higher level of existence. Most religions support this choice of order. This book discusses the change in female behaviour. Woman are moving away from the established rules. They are demanding their right to become territorial females again who are visited by males for breeding purposes. Based on the modern trends, confirmed by the research provided in this book, a new order is slowly establishing itself, confronting the existing values supporting civilization. Now to the book. I would not call this book ground breaking, but it is certainly provides recent statistics. Women and their sexuality is the main topic here. Answers are sought for questions such as: - why are there a dramatic decease in marriages before the age of 29; - what is the motivation for young women to not get married; - why are young girls getting sexually active at an earlier age; - why do women have children without getting married. A wide range of issues are being addressed in the book. It might even be good read for young women who don't know much about Woman's Lib, the history, the immense impact it had on generations of women afterwards and how much it meant in 'humanizing' women in the quest for equality on all levels of society. There were not many 'new' information in this book for myself, but that is partly due to the fact that I have read so many books on this topic for many many years, and at one point was also involved in research projects on these issues. The research projects obviously required intensive studies and multiple interviews - hundreds, actually. Reading other reviews, the book resonates with many people on different levels, and therefor serves a good purpose. It is therefor recommended reading for newbies to the debate, for sure. I have added my own views in this long spoiler. (view spoiler)[ **The emancipation for women also brought liberties for men. Men too don't have to get married anymore to enjoy an active, vibrant sex life. Women made it easier for men not to commit. ** Young people approach life differently, become more mature before they decide to get married and settle down. ** Economical circumstances prevent young people to consider marriage before thirty. For instance, more young people are forced to move back with their parents after graduation and cannot find jobs to kick-start their lives right away. ** One aspect of modern polygamy: Chain marriages, if marriages still occur, are getting fairly common for both genders. Getting married more than once and having children with more than one partner is currently more the rule than the exception. ** A natural instincts of male and female partners to act out their different roles have changed. For instance, men choose the mother of his children and when she cannot be trusted to protect and take care of her babies and her nest, while he is acting as the hunter gatherer, she simply won't make it to a long lasting relationship. ** A young woman who cannot trust her partner to hunt and gather for her and her babies in her vulnerable period of being firstly pregnant, and then nesting, won't accept him as a long-lasting trustworthy companion. That's got nothing to do with gender identification or equality. It is simply natural instinct. ** The social setting: The change over from extended families, who once lived on the same land and could help with raising children, to nuclear families, consisting of only two parents and their children in their home, often living far away from the extended family, brought greater challenges to married couples in raising the off-springs. Financial pressure demanding that both parents must have stable jobs to afford their lifestyle, added additional pressure on marriages, or even unmarried partners with children. The support network changed dramatically in the past 100 years. ** The century-old concept of 'catching a husband' with an 'unfortunate' pregnancy, are not working so well anymore. Although it is widely the norm, and often than not end up in divorce nowadays, it also backfires due to updated legislation which protect the male partner against exploitation. He can still be a father, but do not have to get married anymore. Some years ago a well-known Basketball player was sued by a woman for child support who he claimed he has never met in his entire life. After a long drawn-out court case, she finally admitted that she stole a used condom from his hotel suite en impregnated herself with the help of a doctor-friend. She not only chose to be a single mother, but also chose a wealthy, millionaire, sportsman, as the father who could pay substantial child support. Skillful. The entire drama was once broadcast on an Oprah show. ** An interesting new 'trend' in children's care is that more and more fathers receive custody of their children in divorce courts. More fathers raise their children successfully as single parents, or as stay-at-home dads. ** Boredom. One partner and instant gratification of sexual fantasies with different partners, over a long period of time, do not gel. ** The pursue of excitement; ** the decreasing role of religion; ** the changing social pressure; ** and an unwillingness to accept responsibilities for long term relationships; - how many more possibilities can be added? Some of them do get addressed in the book. There are way too many choices nowadays to pinpoint the exact reasons why marriages are not the ultimate choice of commitment in modern society, although it remains the popular choice for a large number of couples. Someone asked me long ago why the divorce rate in South Africa was so high. The stats were significantly lower in Australia. My answer was that young people still got married in South Africa, while in Australia children were often raised by unmarried partners who 1) never get married but 2) either co-parent in two homes or 3) live together out of wedlock and still raise children. That was in the early Nineties. ** A relatively high percentage of women, use pregnancies to create an alternative lifestyle by either applying for government assistance, or frequenting the family courts for child support. They can be regarded as baby-mills with an ulterior motive behind it. (this is sadly not mentioned in the book. In fact, many of the negative consequences impacting children, men and society as a whole are ignored in this book, hence my lower rating.) It is a controversial statement, I know. But hear me out. If a woman has 21 children by different fathers(regard these fathers as mere sperm donors) and has never been married in her life, what would the purpose of her pregnancies be? These women do exist. Just find them on Youtube. We also recall the case of Natalie Suleman, the Octomom. Single mothers with three and more children are a frequent occurrence in modern society. It is quite a hot topic for tax payers as we all know. ** There is also the fact that divorces have become so unaffordable and often leading to bankruptcy, that couples opt out of marriage to prevent it altogether. So yes, for me personally, there are way too many factors in play in women's sexuality and the choices they make for themselves that needs to be addressed. For instance, both young woman and -men do not often have self confidence; or social skills; or financial means to compete in the mating race. It's not reasons that will be willingly shared by participants in studies, but it plays a major role. ** Young men often stagger under the financial weight of expensive weddings, as demanded by their partners, and avoid it by not getting committed to marriage at all. It is common knowledge that many couples take many years to pay off their wedding expenses. It often remains a burden long after they got divorced! This is just my thoughts. (hide spoiler)] This book tries to explain female sexuality in a modern world. The complexity of it all. It targets a female audience. In that instance it might work, particularly for young professional women who might find the information interesting and even, oh dear, riveting reading as well. For me it is just another highly subjective viewpoint. It explains women's choices well, and how circumstances have changed since Women's Lib began, but it left me hanging. This book comes with an agenda, and it is clear that is written for a specific targeted audience, excluding everything and everyone else. I would have preferred the inclusion of both genders. WHY YOUNG PEOPLE MAKE THE CHOICES THEY DO (and not only women). Get my drift? Since there are for many years already more woman than men in the world, in some communities at a ratio of 4:1, due to men being incarcerated and wars, a book like this provides a perspective on the choices that have to be made with this demographic in mind and why traditional mores, values and institutions such as marriage, are destined to change. The ratio also confirms why men often have children with more than one woman. There is simply not enough men to go around! The answers could have been very interesting indeed. Added a few more honest, as in brutally honest, answers from participants and it could have become a suspense thriller to boot. It might even expose a few twists in this plot! :-)) Most importantly it could have brought more balance in this discussion. I would have taken the information more seriously if the approach were different. However, young woman might find consolation / justification for their choices in the information provided and get rid of self-doubt and self recrimination by reading this. That's the inspirational purpose of this book for its targeted audience. A journalese, populist take on social issues with a catching title to ensure sales. There are many questions that I would like to be answered. It might result in the pink icing being ripped from the party cake. So I will refrain. For instance, the book does not address the serious effects of women's choices on children, society or financial resources. Neither does it explain the important role of men in their children's lives. It is more a chick-lit approach to sexuality and the lighter side of women's choices, without the darker side of the consequences being addressed. One side of the pancake. Some women prefer the pancake to be flipped, the other side exposed. I am one of them. This book leaves me cold. However, the author does raise some valid arguments that needs to be addressed. I agree with many of them. You can listen to discussion of this book as well as the author's viewpoints on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-wdo... Objective researchers, like myself, appose the condescending way in which conservatives are being handled. There is a liberal cheer leading squad, a liberal honor brigade if you will, at work here, discouraging women with apposing viewpoints to voice their opinions. That bothers me. It defeats the overall message in the book, in my humble opinion. It destroys the credibility of the message. It suppresses the complete image. The title of the book is a call to action for liberal single women. Nothing more, nothing less. ** PS. 30 Jan, 2018. I was elated to find the book below, which addressed all the issues I had with All the Single Ladies It was a delight to recently find a book written by the psychologist, Dr. Helen Smith, providing more unbiased research, exploring the gender issues relating to ALL single people, which brought a broader perspective to the reader, addressing both genders in the modern setup. I just wanted to cross-reference the two books for myself, as well as someone who might want to read them: Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters by Helen Smith https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brandice

    All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation is an interesting analysis of how unmarried and late-marrying women have changed the landscape in America. Rebecca Traister provides a well-researched look into how this shift has evolved over time, in part, due the rise of women in the workforce, and more women opting out of a traditional family. Traister also includes stories from several women who have made different life choices affecting their careers and families, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation is an interesting analysis of how unmarried and late-marrying women have changed the landscape in America. Rebecca Traister provides a well-researched look into how this shift has evolved over time, in part, due the rise of women in the workforce, and more women opting out of a traditional family. Traister also includes stories from several women who have made different life choices affecting their careers and families, as well as perspectives from her own personal experience. I thought she did a great job being fair in her findings and sharing several views. “Single women are upending everything; their growing presence has an impact on how economic, political, and sexual power is distributed between the genders. The ability for women to live unmarried is having an impact on our electoral politics. The vast numbers of single women living in the United States are changing our definitions of family, and, in turn, will have an impact on our social policies. The intensity of the resistance to these women is rooted in the (perhaps unconscious) comprehension that their expanded power signals a social and political rupture as profound as the invention of birth control, as the sexual revolution, as the abolition of slavery, as women’s suffrage and the feminist, civil rights, gay rights, and labor movements.” All the Single Ladies travels through history to the present, detailing how the role of women has changed. It ultimately reminds us major life decisions are not uniform and that there are multiple paths to happiness and success, two already subjective concepts.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Whoa. Spring break read on a yoga vacation in Costa Rica got me reconsidering my life like whoa. Felt so recognized - affirmed - valued - connected to other women, like someone had climbed inside my head, unpacked it, laid it on a table, and said, "This? All of this? Is okay. Is wonderful." Recommend for all and every woman!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    A pretty readable treatise telling us that a) there are more single ladies out there than before and b) we should treat them like human beings. To which we should add c) they're not sad cat ladies. At. All. So points for style, but not so much for originality. Mind you, in 2016 do you really want equality to still be an original message? 'Cause that'd just be sad.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Great book! If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it…   Yet another book titled via song that puts an earworm in your head as you read it.  I happen to like the Beyonce anthem even though it represents pretty much the opposite of what this book is about.   I listened to the audio book narrated by Candace Thaxton and it was very good.   This was an excellent way to end the year.  This book is not a self-help tome.  If someone is looking for validation that being single at the advanced age of Great book! If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it…   Yet another book titled via song that puts an earworm in your head as you read it.  I happen to like the Beyonce anthem even though it represents pretty much the opposite of what this book is about.   I listened to the audio book narrated by Candace Thaxton and it was very good.   This was an excellent way to end the year.  This book is not a self-help tome.  If someone is looking for validation that being single at the advanced age of 25 (or older) is normal and acceptable, sure you can get that from this book.  But there are probably better books to cater to those insecurities.  Traister is only mildly interested in the behavioral aspects.  She is far more interested in the historical, sociological, political and economic impacts of such a condition.  Traister examines the changes in a world where women have expanded opportunities to thrive.  In this 2016 world, women are a huge part of the work force, have more control over their reproductive options, have higher education rates, are not necessarily dependent on marriage opportunities to have a good quality of life.  Traister also examines some of the drawbacks of not choosing or delaying marriage (and there are many).  The book is well thought out and researched.  Traister examines things from many different perspectives:  wealthy, poor, white, people of color,  over 50, under 30, divorced, never married, widowed, sexual preference, mother, childless, sexual promiscuity etc.  Traister makes arguments about the nature of singlehood and marriage that I had never considered (eg. a significant portion of the economy in America is structured around marriage.  It's written in the laws and statutes and taxation ect).    She examines the subject not from a standpoint of what is normal; but from the idea that maybe what we've been taught to view as normal should be adjusted to what is "reality".  Her presented reality is backed by some very compelling statistics.  Many of her arguments are framed against traditional Christian conservative arguments. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course I happen to agree with her on most counts so I found the book interesting, thought provoking, persuasive and quite positive. This is not a book that disparages or belittles marriage in any way. Quite the contrary; but it doesn't disparage or belittle the fact that many women are remaining single longer either. Nor does it claim that the act of being single is any more legitimate than marriage. Traister also points out the fact that men are choosing to remain single for longer periods of time too. There is a freedom of choice and independence here for both genders. My only real issue with this book is that Traister relies upon specific people in order to make her arguments broadly. "So and so encountered this issue and therefore her interpretation of that event applies to all women." I think Traister is smarter and better than that; but I think this was a deference to her targeted audience. Shorter Monica: This was scholarly effort likely dumbed down to appeal to the masses. In spite of all of that, there is a lot here to enjoy. Highly recommended. 4 Stars

  11. 5 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    This book is a well researched mix of interviews, historical analysis, and review of current statistics. The subject covers a broad spectrum of economic and educational levels to which the book manages to give adequate attention. Below are a collection of quotations from the book, each preceded with my comments. For readers who are not familiar with current demographic statistics regarding single women, Traister states the facts quite clearly as follows:For the first time in American history, sing This book is a well researched mix of interviews, historical analysis, and review of current statistics. The subject covers a broad spectrum of economic and educational levels to which the book manages to give adequate attention. Below are a collection of quotations from the book, each preceded with my comments. For readers who are not familiar with current demographic statistics regarding single women, Traister states the facts quite clearly as follows:For the first time in American history, single women (including those who were never married, widowed, divorced, or separated) outnumbered married women. Perhaps even more strikingly, the number of adults younger than thirty-four who had never married was up to 46 percent, rising twelve percentage points in less than a decade. For women under thirty, the likelihood of being married had become astonishingly small: Today, only around 20 percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine are wed, compared to the nearly 60 percent in 1960. In a statement from the Population Reference Bureau, the fact that the proportion of young adults in the United States that has never been married is now bigger than the percentage that has married was called “a dramatic reversal.” For young women, for the first time, it is as normal to be unmarried as it is to be married, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.After quoting numerous examples of various politicians blaming single women for all the problems of the country, the author makes the following statement that leads into a review of the history of single women in the United States. The funny thing is that all these warnings, diagnoses, and panics—even the most fevered among them—aren’t wholly unwarranted. Single women are upending everything. Their growing presence has an impact on how economic, political, and sexual power is distributed between the genders. The ability of women to live unmarried is having an impact on our electoral politics. The vast numbers of single women living in the United States are changing our definitions of family and in turn are having an impact on our social policies. The intensity of the resistance to these women is rooted in the—perhaps unconscious—comprehension that their expanded power signals a social and political rupture as profound as the invention of birth control, as the sexual revolution, as the abolition of slavery, as women’s suffrage, and the feminist, civil rights, gay rights, and the labor movements. Crucially, single women played a hugh part in all those earlier ruptures. Though it may feel as though the growing numbers of unmarried women and the influence they wield have shaken the nation only in the past five decades, in fact the story of single women’s nation shaping power is threaded to the story of the nation itself. Women, perhaps especially those who have lived untethered from the energy sucking and identity sapping institution of marriage in its older forms, have helped to drive social progress of this country since its founding. One startling statistic I learned from this book is that the average age of first birth for women without college degrees is LOWER than the average marriage age. I was unable to locate the quote in the book so I’m simply paraphrasing here. If you want to read more about this check this link. The following quotation suggests that low marriage rate may be "an enlightened corrrective."A true age of female selfishness in which women recognized and prioritized their own drives to the same degree to which they have always been trained to tend to needs of all others, might in fact be an enlightened corrective to centuries of self sacrifice.The following quotation reminds us that many marriages throughout history were not happy.We have to remember that among the reasons that there are now so many unmarried women is that for hundreds of years, when marriage was practically compulsory, plenty of married women were miserable. I found the following factoid interesting.A 2013 study revealed that men whose wife’s don’t work are likely to treat female coworkers poorly.The following comments and quotations are from chapters discussing the plight of economically disadvantaged women. After quoting statements of various conservative pundits and politicians that blamed welfare programs for poverty and low marriage rates the book provides examples where so called "welfare reform" and money spent actively promoting the institution of marriage had no effect, and in some cases detrimental effects, on poverty and marriage rates. Then the author provides the following examples of government programs that did decrease poverty and increase marriage rates.The only public policy approaches that have ever shown signs of boosting marriage rates or marital longevity haven’t had anything to do with promoting marriage as an institution, but rather providing people with better financial resources in advance of and to better facilitate marriage. Among them was an expansion of welfare from 1994 to 1998 when the Minnesota Investment Program allowed people to keep their welfare benefits as opposed to cutting them off even after they’ve found work. With the added economic security the divorce rate for black women in the State fell by 70 percent. In approximately the same years the New Hope project was implemented in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An antipoverty program, New Hope provided full time workers whose earnings were below one hundred fifty percent of the Federal poverty level with income supplements, offered those who were unable to find work community service jobs, and subsidized health and childcare. In a study of marriage rates researcher found that twenty-one percent of never married women who participated in the New Hope Project were married five years later compared to twelve percent of never married women who did not participate. Income and wage growth also rose for participants while depression decreased.In the chapter on sex and single women the book provides a variety of examples from the chaste to the unchaste. After quoting some warnings from conservative commentators that decry the miserable lives that will result for women who postpone marriage, the author makes the following observation.Though privileged educated women are marrying later than ever before and at lower rates than ever before, they are eventually marrying far more frequently than their less economically advantaged peers. What's more those Americans with the most education and money, the ones marrying later but most reliably, are also the people most currently enjoying the nations lowest divorce rate. The following graph isn't from the book. However, I've included it here to help illustrate the diversity in college graduation rates between men and women. The following graph shows that women with college degrees outnumber men with college degrees. (Presumably the reverse is true: Men without degrees outnumber women without degrees.) Today marriages tend to be between peers (i.e. graduates marry other graduates). Because of the disparity of graduation rates between the sexes, it follows that there's a disparity in marriage candidates. Men without college degrees—and at the bottom of the economic ladder—are in a double bind. First they can't find work to provide a reliable income stream to be an attractive marriage partner, and demographically there's a shortage of women with compatible educational status.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    After finding Rebecca Traister’s Big Girls Don't Cry more entertaining and enjoyable than it had any right to be, I naturally was first in line to pick up her latest offering. Happily, All the Single Ladies did not disappoint. Traister’s book addresses a basic fact: Women (and men, for that matter) are marrying less often, and marrying later in life. This is not due to any kind of moral failing on anyone's part, but merely to the fact that more and more women are finding that marriage simply doe After finding Rebecca Traister’s Big Girls Don't Cry more entertaining and enjoyable than it had any right to be, I naturally was first in line to pick up her latest offering. Happily, All the Single Ladies did not disappoint. Traister’s book addresses a basic fact: Women (and men, for that matter) are marrying less often, and marrying later in life. This is not due to any kind of moral failing on anyone's part, but merely to the fact that more and more women are finding that marriage simply doesn’t work for them, for any number of reasons (which are expounded upon here). Given how recently marriage and children were seen as the only possible life goals for women, this sea change is nothing short of revolutionary. Traister also makes the excellent point that the U.S. government should accept this fact and act accordingly, rather than viewing marriage as the default standard for all citizens. Her final chapter deals comprehensively with how our culture can best address this new normal in a way that’s realistic and helpful to all involved. I love Traister’s unflagging respect for single women as authors of their own destiny, but what I really, really love is the way she acknowledges that there are many ways to live a life, and (barring extreme cases, of course) none is any better or worse than any other. In a media culture that seems to grow ever more restrictive and image-obsessed (in direct opposition to women’s claiming of their freedoms, just as Susan Faludi has always maintained), this attitude is vitally important and a welcome infusion of oxygen into the room.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Lumos

    Well, that was relatable. All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation is the type of book I always wanted to read, but never knew existed. Like many women, I have grappled with the woes of my (or lack thereof) relationship status. I am ambitious and fuelled by an unsatisifed thirst for knowledge. Learning is my passion, and I hope to someday pursue a career in academia. Yup, I am the ultimate nerd - nothing could make me happier than seeing my name on the front co Well, that was relatable. All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation is the type of book I always wanted to read, but never knew existed. Like many women, I have grappled with the woes of my (or lack thereof) relationship status. I am ambitious and fuelled by an unsatisifed thirst for knowledge. Learning is my passion, and I hope to someday pursue a career in academia. Yup, I am the ultimate nerd - nothing could make me happier than seeing my name on the front cover of an academic journal. But I also understand that Lord Academia bestows its rewards only to those who are patient, committed, and slightly crazy. I have done the calculations: I will be in my late 20s by the time I finish my education, and I know pursuing my goals comes with sacrifices. Like when will I get married and have children? However, it is difficult for me to imagine compromising my ambitions, especially after dedicating so much time and effort towards them. Strangely enough, living a single and childless life does not worry me. I have a great community of friends, and chilling in a small apartment with a few dogs or cats does not sound like an unappealing idea. This is why reading this book was so enlightening. I realized I am not alone; there is a world of single womanhood I never knew existed. Using personal anecdotes, statistics and historical evidence, Rebecca Traister builds a book that addresses challenges that are relevant to women today. She collects data from a diverse population sample, which helped decrease my own ignorance about single womanhood. I always imagined the typical single lady was like me: college-educated and delaying marriage to chase her career goals. But I realized my perspective comes from a place of privilege. Single women have multifaceted experiences. They find fulfillment through their friendships as opposed to romantic endeavours. While others see marriage and children as burdensome. Some single women practice abstinence while others engage in promiscuous expenditures. And some women are not single by choice. They want to get married, but will not - and should not have to - settle. I do not see marriage as burdensome, but I want a partner who will enter a fair and compassionate union with me. I want my ambitions respected and supported. I want us to have equal responsibility for chores, cooking, and childcare. Is this asking for a lot? I hardly think so. My upbringing as a South Asian woman, without a doubt, also influenced my perception of this book. In South Asia, marriage is as a monumental milestone. Not only does it help a woman acquire social approval, but also safety. Unlike the West, life for single women in South Asia can sometimes even be dangerous. I am forever grateful I had the opportunity to grow up in Canada. As a single woman in Canada, I have rights and freedoms many of my female relatives in South Asia do not. Yes, a number of steps need to be completed before true equity between the sexes is achieved. However, I always try comparing social progress in context with the rest of the world. I hope books like these help us start important conversations. We need to enhance social policies that protect parental leave, subsidize childcare and promote equal pay. Women's choices should be respected, and single women should not be stigmatized. There is not one yellow brick road to happiness and fulfillment. There are many. Overall, this book is a great read for both men and women. My only complaint is that this book was dry. I am a firm believer that even academic writing can be and should be engaging and endearing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Obsidian

    I Did Not Finish (DNF) at 25 percent. I was really hoping for something to sink my teeth into. Maybe because most people still don't understand what feminism means in the U.S. It's not a dirty word. It doesn't mean you hate men. "The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men." This book reads like a very long and boring history book that zig zags all over the place. I stupidly thought the book would maybe be looking at unmarried women and their r I Did Not Finish (DNF) at 25 percent. I was really hoping for something to sink my teeth into. Maybe because most people still don't understand what feminism means in the U.S. It's not a dirty word. It doesn't mean you hate men. "The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men." This book reads like a very long and boring history book that zig zags all over the place. I stupidly thought the book would maybe be looking at unmarried women and their rise over the past 20-30 years. Instead we go all the way back to the 1800s and go forward. The author also throws in some anecdotal information here and there and then has some statistics. I just really didn't feel as immersed in what she was trying to do. I think she could have taken a page out of Aziz Ansari's "Modern Romance" and just bring some fun into the book. And I felt like she was hand waving away most of the single black women rise as well. I think because she was trying to say that rise was due to other factors and she didn't want to get into them all in this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Miri

    Besides the fact that it was interesting and well-written, there were three things I really appreciated about this book: 1. It examined the history of single women in the United States and includes quotes from and stories about historical single women throughout the book. It really helped to ground current trends in the context of the history of the women's movement. 2. It looked at race and class in addition to gender, and specifically discussed single women who are poor and/or nonwhite. 3. Unli Besides the fact that it was interesting and well-written, there were three things I really appreciated about this book: 1. It examined the history of single women in the United States and includes quotes from and stories about historical single women throughout the book. It really helped to ground current trends in the context of the history of the women's movement. 2. It looked at race and class in addition to gender, and specifically discussed single women who are poor and/or nonwhite. 3. Unlike other books and articles about this trend, the book did not focus on "single" women who cohabitate with their committed male partners without technically marrying them. While these women are part of the story and they were included in this book, Traister also interviewed and talked about women who do not prioritize--or just don't have--serious romantic relationships. She discussed friendship, loneliness, single motherhood, and lots of other stuff that isn't just couples that are basically married except in the legal sense. As someone committed to a pretty solo lifestyle, I appreciated that. I do wish that Traister had included a little more about queer women rather than relegating them to a few paragraphs at the end, though.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jess Johnson

    I was mostly-single until my late twenties so I thought I'd really enjoy this book. There are some details I love -ex. the historical perspective of 'the marriage plot' and the idea that marriage really wasn't a choice for most women. It was great to read to understand how things like today's gig economy actually give freedoms of support traditionally provided through the institution of marriage (ex. career men and women don't need a 'wife' if they can hire cleaners and get food delivered.) That I was mostly-single until my late twenties so I thought I'd really enjoy this book. There are some details I love -ex. the historical perspective of 'the marriage plot' and the idea that marriage really wasn't a choice for most women. It was great to read to understand how things like today's gig economy actually give freedoms of support traditionally provided through the institution of marriage (ex. career men and women don't need a 'wife' if they can hire cleaners and get food delivered.) That said, I disliked Traister's constantly positive spin on singledom as a "choice" for women. While many women do intentionally choose to stay single longer, I felt Traister selectively chooses to focus on women want to be single and thus are. In reality, many of the women I know who are out and having fun are frustrated at the lack of companionship and demands of hookup culture. While there definitely is an *option* to be single I've seen many women feel as if they don't have an opportunity to be in a stable relationship. I recommend pairing this read with Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance for contrasting view points on modern dissatisfaction with dating.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    Here's the thing I liked best about this book--even though I've never really been concerned that I'm doing 30 the "wrong way" (i.e. single, not looking, thinking I may or may not want to get married and may or may not want to have kids in the future), it was so refreshing to hear stories and statistics about 1) how common these feelings are and 2) how often other women feel like their friends, family, society, etc. don't understand their choices and how their life, for better or worse, doesn't l Here's the thing I liked best about this book--even though I've never really been concerned that I'm doing 30 the "wrong way" (i.e. single, not looking, thinking I may or may not want to get married and may or may not want to have kids in the future), it was so refreshing to hear stories and statistics about 1) how common these feelings are and 2) how often other women feel like their friends, family, society, etc. don't understand their choices and how their life, for better or worse, doesn't look like what we all expected it to.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Britany

    hmm, this one was interesting. It started out strong, I found myself nodding along and pumping my fist in admiration to this author for tackling a subject that I enjoy and proudly find myself a part of. I enjoyed listening to the statistics interspersed almost seamlessly with multiple narratives and the author's own opinion. Then, she took a couple turns where I found myself struggling with some of the statistics- they weren't that impressive, in fact some were just slightly different for unmarri hmm, this one was interesting. It started out strong, I found myself nodding along and pumping my fist in admiration to this author for tackling a subject that I enjoy and proudly find myself a part of. I enjoyed listening to the statistics interspersed almost seamlessly with multiple narratives and the author's own opinion. Then, she took a couple turns where I found myself struggling with some of the statistics- they weren't that impressive, in fact some were just slightly different for unmarried women as married women. Then she took a welfare turn, and I ended this book on the opposite side, disappointed and frustrated with the end message. While this was a tough one to rate and review- I'm falling squarely in the middle. I think this could've much more powerful, and I found myself quoting some of the facts to family and co-workers. However, the punch was quite as impactful as I wanted.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Brookover

    Includes the origin story of Ann Friedman & Aminatou Sow! Includes the origin story of Ann Friedman & Aminatou Sow!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

    You never know when it comes to books about pop culture and feminism, but this is a really good one! It’s a combination of historical information, interviews with modern women, sociological statistics and analysis, and stories from the author’s life; Traister, an experienced journalist, weaves it all together in a seamless and readable way. More women are single in the U.S. than ever before – whether that means marrying late, never marrying, or not staying married forever. Single women are nothin You never know when it comes to books about pop culture and feminism, but this is a really good one! It’s a combination of historical information, interviews with modern women, sociological statistics and analysis, and stories from the author’s life; Traister, an experienced journalist, weaves it all together in a seamless and readable way. More women are single in the U.S. than ever before – whether that means marrying late, never marrying, or not staying married forever. Single women are nothing new though, and the book chronicles the stories of many of the most influential women in American history, who happen to have been single for much or all of their lives. But mostly the book explores how single women live their lives today, dealing with work and money, urban and rural life, female friendship, sex and dating, single parenthood, and how having been a single adult affects later marriages. The author also writes about societal pressures – how the meaning of singlehood has changed, and the conservative backlash. I suspect most young and many not-so-young American women would enjoy the read and recognize something of themselves here. The book celebrates singlehood for the opportunity it provides to become independent, create one’s own life and career, and build intense friendships. At the same time, it’s hardly anti-marriage; Traister herself married in her 30s, and credits her single years with making her marriage better. If nothing else, had social pressures forced her to marry young, she wouldn’t have been available when Mr. Right came along! And it’s probably the most inclusive book about modern womanhood that I’ve read. Rather than being relegated to one separate chapter, women of color appear throughout and inform every section of it. While the book is tilted toward educated, urban women – though as it discusses, single women have always flocked to cities, so the focus is perhaps not disproportionate – poor women and single mothers appear as well. There are no glib attempts to generalize all single women: on sexual choices, for instance, whether you have tons of sex, some sex, varying amounts of sex depending on where you are in your life, or have never had sex, you’ll see your decisions reflected here. Traister interviewed people from all walks of life, resulting in sensitive portrayals and spot-on analysis. There is the criticism that the book’s contents aren’t new and surprising, and that’s fair. But it would be strange to be very surprised by a profile of one’s own demographic. It definitely kept my attention, and there’s enough solid research here that I did learn some things. While single American women may not find a great deal of new information, this should at least be an affirming read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leigh Kramer

    At the top of my Books I Gush Over list, you'll find this one. This is a remarkable undertaking, not only because of the scope of Traister's research and interviews but because of how well it's compiled together. She manages to validate a number of singles' experiences, while also acknowledging her shortcomings, namely the bulk of her examples are white women in their 30s and 40s in NYC. However, she does feature stories from Women Of Color, as well as drawing from research and other works. What At the top of my Books I Gush Over list, you'll find this one. This is a remarkable undertaking, not only because of the scope of Traister's research and interviews but because of how well it's compiled together. She manages to validate a number of singles' experiences, while also acknowledging her shortcomings, namely the bulk of her examples are white women in their 30s and 40s in NYC. However, she does feature stories from Women Of Color, as well as drawing from research and other works. What I loved is how validated I felt as a single woman. There was good food for thought- I especially loved the chapters about cities and friendship. There's also pointed critiques of society and religion, which is much needed in this age of marginalization. You don't need to be single to gain insights from this book- in fact, I'd encourage everyone to read it. But if you are single, you'll walk away feeling heard and seen and maybe even inspired.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bon

    This was great, another relatable read just as good as Feminasty from earlier this year. This book was written a couple years ago, but its opening anecdotes rang so true for me, the writer’s crestfallen feeling when the heroines in her favorite books and movies got married. The changes in the narrative those life changes for the heroine enact - the disappointment at the story switching from a heroine running around the woods to cooking for a man or nursing a baby is something I constantly, const This was great, another relatable read just as good as Feminasty from earlier this year. This book was written a couple years ago, but its opening anecdotes rang so true for me, the writer’s crestfallen feeling when the heroines in her favorite books and movies got married. The changes in the narrative those life changes for the heroine enact - the disappointment at the story switching from a heroine running around the woods to cooking for a man or nursing a baby is something I constantly, constantly feel. I go out of my way to avoid domesticity in my books and shows, so I was delighted the book opened with this relatability. Now, this book isn’t hating on marriage, firing shots at heteronormative behavior or engaging in man-hating dialogue – or if there are moments of this, they aren’t the point. The main focus of the book is the way society, human behavior and expectations, and in particular ways of life in the U.S. can target single women, single mothers, and she-identifying people in general with disadvantageous policy and beliefs. At the same time, it shows how these women and people can rise above and fight against such systemic discrimination. Traister isn’t focusing just on unmarried feminists – she herself got married a few years before the book was published, in fact – she mentions suffragettes, female domestic staff of the 1800s, abolitionists, and of course spinsters of all eras, ages and classes. I liked how she mentioned the burgeoning power of single women as starting with the physical unburdening of flappers, who literally shed about thirty pounds of outfits when they opted for shorter-sleeved and -hemmed dresses. So interesting. She also brought up the Miss America pageant, and how harmful it is to pit women against each other, and not only that but on the dumbest level, comparing mostly physical and shallow attributes. Another aspect of life Traister mentioned that resonated with me was the idea of non-blood “found family”. That there are other ways to pass on lineage or feel connections besides heteronormative marriage and having children. I loved that. She has a line about how self-constructed families are no less important than ‘mainstream’ ones, that “voluntary kin” can be equally or more meaningful. As a single woman whose family is not close, that spoke to me and my circle of friends I consider family. Honestly, I could have quoted the entire book. I bookmarked like 88 places and nodded along to the whole thing. Excellent piece of work.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mikey B.

    I bought this book because over the years I have known relatives and close friends (both female and male) who have never been married or had a long-term partner. So I was hoping that this book would shed some light on what it is like to live single and unattached. It covered some of the angles, but I did not find it all that successful. It does go into the stigma of not being married or of not having a partner. And it does state that being unattached has become less of an opprobrium over the years I bought this book because over the years I have known relatives and close friends (both female and male) who have never been married or had a long-term partner. So I was hoping that this book would shed some light on what it is like to live single and unattached. It covered some of the angles, but I did not find it all that successful. It does go into the stigma of not being married or of not having a partner. And it does state that being unattached has become less of an opprobrium over the years. It also shows how marriage has changed. It has become more equitable, with divorce laws changing for example. There are many more acceptable options – common-law relationships (or living together), gay marriage, sex before marriage with partners other than your future spouse, single parenthood... The book is repetitive and paints a somewhat gloomy portrait of marriage. While it may be true that if one partner earns more money (usually the male) the relationship can be unequal and exploitative – but marriage can be about sharing resources (my parents marriage was like that). The author did not delve into the implications of an unattached woman in the long term. There was also too much on the authors “cultural niche” – too many discussions of the TV show “Sex and the City” which I have never watched (I am much more a fan of “The Simpsons”).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    A great mix of history and anecdotes. An uplifting and hopeful book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

    I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and, in the case of a positive review, addition to the book suggestions list on Our Shared Shelf in my capacity as moderator. The book has been added to the shelf. I enjoyed this book immensely. Whether you are single or attached, Traister's discussion of the historical and growing political power of single women in the United States is fascinating and compelling. Though the book focuses on the effects and problems of being I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and, in the case of a positive review, addition to the book suggestions list on Our Shared Shelf in my capacity as moderator. The book has been added to the shelf. I enjoyed this book immensely. Whether you are single or attached, Traister's discussion of the historical and growing political power of single women in the United States is fascinating and compelling. Though the book focuses on the effects and problems of being single, it also reads as a testament to the strength, independence, and influence of young women (and women) in general. Traister balances history, statistics, and interviews, making the book at once personal and generally relatable. I especially enjoyed chapters on the importance of strong female friendship, a relationship that has traditionally been considered dangerous and undesirable. I also appreciated the likening of city amenities to spousal support, illustrating the large numbers of single individuals (of all genders) residing in cities. I felt there was some reliance on the binary of single/married, with significantly less focus on long-term relationships outside of marriage, resulting in disproportionate attention paid to heterosexual women. Women who fall outside of these binaries are not completely ignored, however. Most importantly, she achieves her goal of revealing the immense power that has been wielded by single women throughout U.S. history, and it is inspiring, uplifting, and exciting.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cara

    The only thing I didn't like about this book was the title, which makes it sound very surface level and like it might only appeal to a niche group. The book itself was anything but that. I couldn't stop talking about the things I was learning as I read this book, and would recommend it for anyone who's interested in understanding shifting demographics and what that means for politics, economics, families, and individuals.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A lot of not so new info & a tiny bit of new info. I was disappointed by the tone of the book. There was a bit more whining than I expected. I was expecting a positive uplifting read with positive stories of independent women surviving & thriving on their own. Instead, I felt as if the personal stories were more along the lines of "Poor me. Why are my friends finding love, leaving me behind single, & why do I have to buy them a wedding gift?" A decent percentage of the women interviewed don't so A lot of not so new info & a tiny bit of new info. I was disappointed by the tone of the book. There was a bit more whining than I expected. I was expecting a positive uplifting read with positive stories of independent women surviving & thriving on their own. Instead, I felt as if the personal stories were more along the lines of "Poor me. Why are my friends finding love, leaving me behind single, & why do I have to buy them a wedding gift?" A decent percentage of the women interviewed don't sound happy about being independent; they sound bitter about being independent & jealous of their friends who have either found love or are happily succeeding independently. I've noticed that the independent single women in my life who are happy have realized & understand that it's no one's responsibility to make you happy except for yourself. If you can't make yourself happy...no one can. Rather than relying on the love of others to be happy...rely on the love of yourself. Loving yourself, having gratitude for your freedom & independence, accepting responsibility for choices you've made, and learning how to make yourself happy seem to be the secrets of being a happy independent successful healthy woman. One last note: I very strongly disagree with the claims of some women that they are "childless, not by choice". Taking/being on birth control is the exact definition of making the choice not to have children for the duration of time that you're on birth control. One step further...having an abortion = a very direct choice not to have that child. We ARE choosing not to be mothers on a daily basis. I am 100% pro choice...but...I also happen to be 100% for accepting the consequences of choices made via free will. It's a bit insulting to those women who actually don't have a choice in having children due to medical issues to hear women on birth control or who have had abortions whining that they aren't mothers & not by their choice. In addition to being insulting...it simply isn't true. This book gave a platform to women claiming it wasn't their choice while at the same time discussing their choice to be on birth control & their right to choose to have an abortion. This flaw in reasoning in the book had me shaking my head. The book cites Obama as saying that single moms are harmful to kids. I'd argue that it's the deadbeat dads not the single moms that are doing the harm & quite frankly I'm disgusted that this book didn't call out the bullshit claim. What are the single moms to do? Disappear like the dad did? Single moms should be praised for picking up the slack left by a deadbeat not blamed for the situation. In this day & age, it is perfectly acceptable & doable for a single woman to have a child on her own. In fact, close to 50% of mothers are single moms. Sure, it's more difficult than parenting with a partner but if a woman really wants a child...there is nothing stopping her. I argue that these women don't actually want a child...they want a family...a husband, 2.5 kids, & a dog. Now, that is something that you can claim you don't have & not by choice.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation is full of interesting historical tidbits and surprising revelations. Traister is an excellent writer who can take a lot of information and translate it into enjoyable prose. Sources are documented in the Notes section at the end of the book along with a bibliography for related reading on the subject. Traister blends her research with personal stories from her own experience as a single young woman l Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation is full of interesting historical tidbits and surprising revelations. Traister is an excellent writer who can take a lot of information and translate it into enjoyable prose. Sources are documented in the Notes section at the end of the book along with a bibliography for related reading on the subject. Traister blends her research with personal stories from her own experience as a single young woman living and working in New York City as well stories from other women she interviewed extensively. It’s fascinating to see how much has changed, yet how much stays the same regarding how society and government views not just single women, but women in general. Throughout history, marriage and the (usually) resulting children have been used as ways of keeping women under men’s control. If you find this idea shocking or surprising, then you must be a man. As women have been able to remain single (or, in most cases, delay marrying until later), they have been able to get themselves educated and established in their professional fields. With this rise of autonomy and financial freedom comes power—and we all know who is getting nervous now: men. Not all men, of course, just the pathetic, weak ones who define their strength and self-worth by thinking of, and treating women, as lesser humans to be bullied and controlled. When women are able to make choices other than heterosexual early marriage, they bring about social change. Traister explores the idea that historically, unmarried women were important in bringing about abolition, suffrage, temperance, and the labor movement. More women today remain unmarried longer and many don’t marry at all, instead choosing alternate ways of living that still involve a life partner, but reject traditional marriage. This is a pretty wide-ranging book that covers all aspects of women’s lives—marriage (or not and why not), sex, working, finances, children. I found this book very enlightening and it often mirrored not just my own attitudes and experiences, but my friends’ as well. This is great book to read for any reason and I highly recommend it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    I don't read very much nonfiction, but when I do it needs to be something I care deeply about or something with very fast pacing. Traister's new book falls into the former category. I heard a bunch of her interviews, read a few excerpts, and just wanted to quote her all the time so I figured it was time to get the book. (Note: I PAID for this book. This is not a thing I do very often.) As a single woman (and a divorced single parent) there was a lot here that I learned, and plenty where I nodded I don't read very much nonfiction, but when I do it needs to be something I care deeply about or something with very fast pacing. Traister's new book falls into the former category. I heard a bunch of her interviews, read a few excerpts, and just wanted to quote her all the time so I figured it was time to get the book. (Note: I PAID for this book. This is not a thing I do very often.) As a single woman (and a divorced single parent) there was a lot here that I learned, and plenty where I nodded my head in agreement. You don't have to be single to enjoy this book. It's about single women, but it's also about how the roles of women have changed in society in the last 150 years and what that means for everyone. The historical information is really fascinating, seeing just what has changed and when and how quickly got me through the early chapters very quickly. There are lots of anecdotes of all kinds of women. While there's an effort made to involve women from many backgrounds, there are still too many who are well-off, especially given the book's strong economic case for changes in the workplace. This is a common problem, and Traister does do better than most in sharing more stories and painting a broader picture. If you're newly single, if you're considering whether you want to be single, this is definitely an insightful read that will give you a lot to think about and a lot of context for your decision.

  30. 5 out of 5

    h

    This book is an incredibly narrow and (from my perspective) non-inclusive glimpse into the life of a very select type of single woman. The author's experience of urban cities seems to be limited to the vertical, and includes such examples having a doorman as a measure of independence for women. It's a very East Coast experience, particularly a northeast urban experience, which felt off point to me as someone who has lived in big cities all over the rest of the country, and never once glimpsed a This book is an incredibly narrow and (from my perspective) non-inclusive glimpse into the life of a very select type of single woman. The author's experience of urban cities seems to be limited to the vertical, and includes such examples having a doorman as a measure of independence for women. It's a very East Coast experience, particularly a northeast urban experience, which felt off point to me as someone who has lived in big cities all over the rest of the country, and never once glimpsed a doorman, Also there seems to be an underlying assumption through most of the book that explanations still need to be found and articulated for women who choose not to marry and choose not to have children. That's the lens through which the author has aimed her research and statistics. So much is omitted in this book. Women who are introverted, and whose social circles are limited as a result of a number of complicated factors, are not considered. Women who never considered marrying or having children still seem to be exotic creatures, and I was dissatisfied with how this book delved into that group. I found this book of limited relevance to any experiences in my own life, and every single woman I spoke to over 30 who has read the book felt similarly. Definitely not what I had hoped for when I bought it. I wouldn't recommend it.

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