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Single State of the Union: Single Women Speak Out on Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness

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Are single women happy individualists? Neurotic man-hunters? Crazed cat ladies? Are they confused, or content? Bitter, or better off? No one seems to know. The popular media gives us shoe shopaholics, ditzy desperados, wannabe brides forever making cow eyes at The Bachelor. But what do single women have to say about their own lives? With sass, humor, and style, Single State Are single women happy individualists? Neurotic man-hunters? Crazed cat ladies? Are they confused, or content? Bitter, or better off? No one seems to know. The popular media gives us shoe shopaholics, ditzy desperados, wannabe brides forever making cow eyes at The Bachelor. But what do single women have to say about their own lives? With sass, humor, and style, Single State of the Union paints a provocative, playful, and complex portrait of today's single woman, taking on such topics as: o sex and the single girl o single motherhood o buying a house without a spouse o faux boyfriends o cohabitation hesitation o single women in the media Written by an impressive roster of single (and some formerly single) women, this collection portrays single women as individuals whose lives extend well beyond Match.com and Manolo Blahniks. So listen up, Carrie. Attention, Bridget. It's time for the rest of us to be heard.


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Are single women happy individualists? Neurotic man-hunters? Crazed cat ladies? Are they confused, or content? Bitter, or better off? No one seems to know. The popular media gives us shoe shopaholics, ditzy desperados, wannabe brides forever making cow eyes at The Bachelor. But what do single women have to say about their own lives? With sass, humor, and style, Single State Are single women happy individualists? Neurotic man-hunters? Crazed cat ladies? Are they confused, or content? Bitter, or better off? No one seems to know. The popular media gives us shoe shopaholics, ditzy desperados, wannabe brides forever making cow eyes at The Bachelor. But what do single women have to say about their own lives? With sass, humor, and style, Single State of the Union paints a provocative, playful, and complex portrait of today's single woman, taking on such topics as: o sex and the single girl o single motherhood o buying a house without a spouse o faux boyfriends o cohabitation hesitation o single women in the media Written by an impressive roster of single (and some formerly single) women, this collection portrays single women as individuals whose lives extend well beyond Match.com and Manolo Blahniks. So listen up, Carrie. Attention, Bridget. It's time for the rest of us to be heard.

30 review for Single State of the Union: Single Women Speak Out on Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness

  1. 5 out of 5

    AennA

    Note: This is a lengthy book review, or should I say, rant. Here's a book that does not promote singlehood but gives insights from different single women on how each live their fruitful lives while under the scrutinizing eyes of the society. Single State of the Union is divided into 7 parts, which tackles various issues, which revolves around women's singlehood. Each part has 5 or 6 essays by different women, who shared their own stories. Written with such candidness, one would not feel alienated Note: This is a lengthy book review, or should I say, rant. Here's a book that does not promote singlehood but gives insights from different single women on how each live their fruitful lives while under the scrutinizing eyes of the society. Single State of the Union is divided into 7 parts, which tackles various issues, which revolves around women's singlehood. Each part has 5 or 6 essays by different women, who shared their own stories. Written with such candidness, one would not feel alienated, no matter how unrelated some personal issues may be, but would appreciate each individual who chose the path of singlehood. This book speaks out to understand that single women are not truly vacant, and shallow that our only concern is what clothes to wear and who to marry. Maybe it's time for the world to stop tying the single women to the "tyranny of coupledom - the idea that people need to be in a relationship at all times in order to be happy." Yes, there are women who value their career and other personal goals than ending up with their prince charming, but of course like any human being, single women would love to be loved and love but no, they wouldn't settle for just anything they don't deserve. Personally, this struggle for single women to be fully accepted by the society is not only against the married women, the thing is, there are single women who consider themselves unlucky and miserable simply because they are alone. One must learn to value themselves, so they wouldn't have to experience the struggle of being among the rest. Society learned to scare us with the thought that men are in scarcity, thus women must go and grab a husband or they would end up with nothing. But again, should our worth be valued with our ability to procreate, and saying yes to coupledom? Here are the 7 Parts of the book: Part 1. How Come a Nice Girl Like You Isn't Married? I heard that question so many times, that if I could earn a hundred in each questions and awkward answers I had to give, I could be a millionaire by now. When I was in my early twenties, the question was a bit different, "How come a nice girl like you doesn't have a boyfriend?" and now that I've exceeded the ideal marrying age, they now asked me about not getting married. I have enough bottled up sentiments inside me, and this book's chapter spoke almost exactly what I want to say. This chapter or part deals with the story of single women who are bugged around by their immediate family and friends, or even acquaintances on jumping to the bandwagon of marriage. Here, you can read the stories of women who share their thoughts on why they remain single, regardless of other's opinion that they are nice and should be married at a certain age. Women in this chapter talk about why some women prefer and enjoy singlehood, waiting for the right one. Stories of women who are not in a rush to settle down; who know and value their worth; they are being pressured but they wouldn't choose to be pressured to marriage, are being told. One of my favorite articles included in this chapter is written `by Amy Thomas titled, "An Open Letter to Mom, Diana, Mary and the Folks at Work." It was a letter for almost everyone who pesters her about getting married. She started her essay by stating that she is not dating anyone lately, and there's no special someone in her life. But yes, she wants a life partner, she want to fall in love, and yes, she knows her biological clock is ticking, and she is nervous about it. Then, she started telling about her plans, her other ideal, and she asked a question on why her success is being based on her ability to procreate. Thomas talked about her personal goals, and somehow feels annoyed that her success in career and other aspects in her life are being treated less important in comparison to having a family. She talked about her married friends not paying much attention to her stories about failed dates, about her career stories and other matters which are no longer important to them. Again, she assured everyone that she hopes to fall in love soon, but she cannot be forced onto something she isn't ready for. Let me quote Thomas on her one of my favorite of the article: "But what exactly are my options? Settle for the wrong guy just for the sake of having babies? Fall victim to the next player who gushes about how crazy he is for his nieces and nephews? Simply grab a turkey baster and some bum off the street? If you figure it out, let me know." That exactly is my thought. Almost everyone who acted concern on my love life and biological clock wants me to get married, without realizing that I really wouldn't just settle for anything that comes my way. Single women shouldn't be pressured to settle down just to preserve the ovarian eggs that might expire as soon as the biological clock exploded. We wouldn't mind to get settle down, and spend the rest of our lives with a husband, if only choosing one is as easy as picking up a book in the shelf. The article ended with Thomas telling people that she is happy with how her life is turning. Her personal goals make her a better person, and while she is not yet a wife or a mother, like the rest of her friends, maybe they should understand that she is choosing the right path for her life. Amy Thomas' article made me sob, as I read this on transit. Part 2. Marriage Can Wait. A chapter that focus on the core idea that "marriage isn't an answer to whatever their worries." Stories of women who understand that marriage is a whole different ball game, that marriage or living with someone else will never be easy, since you have to let go of all the conveniences of living alone, and being single. I think this part is some sort of reminder on how overrated marriage is. Not that marriage is any less than being single or that singlehood is better, but to remind us that marriage is just another phase in life, and it's not just all about white gown and veil. It's a whole different ball game, and the game just started after the exchange of I Dos. Whether it's going to be a good game, nobody is assured. Another favorite article of mine is Marriage Ain't Prozac by Susan Jane Gilman. Here, she shared 6 her own words of wisdom: 1. Holy Matrimony is not the Holy Grail. 2. A wedding isn't a marriage. 3. A husband should suit our personality, not our checklist. 4. Go slow. 5. Keepin' it real 6. Marriage ain't for everyone Basically, her article talks about the misconception on marriage and the misconception on single women that they cannot be happy without marriage. Part 3. The Single Girl A different set of stories that features single girls with different stories & how they handle their singlehood. You'll find a single woman who found comfort in knowing she has male friends, who may not be her boyfriend but whom she can rely on anytime. I can relate on this part, and this can get scary at a certain degree, because there's too much comfort in having male friends you can depend on. I learned to harbor thoughts such as "Who needs a boyfriend, when you have dependable male friends?" My male friends are my chauffeur, my body guards, my clowns, and my confidant. But of course, they also belong to the population who reminds me of having a boyfriend, telling me that they are not yet willing to die as long as they I haven't found a boyfriend. There's another article that explore the concept that smart women scares men, thus implying that "the secret to landing a man is to stay uneducated and unsuccessful, and never get old", which is absolutely ridiculous. It's also discusses the stereotyping of single women, and the double standards against men. Then there's different stories about women who choose to stay beside their sick parents, who lived with their single mom, There's a woman who just divorced her husband and make do with her remaining finances, a story about a woman who got her heart broken but still looks forward to fall in love again, and there's a woman who flaunt her way with gold shoes and receive judging stares. Each single woman has their own colorful stories to share. Part 4. Sex and the Single Girl. Here's a part that I don't personally like but reading this helped me understand the other facets of singlehood. At this day and age, sex has become an issue for some single women, especially the society's never-ending bombardment on the biological clock as it ticks. You'll read a story of women who hooked up with men - they met in a bar, and younger than them, and women who struggled with the issue of menopause. I don't fully understand the issues of the women involved in these stories, but I guess everyone has their own way of dealing with singlehood. Part 5. Unwed Mothers. A woman who searched a sperm bank for her possible sperm donor, a single woman who choose to pet a rat to be her companion, and a story of a single mom who suffered online misjudgment just simply because she posted a profile in a dating site. Here's another recollection of women who shows us that truly marriage for some is not the answer for their life's need. Why are there woman who prefers to visit sperm bank than just having a husband and no longer worry about the trouble of the medical procedure? Why is there a mom who chose to raise her child alone rather than sticking up with her husband? Of course, we don't know their whole life story, but at least through their sharing we could get a glimpse on other facets of life, and how open minded we should be on people's choices. Part 6. I Married Adventure A set of stories which I find interesting. Women who chose to travel and explore life as it happen. When I was young, I told myself that I will spend a great part of my life traveling and exploring the different parts of the world. I love the way each characters shared their stories, and how their travelling provides a different meaning to their life's purpose. Part 7. Live Alone and Like It. This is one of the best parts of the book. Read stories of women who ended up living alone, but is having a grand time with it. A woman who bought her own house, and enjoy the independence it gave her. There's another who just had her heart broken, and is now enjoying her solitude. And then, there's a story of a widow, who eventually enjoyed her independence, her freedom, her open-ended lifestyle. A chapter that tells us that solitude can be enjoyed, and should not be forcefully put into a halt by just settling with anyone. This once again tells us that being single is fun, and yes there are real people who love being one. Singlehood is a chance and opportunity for women to know their worth and be their own person, thus there are women who says "I am single by choice and circumstance." Let me end this lengthy review with a short excerpt from Jane Hodges article, "You Can't Go Home Again." "The tragedy is not that I have been long single;the tragedy is that people think my single status - and that of other women's - is tragic.The tragedy is that women, in particular, have absorbed this point of view and still inflict its narrative upon one another without stopping to question its logic."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Charity

    This book is great, and really deals with many different experiences and aspects of single women's lives. I quite enjoyed it. The contributions were carefully selected and logically organized. They were emotional and/or saucy. What I liked most about the collection was that the readings all affirmed singleness as an understandable and common life choice that might be temporary, but might also be longer-lasting. I feel like most books about single women today either 1) make you feel like life wil This book is great, and really deals with many different experiences and aspects of single women's lives. I quite enjoyed it. The contributions were carefully selected and logically organized. They were emotional and/or saucy. What I liked most about the collection was that the readings all affirmed singleness as an understandable and common life choice that might be temporary, but might also be longer-lasting. I feel like most books about single women today either 1) make you feel like life will be ok if you can just wait out the singleness or 2) make you feel like you don't have to choose your career over love--you can have it all! These essays are by women who think life can be great even without the "fairy tale ending"! Another great thing about this book is that the writers are of quite different ages and all have ended up where they are as a result of different circumstances. Some are looking forward to a life with a partner later, and some are happy alone for the long haul. The essays deal with women experiencing parenthood and/or "living apart together," dealing with crises alone, taking exciting career risks, having sex, being celibate, and even facing the prospect of getting married and/or moving in with their partners, which can be stressful for someone who has come to like living alone. Anyway, good book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Single women of the world rejoice! There is finally a book that speaks about our status with humor, warmth and seriousness. While not all of the contributing authors revel in their singledom, many do - essays include musings on sex, love, companionship and making the choice to be childless. I found myself dog-earring pages left and right, wanting to yell "amen!" after passages like the following: "The tragedy is not that I have been long single; the tragedy is that people think my single status - Single women of the world rejoice! There is finally a book that speaks about our status with humor, warmth and seriousness. While not all of the contributing authors revel in their singledom, many do - essays include musings on sex, love, companionship and making the choice to be childless. I found myself dog-earring pages left and right, wanting to yell "amen!" after passages like the following: "The tragedy is not that I have been long single; the tragedy is that people think my single status - and that of other women's - is tragic. The tragedy is that women, in particular, have absorbed this point of view and still inflict its narrative upon one another without stopping to question its logic." I often talk to my single friends about that specific bliss that comes from falling asleep untroubled by a recent relationship quagmire - what one author perfectly names "the exquisite pleasure of uncomplicated happiness." And while there is absolutely an acknowledgment that most humans are social creatures and therefore experience bouts of loneliness when alone, there is also a repeated acknowledgment that there is *nothing wrong with you* if you choose to be single and actually enjoy the resulting freedom. I highly recommend this very affirming read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    This book is a collection of essays about singledom. I was a bit disappointed because very few of the essayists were actually single either at the time of the essay or immediately afterward. Singledom is defined as 'not-married' for this book rather than really single, not in a relationship. And nearly all of the essayists go out of their way to reassure the reader that they're still looking and open to a relationship and either want or get lots of sex, etc. Meaning, none of these essays (except This book is a collection of essays about singledom. I was a bit disappointed because very few of the essayists were actually single either at the time of the essay or immediately afterward. Singledom is defined as 'not-married' for this book rather than really single, not in a relationship. And nearly all of the essayists go out of their way to reassure the reader that they're still looking and open to a relationship and either want or get lots of sex, etc. Meaning, none of these essays (except the faux boyfriends one, aka relationships with handymen) resonated with me as someone who is single, does not want or need sex from anyone, and is not looking for a relationship either actively or passively. With only a few exceptions, singledom is related as a temporary place to be rather than being happy there and not wanting to be otherwise. So, I like essays about people but this wasn't the book it really seemed like it would be, for me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    More like 3.5, but seeing as it's a collection of essays it's a bit hard to rate since some of the essays were excellent, some were good, and others not so much. Also, although the title implies that single women can be happy being single, a lot of the women who wrote in the book were still on the quest for love. I was hoping for more "I'm single and that's great and I don't need to be married" collection. There definitely some of those. Also I was hoping for more essays by women who were single More like 3.5, but seeing as it's a collection of essays it's a bit hard to rate since some of the essays were excellent, some were good, and others not so much. Also, although the title implies that single women can be happy being single, a lot of the women who wrote in the book were still on the quest for love. I was hoping for more "I'm single and that's great and I don't need to be married" collection. There definitely some of those. Also I was hoping for more essays by women who were single mothers by choice. There was only one and she was married to a partner who she didn't live with. Again, I wanted more "I'm single and doing this and whatever about marriage".

  6. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    A fantastic bunch of writing inspiring the next generation of single women.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I had meant to just browse the Women's Studies section in the bookstore but the title on the spine caught my eye. Next thing I knew, I was walking out of the store with "Single State of the Union" in a bag. "Single" is a collection of short essays dealing with different aspects of the single woman's life: the relatives, friends, and strangers asking why she's single and trying to set her up with a man, living alone, choosing single status over marital status, single mothers, widows, single women I had meant to just browse the Women's Studies section in the bookstore but the title on the spine caught my eye. Next thing I knew, I was walking out of the store with "Single State of the Union" in a bag. "Single" is a collection of short essays dealing with different aspects of the single woman's life: the relatives, friends, and strangers asking why she's single and trying to set her up with a man, living alone, choosing single status over marital status, single mothers, widows, single women and sex, and single women traveling the world. The sections that I identified with the most are "How Come a Nice Girl Like You Isn't Married?", "Marriage Can Wait", "The Single Girl", and (to an extent) "Live Alone and Like It". I sort of breezed through the sex and single mothers sections because sex and kids aren't my thing, but it was important to read them anyway. It was just so relieving to read about other single women who are going/have been throught the same thing I've been going through my whole life and to know that I'm not alone. These women voice exactly what I've been trying to say (but no one seems to listen) about being single, that it's ok and there's nothing wrong with me, that maybe being coupled with a man isn't for me (even if I would be ok with the idea of having a boyfriend in general). Some essays are hilarious, some break your heart, but almost all of them will have you nodding your head furiously in agreement while shrieking, "YES, I know how that is!". Possibly the best essays are Bella DePaulo's "Single All the Way" and Amy Thomas' "An Open Letter to Mom, Deana, Mary, and the Folks at Work". Thomas' essay says everything that I've been wishing people would understand; no, I may not have met someone, I would LIKE to meet someone, but let me be alone and successful for awhile. DePaulo's discussion of her single studies has made me so interested, that I've just put in a hold request at the local library for her book "Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still LIve Happily Ever After". "Single State of the Union" has helped me accept myself a little bit more and that it really IS ok to be single, despite society and family spazzing at you that if you're not married or coupled, you're a freak. I know I've been sucked into the "happily ever after" fantasy through my whole childhood, teenage years, and a little of my early 20s, but I was able to break free and embrace singlehood. This book will certainly be an immediate "go-to" if I ever fall back into the "I'm alone and need a man" fog and forget that I can be an independent woman. Don't get me wrong, having someone to love and to love you back is a great thing, but not to the point of sacrificing yourself and demeaning yourself to be insubordinate. Being single is no reason to be shunned! I highly recommend this book to any single woman who needs a pick-me-up or who is tired of being called out and badgered for not having a significant other in their life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    As I am a fan of the short story, I quite enjoyed this little book. A collection of essays, arranged into several "sections" intended to address multiple aspects of this particular type of female experience. One of my favorite things about it has to be the fact that this collection of voices is quite stratified; women from a broad age range and who have had eclectic and divergent experiences. Speaks to young adults through the golden years. All of the material herein is probably relevant to any g As I am a fan of the short story, I quite enjoyed this little book. A collection of essays, arranged into several "sections" intended to address multiple aspects of this particular type of female experience. One of my favorite things about it has to be the fact that this collection of voices is quite stratified; women from a broad age range and who have had eclectic and divergent experiences. Speaks to young adults through the golden years. All of the material herein is probably relevant to any girl living a life, single or not. Because after all, we are all single in one way or another.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    I enjoyed many of the essays in this book however I was also disappointed that many of them were written by women who were in relationships. I guess the definition of single was not married or not currently married. I am interested to read a book written by one of the essayists...Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored and Still Live Happily Ever After by Bella DePaulo.

  10. 4 out of 5

    AJ

    This was a pretty entertaining book of essays. However I was shocked at how many of the essays, even when they wrote about how much they hated the "happily ever after (with a man)" storyline, finished their essays with something like "and then I got married." Probably close to half of these essays were written by people who are currently married after having spent some time time single.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne Urbanski

    I started reading this book years ago when it was sent along in a press package. I never got a chance to review the book but wish I had, it offers really great perspectives from women who are single at many ages (twenties through sixties) and successfully argues against marriage as a necessity. As a woman who always has been and always will be single, this book is endlessly valuable for me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lexi

    My overall feelings about this book: Ehhhh. The essays are really blah. As a proud single woman, I was hoping to find some sort of connection to this collection of essays. Even the one by Margaret Cho (trust me, I'm a big fan) was supremely anti-climactic. You could definitely pass on this one.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Larsen

    Disappointed to find that several of the contributors were actually eventually married or in sustained long-term relationships. Only a handful of the essays actually reflected what it truly was to spend life single, like traveling, dining and attending weddings alone.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michele Minor

    This book is a good book for single women no matter their age or if they are single or single again. It has various essays from women discussing the different aspects of being single though none of them are bitter and angry about being single or even of marrying later in life.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I enjoyed this collection of essays. I inevitably didn't relate to/agree with the views of each author, but found myself nodding in agreement when reading some if the essays.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I loved this book. It was smart, funny, poignant, and a joy to read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I enjoyed this collection of stories, especially Judy McGuire's take on co-habitating. Even if you are partnered, you should read it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    yeah. i bought this. i'm weird.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Yes! Any single woman in the midwest (land of couples!) needs to read this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Gordon

    Some of the essays were more enjoyable than others, but overall, empowering and inspiring. Women don't need to wait around for "Mr. Right" to lead happy, fulfilling lives!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    How could you not? Love life and pursuit of happiness.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    Delightful. Hilarious at times but always inspiring and thought-provoking as well.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    Great read for any single woman (especially those 30 years+).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    a great collection of essays by fabulous single women.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Yesica

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lani

    Wrote a long review, close the window like an idiot. Dammit.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Luisa Jardinero

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

  29. 5 out of 5

    Justine

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

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