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Single Woman of a Certain Age: 29 Women Writers on the Unmarried Midlife--Romantic Escapades, Empty Nests, Shifting Shapes, and Serene Independence Hardcover – September 29, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; F First Edition, First Printing edition (September 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930722583
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930722583
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,206,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If there is a best way to safely traverse the treacherous waters of a single midlife, none of the 28 writers who contributed to Ganahl's collection has found it. Of the five thematic sections (dating, giving up myths, personal growth, independence and children), the funniest collects dating stories, including Ellie Slott Fisher's concerns about her love life affecting her children: "A cool mom is one thing, but a red-hot mama is utterly disturbing." Wendy Merrill, whose family describes her dating history as "Wendy's catch-and-release program," dryly notes, "Whatever I have contempt for, I should set a place for it at my table, because it's either already in my life or it's coming." (In her case, alcoholism, eating disorders and being a "serial mater.") Possibly the best-known contributor is Merrill Markoe, David Letterman's former collaborator and girlfriend, whose amusing essay feels out of place, since she discusses her live-in boyfriend. A few works delve into thera-speak: one writer suggests "we replace 'empty nest syndrome' with 'open nest syndrome,'" while another, remarking about a road trip she and her boyfriend are on, informs readers, "Our other journey-the one we're on as a couple-is in its fifth year." Readers who can overlook this preciousness will enjoy the other warm voices of compassionate, hard-earned knowledge within.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Inside Flap

"An intriguing look at life and love in the over-forty lane. Spinsterhood never seemed so sexy—or so smart." —Autumn Stephens, Editor, Roar Softly and Carry a Great Lipstick

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Read it if you want to laugh out loud.
Catherine McMillan
This book resonates with emotional intensity like those moments in real life when every emotion seems almost painfully bright.
Smita Rao
This is highly recommended, thoughtful and thought-provoking reading.
Midwest Book Review

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kcorn TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I am no longer single, I have often wondered what would happen and (like so many of the women in this book), I lost my spouse unexpectedly, jarring my usual lifestyle.

Once the worst of the grief passed, hoow would life be different than when I was a youthful, idealistic 20 year old just starting out on my path in life, choosing my career and looking for a possible partner? How had I changed since then? How would that affect my life now? How would I forge a new identity, date, possibly open myself up to remarriage?

I was also curious about how living as a single woman over 40 would compare to being single in one's 20s, when viewpoints (and, possibly, physical appearance) can be quite different from women who have aged, gone through several relationships and, as a result, possibly matured and grown wiser.

This book didn't disappoint. While some selections were bittersweet, otherw were humorous, matter of fact or deeply honest. When I finished this book, I felt better for the experience. I also loved the fact that it can be picked up and read in sections, not having to go through it in any particular order.

Several selections stood out but I particularly liked Joyce Maynard's account of an online dating experience with a guy who seened promising online but, in person, presented a much different personality than she expected, making a simple discussion over cup of Chai seem...painful and baffling. She portrays the baffling world that can confront women who bravely risk dating but with different perspectives than when they were younger. As I read her account, I felt like I was right there, living every uncomfortable and agonizing moment (but it was written with a light touch and parts were humorous). This is just one of many standout pieces in this collecton.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By hrladyship on November 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The success of "Sex and the City" and the apparent success of books like this one surely must be indicative of a whole new culture in America, that of single women over 40. Can it be that we're fast becoming a force to be reckoned with? In this youth-centered world we call America, we have to be the fastest growing group.

That is one reason I was hoping for a little more from this book. These 29 women are survivors. They haven't been beaten down by our being regarded as disposable items. But surviving isn't the same as living. They've found their niche in life, so to speak, with satisfaction but sometimes there's no joy. Are their voices subdued because they're afraid if someone hears, they might lose it all?

There is a lot of disappointment here. But there is also hope. Each one still has a long way to go in this life, many years in which to live, not only survive. And they seem strong enough, determined enough. Surely they have already experienced many positive events or moments. Those are what keep them going. And those I would have loved to read about more.

I can relate so strongly to the underlying sadness in many of these stories. There is joy in their wisdom, greater freedom and independence. And the attitude that says I got through this, and I can get through whatever else comes along, can encourage us all.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. Newton on October 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In Europe, women "of a certain age" are revered for their life experience, their sexiness, curves and elegant wrinkles. We forget this in our youth-obsessed culture, but this book reminds us why women in midlife are show-stoppingly truthful, witty, wry, beautiful, and powerful.

I loved Susan Griffin's poetic travelogue; Cameron Tuttle's gravity-epiphany; Irene Sherlock's heart-wrenching (and familiar) reentry into the dating world; and the unforgettable Ms. Gonick and her cowboy!

Almost all of the essays are excellent, though, representing different voices, experiences, and places we land in our lives. This book is a great gift to women.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Antimony3 on March 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This compilation of essays is at times very interesting and at other times just plain odd. Being a semi-single woman on the verge of marriage, I find anything about the study of singledom to be fascinating. It was interesting to me to see the various situations that led to the singledom of these women and in many instances the stories were humorous enough to keep me reading long past my bedtime. In a culture where being single is both frowned upon and secretly admired, I was not surprised to see those sentiments reflected in the essays. Most of the stories are written by women in their 40's that live on the West coast. They are either single by choice, divorce, or death. Some don't want to be single at all and that is just their lot in life. This would be a good women's book club selection as it is sure to provoke discussion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beeline on May 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I found the honesty in this book to be very inspiring. I found both humor and sadness echoing my own experiences with navigating the single life as a woman in her late forties. It is a wonderful book in the sense that the truths to the stories are geniune and unique-- yet offer a sense of community with the single mid-life women like me. A great read!
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