Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick

IMG_6091 (413x550)source: free review copy via LibraryThing
title: Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own
author: Kate Bolick
published: April 21st 2015 by Crown
genre: memoir/non-fiction
pages: 352
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
“Whom to marry, and when will it happen – these two questions define every woman’s existence.”
So begins Spinster, a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why­ she – along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing – remains unmarried.

This unprecedented demographic shift, Bolick explains, is the logical outcome of hundreds of years of change that has neither been fully understood, nor appreciated. Spinster introduces a cast of pioneering women from the last century whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama have emboldened Bolick to fashion her life on her own terms: columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. By animating their unconventional ideas and choices, Bolick shows us that contemporary debates about settling down, and having it all, are timeless – the crucible upon which all thoughtful women have tried for centuries to forge a good life.

Intellectually substantial and deeply personal, Spinster is both an unreservedly inquisitive memoir and a broader cultural exploration that asks us to acknowledge the opportunities within ourselves to live authentically.

my thoughts:
Where to begin?
I acquired an ARC of Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick via LibraryThing back in 2015 and as I have mentioned on my blog recently, I am really trying to get through all my review books this year. So I happily grabbed this one off my shelves and I dove right in. Isn’t the cover pretty?

I have to say straight away that Kate Bolick is a talented writer and that I loved her writing style. She drew me right in, especially as she wrote about her love of being alone and of reading and of books and about her literary heroines. I enjoyed reading about her work as an editor and book reviewer and her New York City life as well.

“I’ve always known that a book will find you when you need to be found; in New York I learned that so did history.”
p.65, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick

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Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

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source: free copy via AmazonVine
title: Under the Udala Trees
author: Chinelo Okparanta
published: September 22, 2015
pages: 328
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Inspired by Nigeria’s folktales and its war, Under the Udala Trees is a deeply searching, powerful debut about the dangers of living and loving openly.

Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls.

When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie.

As Edwidge Danticat has made personal the legacy of Haiti’s political coming of age, Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees uses one woman’s lifetime to examine the ways in which Nigerians continue to struggle toward selfhood. Even as their nation contends with and recovers from the effects of war and division, Nigerian lives are also wrecked and lost from taboo and prejudice. This story offers a glimmer of hope — a future where a woman might just be able to shape her life around truth and love.

my thoughts:
Narrated by Ijeoma, Under the Udala Trees starts off when she is just eleven years old and living in the war ridden republic of Nigeria in the late 1960’s.
When Ijeoma’s father is killed in an air bombing, her mother is left grief ridden and depressed, barely able to care for herself let alone her daughter. She sends Ijeoma off to live with a couple in another village. Ijeoma lives there almost two years before her mother comes back to get her. What she finds in this village is a friendship and eventually romantic feelings for a girl named Amina.

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