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All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  8,987 Ratings  ·  1,201 Reviews
A nuanced investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women in America. In a provocative, groundbreaking work, National Magazine Award finalist Rebecca Traister, “the most brilliant voice on feminism in the country” (Anne Lamott), traces the history of unmarried and late-married women in America who, through social, political, and economic means, have r ...more
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Simon Schuster
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Lucy Mitchell It could be used as a text book. So much information. I feel like I should be taking notes.
Claire Traister does briefly touch upon the trends in other countries (such as Japan), but would likely not be able to go into the depth presented in the…moreTraister does briefly touch upon the trends in other countries (such as Japan), but would likely not be able to go into the depth presented in the book if she had broadened the focus.(less)

Community Reviews

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Feb 07, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a tough review to write. The book is really great, there is no question. But it’s nothing completely groundbreaking, like I have to admit I wanted it to be when I cracked it open. Perhaps that is because the author, Rebecca Traister, is just describing my life in a way that, I suppose people who aren’t single in their late 20s, cannot relate to. It seems obvious. We are independent. We have close female friends. We have complicated sex lives. Some of us date, some of us don’t. We work ha ...more
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism, favorites
Before picking this book up, I read a lot of articles about it and interviews with the author. When perusing the comments sections of these articles, the criticisms that I've read of unmarried young women tend to fall into one of three camps: they are selfish leaches (the assumption here being that they're all single mothers on welfare); they're narcissistic and immature; or they’re man-hating feminists out to destroy the fabric of society.

These assumptions about single women are so frustrating
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
4 high stars. I started listening to non fiction audiobooks about two years ago, and I continue to be blown away by the high quality of so many books. All the Single Ladies falls into that camp. A mixture of history, sociology, interviews and autobiography, All the Single Ladies makes an argument for the positive aspects of women postponing marriage or not marrying at all. In the end, Traister argues that there should not be one model for women to follow in their life trajectory. And there shoul ...more
I have so many splendid female friends, and quite a few of them have felt incomplete without a boyfriend. Despite their immense amounts of compassion, intelligence, and ambition, society floods them with the message that they are incomplete without a male romantic partner in their lives. Thus, I loved Rebecca Traister's All the Single Ladies because she drives home the point that many women live without male partners and achieve long-lasting success and happiness. Using a compelling mixture of s ...more
Let's get a few things straight. I need to explain where I am coming from with this review.

People are animals, with animal instincts. In the animal kingdom most females in the mammal species, are territorial dwellers, being visited by roaming males to copulate and produce off springs. Females take full responsibility for the babies, due to lactation, and do not provide care for the male at all. He's on his own. Most males in the majority of species, commit infanticide to establish
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite nonfiction book I read in 2016. It's just fantastic. It has tremendous breadth and depth of historical and social research, and I also liked how Rebecca Traister included examples from both pop culture and the personal experiences of her and her friends.

I listened to this on audio, but I loved this book so much I want to get my own copy and mark my favorite quotes. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of the women's movement, or those wanting to read more ab
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: gender-studies
A pretty readable treatise telling us that a) there are more single ladies out there than before and b) we should treat them like human beings. To which we should add c) they're not sad cat ladies. At. All.

So points for style, but not so much for originality. Mind you, in 2016 do you really want equality to still be an original message? 'Cause that'd just be sad.
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Whoa. Spring break read on a yoga vacation in Costa Rica got me reconsidering my life like whoa. Felt so recognized - affirmed - valued - connected to other women, like someone had climbed inside my head, unpacked it, laid it on a table, and said, "This? All of this? Is okay. Is wonderful." Recommend for all and every woman!
Clif Hostetler
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: current-events
This book is a well researched mix of interviews, historical analysis, and review of current statistics. The subject covers a broad spectrum of economic and educational levels to which the book manages to give adequate attention.

Below are a collection of quotations from the book, each preceded with my comments.

For readers who are not familiar with current demographic statistics regarding single women, Traister states the facts quite clearly as follows:
For the first time in American history, sing
Julie Ehlers
After finding Rebecca Traister’s Big Girls Don’t Cry more entertaining and enjoyable than it had any right to be, I naturally was first in line to pick up her latest offering. Happily, All the Single Ladies did not disappoint. Traister’s book addresses a basic fact: Women (and men, for that matter) are marrying less often, and marrying later in life. This is not due to any kind of moral failing on anyone's part, but merely to the fact that more and more women are finding that marriage simply doe ...more
May 04, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I Did Not Finish (DNF) at 25 percent.

I was really hoping for something to sink my teeth into. Maybe because most people still don't understand what feminism means in the U.S. It's not a dirty word. It doesn't mean you hate men.

"The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men."

This book reads like a very long and boring history book that zig zags all over the place. I stupidly thought the book would maybe be looking at unmarried women and their r
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Besides the fact that it was interesting and well-written, there were three things I really appreciated about this book:

1. It examined the history of single women in the United States and includes quotes from and stories about historical single women throughout the book. It really helped to ground current trends in the context of the history of the women's movement.

2. It looked at race and class in addition to gender, and specifically discussed single women who are poor and/or nonwhite.

3. Unli
Melania 🍒

|| The Read Harder Challenge 2018- A Book of Social Science ||
Sarah Espresso
Well, that was relatable.

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation is the type of book I always wanted to read, but never knew existed. Like many women, I have grappled with the woes of my (or lack thereof) relationship status.

I am ambitious and fuelled by an unsatisifed thirst for knowledge. Learning is my passion, and I hope to someday pursue a career in academia. Yup, I am the ultimate nerd - nothing could make me happier than seeing my name on the front co
hmm, this one was interesting.

It started out strong, I found myself nodding along and pumping my fist in admiration to this author for tackling a subject that I enjoy and proudly find myself a part of. I enjoyed listening to the statistics interspersed almost seamlessly with multiple narratives and the author's own opinion. Then, she took a couple turns where I found myself struggling with some of the statistics- they weren't that impressive, in fact some were just slightly different for unmarri
Sophie Brookover
Includes the origin story of Ann Friedman & Aminatou Sow!
Mikey B.
I bought this book because over the years I have known relatives and close friends (both female and male) who have never been married or had a long-term partner. So I was hoping that this book would shed some light on what it is like to live single and unattached.

It covered some of the angles, but I did not find it all that successful.

It does go into the stigma of not being married or of not having a partner. And it does state that being unattached has become less of an opprobrium over the years
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
You never know when it comes to books about pop culture and feminism, but this is a really good one! It’s a combination of historical information, interviews with modern women, sociological statistics and analysis, and stories from the author’s life; Traister, an experienced journalist, weaves it all together in a seamless and readable way.

More women are single in the U.S. than ever before – whether that means marrying late, never marrying, or not staying married forever. Single women are nothin
Terri Jacobson
All the Single Ladies is Rebecca Traister's analysis of where women are in contemporary America. It's well-researched and brilliantly written. She begins with second wave feminism--historically counted from the 1963 publishing of Betty Friedan's The Second Sex--but her focus is on her peers, those women coming of age in the 21st century. She explores their professional and financial lives, their emotional strongholds and vibrant sexual lives, their drive to weave meaning and love into their ever ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and, in the case of a positive review, addition to the book suggestions list on Our Shared Shelf in my capacity as moderator. The book has been added to the shelf.

I enjoyed this book immensely. Whether you are single or attached, Traister's discussion of the historical and growing political power of single women in the United States is fascinating and compelling. Though the book focuses on the effects and problems of being
Jess Johnson
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I was mostly-single until my late twenties so I thought I'd really enjoy this book. There are some details I love -ex. the historical perspective of 'the marriage plot' and the idea that marriage really wasn't a choice for most women. It was great to read to understand how things like today's gig economy actually give freedoms of support traditionally provided through the institution of marriage (ex. career men and women don't need a 'wife' if they can hire cleaners and get food delivered.)

Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The only thing I didn't like about this book was the title, which makes it sound very surface level and like it might only appeal to a niche group. The book itself was anything but that. I couldn't stop talking about the things I was learning as I read this book, and would recommend it for anyone who's interested in understanding shifting demographics and what that means for politics, economics, families, and individuals.
Ana Rînceanu
A great mix of history and anecdotes. An uplifting and hopeful book.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it liked it
There were numerous passages here where I felt like Traister was strumming my pain with her fingers, singing my life with her words (to borrow a phrase). As a somewhat-later-married person, I really identified with her personal story--the way she was able to find a wonderful, fulfilling relationship because changing attitudes toward marriage had relieved any pressure she might have felt to settle down with somebody who just felt "good enough." Also, I felt *exactly* as she describes (liberated, ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Here's the thing I liked best about this book--even though I've never really been concerned that I'm doing 30 the "wrong way" (i.e. single, not looking, thinking I may or may not want to get married and may or may not want to have kids in the future), it was so refreshing to hear stories and statistics about 1) how common these feelings are and 2) how commonly other women feel like their friends, family, society, etc. don't understand their choices and how their life, for better or worse, doesn' ...more
Caitlin Murphy
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
So, I was initially hesitant about this book because I thought it was going to be really self-helpy. It wasn’t that way AT ALL. As someone whose mother just raised the issue of freezing my eggs [eye rolls allowed] and the last unmarried childless person in my friend groups, this book was maybe one of the first times I was told that I was not the only one trying to feel “normal” and whole in a world that shows or tells me (intentionally and unintentionally) I’m not on a pretty regular basis. Trai ...more

(I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review)

All the Single Ladies is not a rallying cry to singledom. Rebecca Traister doesn’t make value judgments and she isn’t here to simply sing the praises of girl power. Her focus is on the realities of a changing world and how we need to make greater cultural, political, and economic changes to keep up with the times and make new social structures work, rather than try to force everyone into a mold th
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
A lot of not so new info & a tiny bit of new info. I was disappointed by the tone of the book. There was a bit more whining than I expected. I was expecting a positive uplifting read with positive stories of independent women surviving & thriving on their own. Instead, I felt as if the personal stories were more along the lines of "Poor me. Why are my friends finding love, leaving me behind single, & why do I have to buy them a wedding gift?"

A decent percentage of the women intervie
Aziza Aini
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is easily my favourite book of the year! It definitely opens up a new perspective to life, being single and on marriage. It's so easy being an Asian that 'when it's time, you have to get married'. This book says nothing like you shouldn't get married but more along the line of do you know why you're doing it (getting married). It's great. Many are in a relationship just so they're not alone, even though they know deep down -it's not really what they want. Taking your time in being single an ...more
Jessica Woodbury
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't read very much nonfiction, but when I do it needs to be something I care deeply about or something with very fast pacing. Traister's new book falls into the former category. I heard a bunch of her interviews, read a few excerpts, and just wanted to quote her all the time so I figured it was time to get the book. (Note: I PAID for this book. This is not a thing I do very often.)

As a single woman (and a divorced single parent) there was a lot here that I learned, and plenty where I nodded
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Our Shared Shelf: This topic has been closed to new comments. 2016 Year in (Book) Review 2 81 Apr 26, 2016 09:32AM  
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Rebecca Traister writes about politics and gender for Salon, and has contributed to the New York Observer, Elle, the New York Times, Vogue, the Nation and other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband.
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“I think some men love the idea of a strong independent woman but they don’t want to marry a strong independent woman,” 22 likes
“Marriage, it seemed to me, walled my favorite fictional women off from the worlds in which they had once run free, or, if not free, then at least forward, with currents of narrative possibility at their backs. It was often at just the moment that their educations were complete and their childhood ambitions coming into focus that these troublesome, funny girls were suddenly contained, subsumed, and reduced by domesticity.” 16 likes
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