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.

I realized as I was reading this that Kate Bolick’s book is my first foray into the genre of Feminist Theory. I’ve skated around it, but never actually read true “Social Science-FT.” Probably should read more of that, huh?

However. If this is Feminist Theory, I’m not sure I want it. This was extremely confusing, and I’m still not sure what Bolick’s feelings are on Spinsterhood. I also never ever want to hear the phrase “erotic capital” again. Ever.

It wasn’t all bad. I did find the parts on the historical women interesting. These were all women I didn’t know much about, and reading more about them was the reason I picked this book out of the lineup. Bolick used their lives to relate to her own, though, and I’m not sure they totally matched up. It was sort of like when you’re telling a friend a story, and she says “Oh, I know exactly how that is…” and then starts talking about something only sort of related…but completely different. That’s what this book felt like.

I almost felt like Bolick wrote this book to convince herself it was ok to be alone. I don’t disagree with her–there is nothing wrong with being alone. But most of the book she is in long term relationship after long term relationship, almost getting married and jumping ship at the last minute. She’s almost never alone. Unmarried, but not alone.

So…my rating here is…confusion? How many Book Dragons is that?


Blogging for Books provided a copy for an unbiased review.



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