I started off 2017 getting ghosted by someone I met on OKC, as you do. As a result, I started 2017 feeling bitter above love and convinced that I was going to be single for the rest of forever. Since I enjoyed the film How to be Single so much, I decided my first read of the new year should be the novel it was “based” on, Liz Tuccillo’s How to Be Single.
Let me issue a warning: if you are feeling hopeless about your singledom, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. Although I enjoyed parts of How to Be Single a great deal, I also had a lot of Opinions about it.
First off, the book, like parts of the film that was “based” off of it, portrays singleness in what seemed to me to be unrealistic ways. The main character, Julie, jets off to travel around the world and interview women in other countries about being single (see why I keep using scare quotes when talking about the movie being related to the book?). In the first country she visits on this trip, she meets a gorgeous wealthy man and proceeds to have an affair with him. And when that affair ends, she finds another guy in another country to randomly hook up with.
I can tell you right now I could cart my single ass around the world and likely wouldn’t meet even one man to have an affair with (trust me, I studied abroad.) Like my reaction to certain story arcs in the movie that used the title of this book, I found myself wanting to shake someone and shout “Being a single woman is not a drunken sex romp!” At least, it isn’t always, at least not for all of us. There are as many ways of being single as there are humans on this earth, so it frustrates me when the same stereotypes get perpetuated over and over.
While Julie’s story annoyed me because it seemed wildly implausible, I did enjoy some aspects of the book. Alice’s story arc, for example, really highlights how desperation can hijack your approach to dating. The fear of being that terrible thing–a single woman–can lead us to settle for less than what we (and whoever we settle for) deserve. I was grateful she didn’t end up making the terrible mistake it seemed like she would, because I firmly believe we shouldn’t settle out of fear of loneliness. Her story helped reinforce that for me.
Speaking of fear of loneliness, here is the number one reason why I don’t recommend reading this book when you’re feeling panicked about being a single cat lady forever: there are hella statistics that will depress the daylights out of you. Julie goes on this rambling rant about how, statistically speaking, a lot of us never will find a life partner. Which. Yikes. I’ve felt that panic now and again, but I’ve never really deep down believed it could happen. And then I read this book.
Needless to say, this wasn’t the helpful balm to my disappointed single soul that I thought it would be. While I honestly love my single life a solid 90% of the time, the 10% of me that really hopes I find a great life partner to travel around the world and backpack with was really, really upset by the experience of reading this book.
If you come to this book expecting it to be inspirational and fun like the movie, maybe don’t read it. If you come to this book expecting to actually learn anything helpful about how to live your best life a single woman, maybe don’t read this book. If you come to it expecting a novel about women who are single in various ways and for various reasons that has a sometimes unlikely plot, go for it!