Kathryn Brown's Reviews > Lonely: A Memoir

Lonely by Emily White
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's review
Oct 10, 2010

really liked it
Read from September 07 to October 10, 2010

The reason why I (like most people) enjoy reading memoirs is because I long for the sense of relating to another human being. I enjoyed reading this book and got a lot out of the author's own personal experiences.

Over the past few years, I have noticed a sense of loneliness in myself, and when a friend mentioned this book, I immediately wanted to read it. I have a tendency to be independent - almost to a fault, but lately, I'm realizing that this part of my own nature doesn't entirely serve me well. I'm realizing that perhaps I am just desiring relationships with more depth that are founded on common interests, and relationship building takes a lot of time.

Anyways, the author did a good job of weaving her own personal experience with scientific studies, which I appreciated since I happen to work in a scientific field. What I most appreciated about this book was the notion of stigma. Loneliness isn't something that anyone that I know is ready to own. I struggle with depression and have no problem claiming that, but loneliness is an entirely different matter. Over lunch one day at work, I even hestiated to tell my co-workers that I was reading this book, but then, I dismissed my initial reaction; I would only be perpetuating the stigma associated with loneliness.

I like this quote: 'I know that lonely people have things to say about their loneliness -- about how it makes them feel, and behave, and think; about how they feel walking into a room or bar; about how strange it is to unplug the phone after a weekend of loneliness. So long as we stigmatize loneliness, however, we're not going to hear about any of this. So long as the state remains taboo, there's a big wide stretch of human feeling and experience we're simply going to miss.'

Oh, the one thing that I am not so sure I liked about the book was the fact that the author's solution to her loneliness was in finding and meeting a partner. Perhaps I am still in my fiercely independent mindset, but still, I think that having a partnership is only one solution and that it's important to create a supportive social network, too. IMHO.
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message 1: by Ruby (new) - added it

Ruby Wow, that's it! I am obsessed with memoirs and you helped me figure out why. I feel less lonely when I read them! It is lovely to connect with people at such a deep level, even via the pages of a book. Maybe it's also "safer" than being at that level of intimacy with another human? Great observation, in any case

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