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

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  15,916 ratings  ·  1,711 reviews
In 2009, award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister started All the Single Ladies about the twenty-first century phenomenon of the American single woman. It was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent; and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890–19 ...more
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Simon & Schuster
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Erin Reilly-Sanders I don't know that the "nation" part is all that important to the book- it's almost an arbitrary limiter to a huge field of research.…moreI don't know that the "nation" part is all that important to the book- it's almost an arbitrary limiter to a huge field of research.(less)
Lucy Mitchell It could be used as a text book. So much information. I feel like I should be taking notes.

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 ·  15,916 ratings  ·  1,711 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
Jessica Jeffers
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
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
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
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
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
All the Single Ladies gives female singlehood the positive attention it rightly deserves, finally. It’s an examination of the varied and surprising benefits single women enjoy. It’s also about the unique power single women wield. The main message is that female singlehood, rather than pitied, should be celebrated, and maybe even envied.

The book defies summing up, but I’ll highlight a few main points. Despite its title, All the Single Ladies isn’t an anti-marriage book, but author Rebecca Traist
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! ...more
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation is an interesting analysis of how unmarried and late-marrying women have changed the landscape in America. Rebecca Traister provides a well-researched look into how this shift has evolved over time, in part, due the rise of women in the workforce, and more women opting out of a traditional family. Traister also includes stories from several women who have made different life choices affecting their careers and families, ...more
Great book!

If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it…
Yet another book titled via song that puts an earworm in your head as you read it.  I happen to like the Beyonce anthem even though it represents pretty much the opposite of what this book is about.   I listened to the audio book narrated by Candace Thaxton and it was very good.
This was an excellent way to end the year.  This book is not a self-help tome.  If someone is looking for validation that being single at the advanced age of
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.
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
Woman Reading
2.5 ☆

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister didn't live up to the expectations created by its subtitle, the GR summary, and its hype. This book felt like an anthology of overlapping magazine articles. They definitely weren't of the caliber fit for sober periodicals like The Economist, and the material felt repetitive in some spots. If one has been paying attention for an extended period to news reports of women, then this book won't feel
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
Laura Noggle
Apr 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As an unmarried woman, I loved this book! Although you don't need to be unmarried or single to appreciate society SLOWLY breaking out of traditional gender roles/stereotypes/archaic traditions.

I read Traister's *Good and Mad* first, absolutely loved it, and knew I had to read more. (Every woman needs some Traister in their life!)

A few of my favorite quotes:

“When people call single women selfish for the act of tending to themselves, it's important to remember that the very acknowledgement that w
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
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
 Sarah Lumos
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
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.)

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
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 often other women feel like their friends, family, society, etc. don't understand their choices and how their life, for better or worse, doesn't l ...more
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
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A comprehensive, informative history of single women in the US since 19th century spinsterhood. I liked the way Traister wove her own story and her friend's stories into this well researched and very readable book. ...more
Sophie Brookover
Includes the origin story of Ann Friedman & Aminatou Sow!
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. ...more
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was great, another relatable read just as good as Feminasty from earlier this year. This book was written a couple years ago, but its opening anecdotes rang so true for me, the writer’s crestfallen feeling when the heroines in her favorite books and movies got married. The changes in the narrative those life changes for the heroine enact - the disappointment at the story switching from a heroine running around the woods to cooking for a man or nursing a baby is something I constantly, const ...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
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
A great mix of history and anecdotes. An uplifting and hopeful book.
May 12, 2022 rated it it was ok
According to the introductory section of this book, the author’s aim is to present the case that women in the US should be free to choose the single life without social pressure to marry or stigma. Each of the chapters examines a related topic, some more tangentially: 19th & early 20th century misogynous laws, female friendships, invitro-fertilization, contraception and sexual freedom, etc. The author initially believed that she would be single for her lifetime, but fell in love, married and had ...more
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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.

Articles featuring this book

March is Women’s History Month, dedicated to the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.   Some...
289 likes · 70 comments
“I think some men love the idea of a strong independent woman but they don’t want to marry a strong independent woman,” 43 likes
“Always choose yourself first. Women are very socialized to choose other people. If you put yourself first, it’s this incredible path you can forge for yourself.” 30 likes
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