Published by Pocket Books on 1/26/16
Genres: Women's Fiction
From the coauthor of He’s Just Not That Into You and a former story editor for Sex and the City, How to Be Single is about one woman’s attempts to navigate a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love.
Julie Jenson is a single thirty-seven-year-old book publicist in New York. When her friend Georgia’s husband leaves her for a samba teacher, she forces Julie to organize a single girls’ night out to remind her why it’s so much fun not to be tied down. But the night ends up having the opposite effect on Julie. Fed up with the dysfunction and disappointments of singledom, Julie quits her job and sets off to find out how women around the world are dealing with this dreaded phenomenon. From Paris to Brazil to Sydney, Bali, Beijing, Mumbai, and Reyjavik, Julie falls in love, gets her heart broken, sees the world, and learns more than she ever dreamed possible. All the while her friends at home are grappling with their own issues—bad blind dates, loveless engagements, custody battles, single motherhood, and the death of a loved one.
When I received a copy of this book for review and it was pointed out to me that this is the book that Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson’s new movie is based off of, I got really excited. I mean, come on. That trailer makes the movie look hilarious. So I happily dove in headfirst.
How to Be Single has a sort of Eat, Pray, Love feel to it. It involves a lot of soul searching and self-discovery, all revolving around love and marriage.
“I don’t think you can ever just sit back and let love find you. Love isn’t that clever. Love isn’t actually all that concerned about you.”
The story is told from Julie’s point of view and we mostly are along for her journey. She decides to write a book documenting what it’s like to be a single woman and date in different parts of the world – France, Brazil, Australia, India, to name just a few – and getting to experience those places with her is a lot of fun. But woven within that are the lives of her closest friends and their own struggles with being single, whether it be newly divorced or never married. Given that the home base for all of these women is New York City, it has a bit of a Sex and the City vibe which was fun also.
“Maybe we should stop watching films and listening to music that makes it seem like people are falling in love and living happily ever after as often as they buy chewing gum. They should tell us that it’s more like winning the lottery. Lots of people play, but very few actually win.”
While reading this book was fun overall, it was also pretty frustrating at times. These women are supposed to be in their late thirties and some of their actions were more like those of teenagers. I felt at times like they needed more emotional maturity. It was usually followed up with a bout of self-discovery and growth so it was forgivable in a way. Hey, nobody’s perfect right?
But my biggest complaint is the complete lack of satisfaction I felt at the end. I kept waiting for something else to happen and it felt like a let down. There was so much build-up of one particular storyline and though I hardly see how it could have gone any other way, I wanted so much more. I just didn’t feel any sense of comfort or closure when it was all over and it really tainted my feelings about the story as a whole. I think a slightly different ending could have driven my rating much higher.
All in all, it was a fun book to read. I’m even more interested to watch the movie now and I think if you’re looking for a book with slightly older main characters than the norm, with a sexy, girl power flair, then How to Be Single will push all of your buttons.