Spinster by Kate Bolick
This book is not what I expected it to be. I think I was looking for something slightly less memoire and containing some measure of humor. That isn’t to say that Ms. Bolick isn’t a great writer; she managed to take a book that I probably would never have read had I truly understand what I was in for and make it interesting. But in case you thought this would be an out-loud feminist discussion, it’s not that. At least, it isn’t entirely that.
This is a very subtle book. At times I wasn’t really certain where it was going. Ms. Bolick chooses to tell us her own story of not desiring marriage by sharing the life stories of her “five awakeners” (a term that, I should say, had my rolling my eyes each time it appeared). All white women with some economic means, these women are certainly interesting, and do a passable job of demonstrating the challenges women have faced when choosing a path that doesn’t match the one that it seems most everyone else is both taking and expecting them to take.
This book can’t help but be a very narrow study, as it is a memoire of sorts; it is about Ms. Bolick’s life and struggle with her desire to have control over her life on her own terms. She isn’t asexual; she has many relationships, and experiences love. She just doesn’t think that marriage is on her list. And while this is about her experiences, I have to say I wish that one of her “awakeners” had been a woman of color. Ms. Bolick also makes some comments regarding women in the workplace that I don’t necessarily think hold true for non-white women, even though they are presented as universal truths. Hmmm.
Like I said, it’s not what I was expecting. If the title and a couple of two-sentence synopses made you interested in the book, I suggest reading a few more reviews before picking it up to make sure it’s where you want to spend your time.