Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

Kate Bolick

Bolick, Kate; Spinster2
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication date: 19-Apr-2016
Date Finished: 23-Jun-2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
Series: —
Genres: Nonfiction, Feminism, Social Science, Autobiography, Memoir
ISBN: 9780385347150
Source: Blogging for Books
Rating:5 star

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book

“Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman’s existence.”

So begins Spinster, a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why­ she—along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing—remains unmarried.

This unprecedented demographic shift, Bolick explains, is the logical outcome of hundreds of years of change that has neither been fully understood, nor appreciated. Spinster introduces a cast of pioneering women from the last century whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama have emboldened Bolick to fashion her life on her own terms: columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. By animating their unconventional ideas and choices, Bolick shows us that contemporary debates about settling down, and having it all, are timeless—the crucible upon which all thoughtful women have tried for centuries to forge a good life.

Intellectually substantial and deeply personal, Spinster is both an unreservedly inquisitive memoir and a broader cultural exploration that asks us to acknowledge the opportunities within ourselves to live authentically. Bolick offers us a way back into our own lives—a chance to see those splendid years when we were young and unencumbered, or middle-aged and finally left to our own devices, for what they really are: unbounded and our own to savor. -Goodreads


If I had to describe this book’s effect on me in one word it would be reassuring. I was reassured that I am free to make my own decisions in life. I was reassured that I don’t have to be married to be happy. I was reassured that I don’t have to have children of my own to make my life worthwhile. It is a great feeling when you are reassured that you can stay on your life’s track as you dictate it.

This book is beautifully written. The story is told in an easy, conversational style that had me crying and curious throughout the book. The duality of the book was a great way to demonstrate the effect of her “awakeners” on the author. The story of the author is told in short stories intermixed with history lessons from her great “awakeners.” You may be wondering who these “awakeners” are, they are women in history who had a profound influence on Kate Bolick’s life. Her’s are Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Neith Boyce, Meave Brennan, and Edith Wharton. Out of all of her influencers, the only one I had heard of before this novel is Edith Wharton, as I had read her novel “The Age of Innocence” last year. All of these women  shared Bolick’s passion for writing and through them, Bolick was able to accept herself and her life.

Going into this book I expected to be mildly entertained, what I got out of it was so much more. I now want to find my own “awakeners”.

Another thing to note is that this novel is beautifully designed. I love the historic twist on the cover with a bold color that stands out.

What’s your view on staying single?

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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