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Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto Paperback – January 7, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
In this compendium of everyone who was anyone who ever spent a moment alone, readers bump fleetingly into Kurt Cobain, French Resistance fighters, the Lone Ranger ("Tonto notwithstanding"), Michelangelo, Alexander Pope, John Lennon, cowboys, Saint Anthony and other solo acts. Rufus, the books editor of East Bay Express, views Degas's plain-faced dancers as "pretty ballerinas" whom the artist leaves every time he exits his studio, and Warhol's biography as "tellingly titled Loner at the Ball." She chases her motif, not so much a manifesto as a cri de coeur, through an assortment of perspectives: religion, advertising, clothes, crime, art, eccentricity, environment, literature, religion and popular culture. She also identifies "pseudoloners" like Theodore Kaczynski and Jesus Christ (who "was too good at guiding crowds to have been one of us"). There's an us/them tone to this book that makes one wonder who the audience might be. The "us" people "do not need writers to tell us how lovely apartness is"; the "them" people will surely weary of being identified as "Nonloners. The world at large. The mob." Taken in column-sized doses, Rufus may be entertaining and informative, but her book feels as if too much random information has been cut-and-pasted together.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A founding manifesto for an organization of self-contained people.... A clever and spirited defense." -- Kirkus Reviews (January 1, 2003)
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Top customer reviews
The author will painstakingly show you, with lots of examples from all walks of lives, past and present, from business, religion or academia, that it's not a crime to be alone. I didn't realize that it is even possible to be alone stress-free without even a hint of shame, and I was very skeptical of the premise of the book, at least for the first 10 to 20 pages. Loners like me have an ingrained belief that to be alone, you need to have some valid, convincing excuses to do so as it is against the social norm and therefore, not encouraged or acceptable. We have been told, since we were very young, that it's not okay to be a loner and we should be friendly to others. This notion is so deep-rooted that it did actually take me the whole book to realize that we are doing nothing wrong by being alone. I thought this loner characteristic of mine is something to be remedied somewhere down the road, but the author says otherwise. Just as converting a gay guy into a straight is stressful and catastrophic (okay, a bad example... but I'm not Rufus. You get the point), forcing yourself into an extrovert will not end well (and in retrospect, that's why I've been constantly distressed). Loners are a very skeptical animal and I know that you won't buy my argument (my former self wouldn't have either) and that's why you need to get ahold of the book.
Loners, by definition, do not gather around with like-minded people and form a group like yoga classes or poker buddies. Just because there is no such thing as loners anonymous (an oxymoron) does not mean that we are living an unacceptable form of life.
I'd recommend the book for non-loners as well. If you ever wonder why your boyfriend thinks you are clingy when you think you are not, get a copy of the book and you'll have a peek into loners' mindset, and his behavior should make more sense to you (provided that he is a true loner, not an accidental loner like serial killers. See the book for the difference between the two). Loners are not the mainstream but all the more because of our minority status, it would be nice if you have some basic understanding of who we are and how we think, if you happen to have some loners in your life.
I sometime go back to the book to remind myself that it's okay to politely decline if you don't want to hang out with others and enjoy the me time without guilt. A very eye-opening, empowering must read for introverts or loners.
I couldn't do it. I tried a couple more chapters and just can't read any more of this diatribe. When I heard about the book I had so hoped it would present a case for why loners are loners. I hoped to gain some insights on some deeper level. I did not expect to be bombarded with anecdotal accounts and unsupported "evidence". It feels like an opportunity lost, a promise unkept. A very interesting subject and one needing a well researched book. This one is nothing more than a thorough venting of the author's spleen. What a disappointment.