Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Book Review: Spinster by Kate Bolick

I wanted to love this book. I did love this book, until I started reading it and then I realized it was not what I was expecting at all. Sometimes, that can be a great thing to go into a book with a hopeful heart and other times...

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick

“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.


I feel like I should preface this with I've never given a two star review before that I can remember. If a rating is that low I tend to sweep it under the rug. Nobody needs negativity like that in the book universe, but sadly I signed up to blog about this book so I had to share my thoughts.

I should have known I was setting up myself for failure when I read this synopsis. It was almost too good to be true and that turned out to be exactly right. Now, this book had it's awesome one liners and I even thought that last chapter was going to pull it up another star because it started off so well but I just wasn't interested in such a heavy history lesson.

Kate Bolick is obviously talented, that much is plain from her witty segments that the reader only gets glimpses of in this story. It was my mistake for not realizing how heavily Bolick would feature these pioneering women throughout the book. Yes, you need to read and learn from history, but that's now what a lot of women are going to pick this book up for.

I wanted to know what the Spinster woman is like NOW and maybe how she compares to women in history. Even some of the women that were the pioneers were not in fact Spinsters.

Then there's the topic of the non-spinster life that Bolick has lead and continues to lead in relationship after relationship.

It took me forever to get through this and I held out til the very end for that redemption and it never came.

In other news: Dear authors, I STILL want to read about the Spinster life as it is now outside of NYC. I have the library, the internet and old spinsters I can interview at work. I don't need someone else to do the research for me and then write it like a well written secondary education history paper with proper annotations and the like.

I received this book free from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own. No affiliate links, if you want to read it check your library. Better yet, I can mail it to you because I have a nice hard copy that will sit sadly on my shelf or be donated to the library.

My last Blogging for Books experience was so wonderful, that I'm not letting this one taint my experience with them at all. Make sure you check them out!


  1. I'm sorry to hear you didn't like the book, but you stuck to your guns with the review and that's all we could ask for! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. Ugh it sucks to have to review a book you didn't like! But now we know!

  3. yeah looking at the cover and reading the synopsis, this book looks and sounds super fun. but your review definitely does not make me want to read it, i'd hate it. thanks for sharing!

  4. It is always so hard when you don't like or connect with a book but you have to be honest and maybe someone will really like it. To each their own right?!

  5. Ughhh I hate when I offer to review a book and then it is awful!!!! I think that you did your best with your review though and it is better to be honest because that is why they ask you to review :) I hope your next one is awesome!!!!!

  6. I'm bummed that this book wasn't very good. Based off the synopsis, title, and cover it had so much appeal!


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