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On My Own: The Art of Being a Woman Alone Paperback – March 25, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After two divorces and more than two decades as a psychoanalyst, Falk is an expert on the concept of being a woman alone—a term she prefers because "as a distinct category within women's culture, it formally elevates our presence and status, helps us to achieve visibility and expression, and allows us to redress our marginalized state." Hyperbole aside, there's no denying that to embrace being a woman alone isn't easy in a society where "bachelors are always eligible," while " 'spinsters,' almost by definition, are ready for the dumpster." But as Falk makes clear in this useful and appealing manual, it's inaccurate, unfair and unhealthy to equate being alone with being unwanted or a failure. Some may cringe at her flowery language, but she offers plenty of evidence for her central thesis that "aloneness is an opportunity, a state brimming with potentiality, with resources for renewed life." Drawing from her own experiences, those of her patients, and examples from such writers as Marion Milner and cultural figures like Kitty Carlisle Hart, Falk offers plenty of material to help even women with partners to understand the distinction between being abandoned and choosing to be alone, and to appreciate the healing and nurturing benefits of solitude. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Florence Falk’s On My Own is a provocative, smart read for any woman who is alone, wants to be alone, or is figuring out how to be alone. An empowering, emotionally honest book that is long overdue.”
—Amy Sohn, author of Run Catch Kiss and My Old Man

“In On My Own Florence Falk bravely and soulfully invites women to reimagine aloneness—to see it as a gift rather than a failure. Her book is a call to wholeness, independence, and empowerment.”
—Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues

“Finally, an insightful and powerful book that guides us towards inner freedom that is possible when we befriend aloneness. This is for all women, single or not: The stories and practical guidance offered in this book teach us about living and loving fully.”
—Tara Brach, Buddhist teacher and author of
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400098114
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400098118
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
57%
4 star
30%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
13%
See all 23 customer reviews
Most of us women will eventually be alone.
maryellen
I have been suddenly forced to be alone after 30 "Long" Years of Marriage!!
Judith A. Winston
I feel like this book was just what I needed to feel comfortable with it.
ApricotMoon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Gwenyth Jackaway, Ph.D. on April 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
On My Own is a revolutionary book. Florence Falk offers deep insight about the social and cultural frames that encourage women to see being alone as a "problem". Beautifully written, it traces, with true sensitivity, the many complex and often conflicting forces that 'contribute' to a woman's 'aloneness'. She boldly encourage us to shatter the paradigm, and reframes solitude as a positive state, a place of power, to be celebrated and explored with enthusiasm.

Around this country, millions of women, single or deeply lonely in their relationships, wrestle with questions about the role and place of partnership in their lives. This remarkable book offers us a way to see our aloneness in a new way....helping us to celebrate our solitude as a state of liberation.

It's hard to imagine a woman whose life would not be touched by reading this book. For many women, Falk's message will come as a key, unlocking a door they may never have known was even there.... and lives will change, forever. For some, perhaps, it will be revolutionary, and the change will come with great force. For others, it may be like a small stone, dropped into water, the rings rippling out gently, wider and wider... but either way, I am convinced, lives will transform. Give this book to a woman you know who is ready for freedom!
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Rowan Reader on August 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Art of Being a Woman Alone - now there's a subject which needed to be addressed. Women today (and for most of recorded history) have been culturally expected - even driven - to sacrifice themselves for others. More recently, ideals emerged which allowed women to seek their own interests and careers, and in todays world, most women know instinctively that they HAVE to be able to support themselves (and children if they have them) as men are no longer required to support them.
This, understandably, creates pressure.

In our modern drive to have everything, women have lost their Self. By losing one's Self, according to Falk, a person loses the ability to stand alone, to be self-sufficient, to enjoy solitude without being lonely and bereft. In addition, when one's Self is damaged or missing, there is nothing protecting you from psychic damage from friends, lovers, and the world in general.

In many ways, our culture resists the import of a woman who is able to stand alone. If you are valuing your own self, you are selfish - a horrible accusation to make of any girl or mother. If you cultivate your own interests, or enjoy your own company, you are self-absorbed - again, a negative. Falk wants us to take joy in selfishness, as we re-imagine ourselves and make peace with who we truly are. She wishes that more women would take time to be self-absorbed, to glory in the creative, WHOLE person who has been submerged for so long by our society, our relationships, and abuse.

Which brings me to the "almost inspiring." Falk finds it necessary to trace in microscopic detail the failed relationships, parental and peer abuse, and overarching societal pressure which causes modern women to lose their Self. This is an amazing downer in a book intended to inspire.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By P. Sridharan on January 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm a 25 year old single woman who lives alone, works, and goes to grad school. I was thoroughly captivated by this book, not only because of the writing, but because I realized more and more how essential this book is to every woman. Falk is right, most books exploit the insecurities of women, this book actually takes a different viewpoint and grounds its claims on reality. Instead of looking outward, it forces the reader to look inside. When you focus on yourself and improving yourself, the circumstances of your life improve. When you focus on trying to rationalize the behaviors of others, you neglect yourself and get farther away from your true self.

There are times I feel alone and insecure and times and when those moments creep up, I tend to pick up this book and read it again and soon I realize, I had just simply lost sight.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Corinne H. Smith VINE VOICE on July 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
If only our culture had an extra rite of passage: one that required all young people, both men and women, to live on their own for at least six months before entering into any kind of emotional and intimate relationship. What benefits we would reap! Many of us move right from our parents' home or from a college dorm room into a live-in arrangement or a marriage. As a result, we never have a chance to learn how to be responsible for ourselves or even to figure out who we are as individuals. It's no wonder we get derailed when those relationships invariably end and we're left ALONE. Then we *have* to learn how to survive, and fast.

"On My Own: The Art of Being a Woman Alone" addresses the aftermath. Women, amazingly enough, are still the most vulnerable individuals and as a group have the least amount of experience living alone. It's not that they have to be taught how to behave, as much as they have to be reassured that it's OK to be on their own in the first place. Shame and fear are among the major issues they may have to work to overcome. Those who embrace solitude as a time for reflection, creativity, and regrouping are the ones who thrive and succeed.

Florence Falk studies all of the aspects of such situations, beginning with the societal pressure to be beautiful, skinny, and part of a couple; then adding to those expectations the overriding childhood influences of parents and peers, as well as the lure of addictive habits to escape from them all. This is, therefore, a much fuller treatment than the title indicates. It's really a psychological scrutiny of the general lifestyle of the contemporary American woman.
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