Live Alone and Like It: The Classic Guide for the Single Woman
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Live Alone and Like It: The Classic Guide for the Single Woman

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  139 ratings  ·  38 reviews
"Whether you view your one-woman ménage as Doom or Adventure, you need a plan, if you are going to make the best of it."

Thus begins Marjorie Hillis' archly funny, gently prescriptive manifesto for single women. Though it was 1936 when the Vogue editor first shared her wisdom with her fellow singletons, the tome has been passed lovingly through the generations, and is even...more
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Published November 29th 2009 by 5 Spot (first published 1936)
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Melissa
sounds like a self-help book, and in a way, I suppose it is. But it's so much more. . .
I found this book quite by accident--on a bargain shelf at an indy store in Asheville. I was travelling with a friend and we decicded it was too fun to pass up. We spent the next few days reading bits and pieces of it to each other and were soon referring to Marjorie regularly. For instance, I was debating about buying a dress, and Adrienne insisted that Marjorie would demand that I buy it. So I bought it.
At a...more
Phyllis
This book, originally published in 1936, is apparently the great-grandmother of all advice books telling single women how to live right lest anyone think they're totally pathetic for being all alone in cold, cruel world. Marjorie Hillis has a really arch style of writing that's appealing, but some of her case studies of various single ladies and what they did wrong are so condescending and petty they made me feel like I was reading an ungodly combination of HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN and SEX AND TH...more
HeavyReader
Jan 27, 2012 HeavyReader rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: students of the history of single women in the United States
Shelves: how-to
I got this book to review for the Feminist Review blog. I have mixed feelings about this book, and don't know what rating to give it. I wish I could give it two and a half stars, but since I can't, I will give it the benefit of the doubt and give it three stars.

I will post the full review once I write it.

Here's the complete review from
http://feministreview.blogspot.com/20...:

Potential readers should know two things about this book. First, the author was an editor for Vogue. Second, it was a bes...more
Asma
Returned the book to the library, unfinished :D
This book was so old fashion, and from the 60 pages I read, I felt it was full of repetitions.
I guess the main idea was that people won't feel sorry/bad for you if you're living alone, and YOU are the one who has to go the extra mile to mingle with people so you wouldn't get bored. So obvious, I think!
Jess
This book was adorable. Pertinent, no nonsense advice to the single lady, as appropriate--for the most part--today as in 1936. The bits about your lady's maid were the only evidence of dating. On the whole, uplifting but also sensible advice for living alone--and exactly what this single girl needed to hear.
Anna
I didn't expect to enjoy this witty little book as much as I did. Written by the editor of Vogue in the 1930s, it tells women living along to buck up and enjoy it. Since it is almost 80 years old, some of the advice seems a little dated, but overall it is remarkably timeless. There is a chapter where the author delicately broaches the topic of sex, and it is wonderful to find a book that doesn't just assume single women will be sleeping with boyfriends when they come along, but rather asks them...more
Suvi
If someone had told me a few months ago what book I was going to read today, I would have laughed myself to death. This is so far from my taste in books it's unreal. Generally speaking I of course get a lot of fun out of those old-fashioned etiquette rules and advice for women (thanks Retronaut for the many laughs), but reading an actual book on those topics wouldn't have crossed my mind. However, when I stumbled across Hillis's book a while back, it just looked so cute and endearing, that I had...more
Aneesa
Sep 08, 2010 Aneesa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Fans of Linda Goodman's Sun Signs
I couldn't resist picking up a first edition of this book for far too much at that charming new shop at 21st and Valencia where people were two-stepping in the back and everything (including this book) was covered in sawdust. But I am not an "extra woman" living alone on $100 a month (yes, this book does include actual sample budgets from the year 1936!), so I bought it.

It is really an historical document, and made me think things were actually pretty far along in 1936 (at least in New York, alt...more
Elevate Difference
Potential readers should know two things about this book. First, the author was an editor for Vogue. Second, it was a bestseller in 1936. Those two facts should hint at for whom it was written and warn that much of it is outdated.

This book’s mixed messages caused me to have mixed feelings about it while reading. On the one hand, it empowers women by telling them they can live alone and not only survive, but also thrive. On the other hand, it implies time and again that any woman living alone is...more
Megan Winget
This is a great book - the Marjorie Hillis was a woman who lived alone, and liked it! It's not about how fantastic it is to not have a husband - she's not man-bashing in the slightest - but I think it probably helped many women sort of get on with their lives once they figured out that they probably weren't going to be young brides. And in the 1920s, I'd think that more women were coming to that conclusion, since WWI killed off lots of young men. It wasn't as bad as it was in Europe, where essen...more
Mommalibrarian
If you like the witty movied about The Thin Man or Cary Grant you will probably think this book is a hoot. It is a self-help book for women who for whatever reason find themselves single. There is advice for poor little shopgirls who have moved to the big city and are subsisting on $100 a month, divorcees for the nth time, and those who finally realize they are going to stay single forever. The illustrations have impossibly slinky ladies in big hats and floor length gowns. Everyone has a purse a...more
Eileen
I have an extremely high regard for this book because it is very likely indeed to make any reader snap out of a phase or circuit of feeling sorry for oneself and into actually doing and thinking and having an interesting time. Very highly recommended if you are in any way inclined to self-pity.

Personally, I have always had an excellent time living alone or in large groups and a less excellent time living with one housemate. This is because I have the horrific socialized-western-female tendency t...more
Kyle
This is a splendid little book. The specific practical advice about how many bedjackets a woman ought to own and how to throw a cocktail party featuring aquavit and cheese straws is, perhaps, a little out of date. But the overarching message about the pleasures of independence and the perils of self-pity is as true today as it was 80 years ago.

The illustrations are adorable, too.

This is the kind of book that you'd love to be able to give as a gift to that special single lady in your life (espe...more
Dovile
Charmingly quaint. Seriously outdated, but well written and a fun to read. Despite the attitude that you can't be happy unless you have lots of friends and dinner invitations (which I found somewhat discriminating against those of us for whom any kind of large gathering is just short of torture, not to mention a waste of time), most of the advices are actually quite good, although if you're already living alone and liking it, you probably already have figured them out. I'd recommend this book to...more
Norah
I really don't know how this Bookcrossing book went and got lost in cyberspace. I registered it in the normal way, then it appeared with no journal entry, I searcheed in lots of ways and then finally found it here!!

My original comment was also lost in cyberspace.... I found it amusing, though really very dated but nice in a historical sort of way, and I think it did help a bit my recent change of circumstances though my last partner never actually lived all the time with me. As his daughter said...more
Adrienne
I picked this book up at an outlet store yesterday because it made me laugh, and yes, I have already read the whole thing. Though live-in maid service and the popularity of sherry have gone a bit out of style since 1936, I still found this read to be witty and hilarious. But like the olden days of 1936, there are unfortunately still people in the world who seem to think that being a single "liver-alone" is a tragic state of affairs and that makes this book just as applicable now. Recommended!
Bethany
Advice from the past always suits me well, and I adored this book--and this advice from the past translates very well to the 21st century. Good advice is like a good book: it stands the test of time. Treating yourself well, surrounding yourself with nice things, good company, returning hospitality, and not forgetting that you are a lady with class and style. . .no self-pity here! I do live alone and like it, but I return to this little volume often just for enjoyment and celebration!
Lore
Written during the depression, and written so well. Hillis reminds us of how to take pleasure in the everyday, and how to enjoy the best aspects of being by ourselves. I don't think I'll take her suggestion to go out and buy a nice bed jacket (why would anyone need a bed jacket?) and I don't see myself affording domestic help anytime soon. But this is a smart, feel-good book to go back to again and again.
Christy
hilarious. full of sage advice for single and non-single ladies alike. i was a little hesitant to be seen reading this one on the el, but it was worth it for how funny it was. my favorite part was the chapter about finding things to do in a big city when on a budget (seems to be my life story). "with a reasonable amount of ingenuity," hillis writes, "you can have a marvelous time on practically nothing."
Holly
A book written back when 'living alone' was frowned upon for women in 1936. The author reads like something out of Audrey Hepburn time. It was interesting to see how women were looked at back then and how the author had forward thinking about women. Freeing women to live alone and like it, enjoy not having to answer to anyone, and the pleasures of having the bed all to yourself.
Mia
Charming! I adore this type of book - which always creates a yearning in me for a time I never knew. I imagine myself to be Ginger Rogers or more likely Doris Day(you know, lovely apartment, Thelma Ritter as maid,great job, handsome men ....),although my own extensive career as a single girl was no where NEAR as sophisticated. Loves the 'Cases'!
Joyce
Adorably tart little advice book for single women, just as applicable to today's "Sex and the City" generation as it was in 1936 when it was written. Hillis preaches the old-school virtues of not whingeing, knowing yourself, staying active, taking care of yourself, and did I mention not whingeing?
Janet
Why the "buried treasure" tag? Because reading and absorbing this marvelous 30s gem will unlock a capable, bed-jacket wearing heroine -- who lives the life she wants on her own terms. Bright, brittle and not a trace of whinge. Very much a book that Anglophiles might enjoy.
Phredric
Sexist, classist, and occasionally racist, this also provides honest and practical advice/opinions to anyone living alone - sure some of them are outdated but the basic messages are still valid. Best read in an arch voice (think Penelope Keith if you're English). Charming.
Jewel
I absolute love this book. It's my goal to get my own home. Nothing like your own. There's a song that says, " God bless the child that's got his own. That's got his own." God bless me please. In the mighty name of Jesus.
Megan
I can only hope to age as well as the writing in this book. All the advice was humorous and honest and pertinent. All of it except the bits about having a coloured maid. That of course has fallen out of fashion.
Samantha Colson
This book was simple and short and sweet. I laughed and groaned at some of the recommendations for "Extra Women" in this book. The fact that it was written in the 1930s makes the book even more interesting.
Gretchen
ohhhhh, so delightful. written during the '30s, this book is amazing. it's like your sassy best friend who tells you to be interesting and glamorous and don't give a fuck about anyone else.
Steph
I had no idea this book had been re-issued. So much of this advice is still relevant to those living alone in our family-oriented environment. After all, who couldn't use four bed jackets!
Miriam
This book was a lot of fun to read, witty and breezy. It is interesting to see how much some things have changed since the 1930s, and how much some things haven't.
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Marjorie Hillis was the second child of Annie Louise Patrick Hillis of Marengo, Illinois, and Dr. Newell Dwight Hillis of Magnolia, Indiana, both authors. Mrs. Hillis wrote The American Woman and Her Home (1911). Dr. Hillis was a famed, though sometimes controversial, clergyman who had served as pastor of Plymouth Congressional Church, Brooklyn, from 1899 to 1924. Miss Hillis had a brother, Richar...more
More about Marjorie Hillis...
Orchids on Your Budget Bubbly on Your Budget: Live Luxuriously with What You Have Orchids On Your Budget: Or Live Smartly on What You Have Chic! Vivere con eleganza ai tempi della crisi Elä yksin ja nauti

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“... not talking about things she doesn't understand to people who do or about things she does to people who don't.” 2 likes
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