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Single, Carefree, Mellow

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  4,461 ratings  ·  655 reviews
Single, Carefree, Mellow is that rare and wonderful thing: a debut that is superbly accomplished, endlessly entertaining, and laugh-out-loud funny.

Maya is in love with both her boyfriend and her boss. Sadie’s lover calls her as he drives to meet his wife at marriage counseling. Gwen pines for her roommate, a man who will hold her hand but then tells her that her palm is sw
Hardcover, 221 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by Knopf
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  4,461 ratings  ·  655 reviews

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Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the most delightful and real and well-written story collections I've read in years. I can already imagine the complaints about this book—actually, I don't have to imagine, because I've heard them from my coworkers. "Too much adultery!" "I don't like any of the characters!" "I don't understand WHY Maya is cheating on her nice fiance!" "I hate it that the women admit that they're pretty and care about being pretty in the first place!" To all of those I would say, yep, it can be very uncomfo ...more
She held the thought of Marcus in her mind, like a Saint Christopher medal, or a dream catcher, or maybe just a hidden flask of whiskey in her purse--something that made survival possible.

Yes. This one was a real surprise for me (the good kind), since normally you would never catch me willingly picking up a collection of short stories by an unknown (to me) author. And the cover is bubblegum pink (another strike). And features a blurb about how it "gives women's interior lives the gravity they s
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too many adulteries and extramarital stuff, couldn't relate to this "American" girl. The writing wasn't so bad and I laughed twice. Wouldn't give it to anyone to read honestly ...more

3.5 stars. (Update: I'm rounding up to 4 because the stories are sticking with me over time.)

I'm sure someone else has already called this, and I am just inadvertently repeating it, but: Chick Lit as written by a suburbanized Dorothy Parker or Anita Loos (and please know these are writers I hold in very high regard). Hold on to that Dorothy Parker reference, as I will be returning to it when I discuss the book's redeeming qualities... after this brief message.

This is a book of short stories in w
Single, Carefree, Mellow: Stories is a collection of short stories written by author: Katherine Heiny. I experienced this collection via audio, which was read by a full cast. The short stories are listed in order below, along with their narrators, individual ratings (based on my personal enjoyment), and a brief review. An average of the ratings below equals 2.63 stars, which I rounded up to 3 on goodreads. Many of these stories didn't leave much of an impression on me, or they left too much of a ...more
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Every story, every single one, included some level of adultery. I could've handled one, maybe two, but 300+ pages of stories where the main character is somehow a participant in adultery, whether the cheater or the person the married person is cheating with, was too much. I started thinking, "Is adultery this common? Does everyone do it? Am I overreacting?" Because no one in the book, not in any of the stories, appeared to have any moral or ethical objections to the practice. Moreover, no one, s ...more
Elyse  Walters
Dec 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
These are short stories about men and woman.

Topics include cheating, gossip, New York life, drinks at the Bar, A Young girl with the older man, A mother giving a birthday party for her child....
Bad relationships -sex - lovers -boyfriends -girlfriends -ex-wives....etc.

Here is short review of a few of the stories:

In "The Dive Bar", Sasha is a single woman who is dating a married man named Carson. Carson's wife, Anne, calls Sasha wanting to meet for a drink.
Sasha says to Anne, "Well, all my life
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
WOW. Just wow, wow, wow.

I expected basically nothing from this short story collection (never heard of the author before, hadn't heard any early buzz online) and it completely blew me away.

These are short stories in the vein of Melissa Banks' Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing--they are smart about relationships and beautifully written. They are FUNNY. I mean hilarious. I was giggling so hard while reading the bed shook. I highlighted so many passages with the hope of sharing here, but when I w
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I guess "Single, Carefree, Mellow" sells better than "Taken, Adulterous, Liars" as happened to be the case with the majority of the short stories here. The dark sense of humor saved it from being a complete flop for me. ...more
Feb 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Relentless, relentless adultery. If that's your bag, look no further; myself, I was a little dazed at the end from the unremitting hanky-panky. ...more
Karys McEwen
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of book where I involuntarily make noises and can’t help gushing out loud during reading. It is evoking a serious, audible reaction from me. All of the tales are about women in various states of love and relationships (and so far none of them are single…): unrequited, long-term, other woman, online, and platonic but wanting more. They are darkly funny and incredibly intuitive. I read sentences and paragraphs that so perfectly sum up feelings I did not know how to describe. I’m i ...more
Karen M
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Originally reviewed on One More Page...

[I received a copy of Single, Carefree, Mellow from its Canadian publisher HarperCollins Canada. This does not affect my opinion of the book]

When I opened the package containing Katherine Heiny’s first book Single, Carefree, Mellow, I instantly knew that it was the perfect read for Valentine’s Day and that I would want to devour it for the occasion. (Never mind the fact that I actually had a Valentine’s date.) The novel has been blurbed by Lena Dunham, who
Feb 18, 2015 rated it liked it
I found this collection of stories a bit uneven, but mostly good. Heiny does a lot of changing perspective (she uses first, second, and third person here) and even with a unified theme of adultery running throughout much of the collection and some very strong stories, I thought that read a bit gimmicky, trying to tell stories from so many different perspectives and styles. But I hate both list formats ("Thoughts of a Bridesmaid," my least favorite story) and second person ("That Dance You Do") - ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
3.5 stars but upgraded because it's funny. Very funny. I like funny. It should be retitled 'Married (or about to be), Careful (although not that careful), mellow-ish'. Wouldn't be quite as snappy, but more accurate as these stories are all about conducting affairs and not feeling that bad about it. The stories are beautifully brought together, satisfying, quite insightful, and as I say, funny, if a tiny bit glib. ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Heiny's collection of short stories is a series of discontent, for the characters. Rather than a spot of sunshine on happy go lucky guys and gals she gives us a more cynical look into relationships, forbidden or otherwise. Personally, I prefer the writers that expose the ugly side of our messy emotions and terrible choices. Apathetic women and mindless men inhabit the stories, in one a teen is having a slummy relationship with her history teacher, and the sexy cliché is more of a stinky hotel an ...more
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Every so often (and by that I mean very rarely) a book enters your life which seems to meet some deeply-subconscious, previously buried-but-intrinsic need; it seems to answer the big questions you’ve been pondering, it consumes your everyday thoughts, it gives you characters to aspire to, you feel that little bit cooler just for having it’s witty presence in your bag. You find yourself wanting to read great chunks aloud to anyone who will listen (in this case, interrupting the fiance as he strug ...more
debut short stories, smart, info full, dialogy, linked stories, of women controlling their own sex lives, their own lives, and for good or bad, having lots of sex with lots of people, and/or thinking about it anyway. also illustrates just what a small town nyc is. author heiny's modernism reminds me of barthelme's novel of a south texas 'retirement' community. no really, it does. There Must Be Some Mistake: A Novel

her relations of sexy pre-sex communications sets a standard cyrano would have a
Kelly Parker
Mar 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
The worst piece of garbage I've ever read. Basically every short story included some form of infidelity, and none of the characters suffered any consequences. What kind of message was this supposed to send? I want my money back. ...more
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
The question that niggled me while I was reading Single, Carefree, Mellow: When does a story collection cross the line from thematically and stylistically cohesive, to same-y?
The conclusion I reached: When the writing is this good, who cares!
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Having been a Goodreads member since 2008 has given me the tendency to consider how many stars I'm going to rate a book even while I'm still reading it. For Single, Carefree, Mellow, I spent the majority of the time convinced I would give the book five stars.

But then I finished it and started thinking about my review and imagined dropping it down to four stars, almost exclusively because of all the affairs. But I won't - I'm going to keep it at five stars, despite all the affairs and here are th
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Read this and other reviews at Ampersand Read

I read this in just two days, and found the stories to be well-written, quick reads. A central story problem really affected my reading of it, and overall I have read better story collections.

A short rant: Almost every story in here involves a woman having an affair. Wife cheats on husband, girlfriend cheats on fiance, underaged girl sleeps with her middle-aged teacher, woman thinks about cheating on her partner, etc. I think only one story had zero t
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a delightful and impactful read. Heiny excels at mixing humor and pathos. Here's one of my favorite parts. I think it illustrates the tone of the book perfectly:

In the days right after Josie and Billy had sex for the fourth and last time, Chicken Pox called to tell her that Diet Coke was on sale at the supermarket, two packs for ten dollars, and this put Josie in such a black mood that she lied and told Chicken Pox that she got a better deal at the supermarket way outside of t
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
People in various stages of infidelity populate the short stories collected in Katherine Heiny's Single, Carefree, Mellow. Heiny's storytelling doesn't look at the moment an affair begins or when it ends but instead delves into various characters (both men and women) at different points of being unfaithful.

One woman finds herself contemplating the end of a relationship in relation to the death of a beloved pet. Another finds herself being cheating partner finding someone new and becoming more i
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Hum where to start, the synopsis sounded so promising with this book of short stories, which was all about betrayal, future tragedy. The synopsis sounded so entertaining. However I didn't feel the book delivered the emotional feelings in order to have made it successful, it left me feeling flat, there was just to many roads travelled and not in any real reason, it felt detached.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher HarpersPress/4th Estate/The Friday Project for the digital copy to review.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
The description of this book calls it 'laugh-out-loud' funny...
I didn't get it.
The stories in this book center on infidelity, arrogance and sadness. I don't put down many books and I gave up on this one.
Jeanne Boudreau
Mar 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
If you want to read of people having affairs and justifying them, this set of stories is for you. For those of us who believe in fidelity, I don't think you will like these. ...more
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best collections I’ve read in a while.

Faves: How To Give the Wrong Impression, Blue Heroin Bridge, Dark Matter.
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A terrific, insightful friend of mine told me once "everyone's a slut." Her point being, everyone is sleeping together. If you think they're not, because they are friends and she recently lost her husband, guess again. They are. I am not the friend caliber that gets told when people are cheating, which is probably good because I think no one's ever doing it, and when they are my shock is like I'm an active, high ranking Puritan.

In this book, everyone is, it's clearly a central theme for her and
Nita Kohli
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read Standard Deviation at the beginning of this year and I completely loved it. In fact it is one of my favourite books of this year.
I picked this one up because I wanted to read more from this author. This book is collection of short stories and infidelity is the underlying theme in most (or all) of them. How women feel being the other one. And I liked all the stories - everything was so well written. But I did not understand the ending of most of the stories and I felt that they ended abru
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
I don't know if this book was exactly what I needed to read / hear right now, or exactly the opposite.

Technically speaking, I enjoyed the use of the 2nd person narrator. Very effective.
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Katherine Heiny's fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Narrative,Glimmer Train, and many other places. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and children. ...more

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