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No One Tells You This

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,679 ratings  ·  476 reviews
If the story doesn’t end with marriage or a child, what then?

This question plagued Glynnis MacNicol on the eve of her 40th birthday. Despite a successful career as a writer, and an exciting life in New York City, Glynnis was constantly reminded she had neither of the things the world expected of a woman her age: a partner or a baby. She knew she was supposed to feel bad ab
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Simon & Schuster
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librarianka Great writing. Definitely not a downer. I started reading it and find it hard to put down. She has joined the most interesting memoirs we have been ge…moreGreat writing. Definitely not a downer. I started reading it and find it hard to put down. She has joined the most interesting memoirs we have been getting recently. And so well written.(less)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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I love this courageous, gentle, thoughtful memoir. Glynnis MacNicol writes about her 40th year, in which she finds herself without a romantic partner or kids. Determined to avoid the stories and stereotypes so often told about single, childless women (e.g., objects of pity, selfish and spoiled creatures, invisible humans), she sets out to create a new, more empowered narrative. She embarks on a journey of self-discovery and connecting with others that entails family illness and struggle, travels ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Glynnis MacNicol was about to turn 40, and all-of-sudden, she began to question her life’s purpose. Up to that point, she’d had it all in her mind- a successful career and an exciting life. But should she want more? Should she want what society says every 40 year old woman should have?

This memoir chronicles MacNicol’s 40th year, as she takes a deeply personal journey of self-discovery. It’s a tough year for her emotionally, she has an ill family member, and she has to walk through many highs an
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This memoir isn't just for single ladies- it's for all of us who feel like life is passing us by and we can't see or fathom where the time has gone. It's for those trapped in memories of childhood and times past, feeling as though we are still living in those moments. It's also a memoir for anyone who has watched an older woman in their life who they loved deeply, become lost inside herself because of something beyond her control. Loved this book a whole lot- I don't hand out 5 star reviews very ...more
Valerity (Val)
Not every woman is meant for couplehood, marriage, babies and PTA. And not every woman grows up wanting a life that includes all of those things. On the cusp of turning 40, the author has been thinking about her options and wondering why she isn’t more panicked about being in a relationship or her biological clock ticking down. With her mother going through serious health problems and her sister’s marriage experiencing a breakup as she’s about to have her 3rd child, it seems like things are fall ...more
Britta Böhler
Finally, a memoir telling us that being a 40 year-old childless, single woman might not be something that needs pitying. About time!
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
No One Tells You This-- is a debut memoir that highlights life of a unmarried single woman without the possibility of a socially expected life that includes a husband and family. Glynnis MacNicol is a full-time writer and co-founder of The List. Her award winning writing has been featured in numerous notable publications including the NYT, The Guardian and Forbes, she lives in NYC.

As a dutiful daughter and sister with too many friends to count, Glynnis led the extremely busy life of a profession
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
As a single woman over 40 who has chosen not to marry or have children I can't tell you how excited I was to receive this book. It gets so tiresome when people are constantly making you feel less than complete because you lack a partner and a family. Like most of us Glynnis is still learning how to navigate through life, making mistakes and figuring it out along the way. I very much related to how everyone around Glynnis relies so deeply on her, after all she has the time and freedom to take car ...more
Life begins at 40. Is there any truth to that old chestnut? That’s what Glynnis MacNicol set out to find when she turned 40. From Toronto, she’d lived in New York City for years and loved her life of writing, entrepreneurship, friends, meals, bars, laughter and annual rituals. What she didn’t have was a partner or a child, so in the eyes of many she knew she was a failure. It was a momentous year what with her mother’s Parkinson’s rapidly going downhill, her sister a newly single parent giving b ...more
Jul 27, 2018 added it
Shelves: abandoned
No rating. This book was not for me. A mother of 6 asked me to read this with a snicker. Wait until I see her next week!

When I have had repeated jaw surgeries (minor and very troublesome birth defect), my largest trouble has been my HUMONGOUS gag reflex. It wasn't tested half as much, not even after 4 decades of doing a "repeat" fix, as the beginning of this book. General anesthesia would have been welcome. Surgery and book. Both. It's probably worthwhile and gets better with context, Glynnis's
Sara Adams
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I expected to relate to the author as I'm also a child-free (abeit married) woman approaching 40. Instead, I found myself not trusting the author's credibility or self-awareness as she sees herself as an edgy, progressive New Yorker, yet repeatedly mentions wearing fur. No edgy, progressive, modern woman wears fur. PERIOD. ...more
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
4+ stars

Probably the most relatable memoir I've ever read. At the start of this book Glynnis MacNicol is turning 40, and is single, childless and happy. Not fitting the mould for the milestones women are expected to have reached by this age, as the blurb notes "there was no good blueprint for how to be a woman alone in the world" at this age (and in this day and age). No One Tells You This follows her creating that blueprint in the year after her fortieth birthday - which involves a trip to Icel
Ariel ✨
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
"No one told me about the joy!" - Glynnis MacNicol's explanation of what no one told her about being single and childless in her 40s on the Call Your Girlfriend Summer Books 2018 podcast episode. No one told her about the joy, freedom, or stability. I knew instantly I needed to read her book. I don't explicitly plan on being single in my 40s, but I will probably be childless, and if my present-day choices are any indication of my romantic future, I will shirk the institution of marriage for some ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, kindle, 2018
Five stars not enough. I loved every word of this book and I am evangelizing about it to anyone who will listen. It's not long, but I savored it over several days because I just didn't want it to end. The story of the author's 40th year weaves together her struggles to be a long-distance caregiver to her dying mother and maintain her relationships with her father and sister (while her sister has a baby in the midst of this), all while coming to terms with her happiness and independence as a sing ...more
Corinna Fabre
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not even sure where to begin reviewing No One Tells You This. This book is breathtaking and poignant to the point of surreal. Glynnis leads by example: by taking readers through her trials, tribulations and moments of peace as partners in her journey, she imparts the kind of wisdom that can't be achieved by smacking you over the head with proselytization, but instead flows from a deep well of empathy and experience.

Her writing is expert and never crossing the line into glib or saccharine, wh
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Good in places. Not what I was expecting from the reviews or the description. I was expecting a book that is like, hey, it's ok to be 40 and not want kids and not want to get married. This was more of a memoir of a woman who was it ok to not want kids and not want to get married? Do I want kids and want to get married? So, it wasn't really what I personally was looking for. Also, not really knowing much of the author, I wasn't invested in her enough to hear about her every day goings o ...more
Gretchen Rubin
In my own quirky way, this memoir also seems related to my five senses book. It's about many things, and of particular interest to me, the experience of living in New York City. ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really like the idea of this book and its message -- that women can and should be free to make decisions based solely on their own wont and not on societal or familiar pressures -- but I found the protagonist's voice to be a bit insufferable. It felt very privileged (though the author does acknowledge this) and at times braggadocious. ...more
Shereen Lee
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
An cool and eccentric story about nostalgia and aging. Would recommend a read if this is a genre you're already interested in, but since I'm not that emotionally invested in memoirs I just found this okay. ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Why do I think Sex and the City 2.0 , minus the sex. Lol
Leigh Kramer
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“It was a truth universally acknowledged that by age forty I was supposed to have a certain kind of life, one that, whatever else it might involve, included a partner and babies...If this story wasn’t going to end with a marriage or a child, what then?”

I’ve been trying to come up with the words to explain how much this book means to me. I’ve read some incredible nonfiction this year but this memoir about a woman creating her own blueprint for the single life was the book I *needed* to read. It w
The problem was the encroaching sense that I had somehow stepped outside of ritual and was always going to be a guest star, forever celebrating the milestones of others without ever starring in my own. What cultural markers were there for women other than weddings and babies? How else do women mark the progression of their lives?

Being single and childless at 40, the author takes stock of her life and explores the realizations she arrived at over the course of her fortieth year. I’m a
Catherine Andrews
Certainly single women of a certain age should read this, but so should anybody who's ever felt the twinge of an outsider or wondered why their path isn't neatly lining up with everybody else's around them. MacNicol writes elegantly and cleverly of a life lived outside the lines, with no map to guide you forward, and both how terrifying and satisfying it can be, sometimes in the very same instance. ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it liked it
The writing speeds along; it's a quick read with many head nodding moments, but by and large I found myself wondering what the book is even about. It seems like the chapters should dovetail chronologically, but I still found the timeline and characters hard to follow. I wonder if it would work better if it were developed into a work of fiction, or if it were presented as a collection of essays. ...more
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 stars

Finally, the kind of smart, feminist, nostalgic, narrative-driven memoir I was looking for! I thoroughly enjoyed this. I can't even remember what fortuitous podcast/article/random Twitter thread brought me to learn about this book, but I bought it a couple days after its publication, and I'm so glad to have had this perfect summer read when I did. Do you ever think about things that way--like, what if I hadn't heard about this book when I did, and never did end up learning about it becaus
Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Simon&Schuster Canada for a free copy of this book for an honest review. This is a very engaging memoir by the author as she comes to some revelations as to the direction her life is going. Glynnis is celebrating her 40th birthday, alone, as the book begins. She lives a very busy life in NYC but has never found ‘the one’ or had children. As she contemplates this she has to come to terms with whether her life, as it is, is enough or if she should be trying harder to find a partner or ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
**I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway, and there several spoilers in this review**

This is a very honest memoir that really gives you a glimpse of how complicated life gets as you grow older and how hard it is to know if you've made the right choices.

MacNicol describes with candor what it was like losing her mother slowly to degenerative disease, helping her sister with 3 kids including a newborn after the husband walked out (and thoroughly exemplifying how kids can be incredibly annoying an
Smitha Murthy
What is it about July where I am reading books from authors I feel like having a long, extended conversation with? From Katie Heaney to Kyo Maclear and now Glynnis MacNicol, I feel like I have made three new friends. 'No One Tells You This' is not a typical memoir. It's not the typical 'I am dying of cancer and I suddenly find life so beautiful,' memoir that seems to be all the rage these days. Rather, it’s a book about one woman trying to lead an unconventional life and finding joy, meaning, gr ...more
Mar 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook
Things that annoyed me about this book:
1) Glynnis MacNicol is so self centred she thinks she's the only unmarried, childless woman over 40 in the history of history. She keeps on saying "there is no road map". She doesn't seem to realise she is part of a long tradition, and certainly isn't interested in exploring it.
2) Glynnis MacNicol appears to think that, when someone gets married, they get given a map for the rest of their lives.
3) Everyone she meets loves her, and wants her to tell them ab
Nov 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
Within the first 50 pages of this book, MacNicol complains about being a late-30's year old woman who has "made it" as a writer, earning a 6-figure income, and having too many friends. Like MacNicol, I, myself, am a 38 year old writer; however, I have NOT made it, am barely scraping by financially, and have suffered serious depressions because I feel alone. Frankly, after reading the beginning of this book, I loathed MacNicol and could not bare to continue reading. Really, I just wanted to punch ...more
I have a big fat friend crush on Glynnis MacNicol and i hope that she keeps writing more books like this. We need them!!

Once in a blue moon, a book comes along that feels as though it was written just for me. This is definitely one of those books. It won't be for everyone, but i know some very special women, marching to the beat of their own drum, that it will resonate with 100%
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“Every woman I knew seemed to think she was failing in some way, had been raised to believe she was lacking, and was certain someone else was doing it better. Had been told never to trust her own instincts. Taught to think of life as a solution when "done right", when in reality we existed in a kaleidoscope made of shades of gray, able to be very happy and very sad all at the same time.” 8 likes
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