All The Single Ladies: Kate Bolick’s Spinster.

by amy

The word spinster connotes images of an old woman living in a sad little apartment with her many cats as companions. A woman that shuffles along the city streets with bags that contain enough groceries for a day or two–like a quart of milk, a can of tunafish, and a few slices of deli meat. She smells like moth balls and closed spaces. Spinsterhood is a condition, an affliction, an incurable disease.  Or is it?

In Kate Bolick’s new book Spinster, her jumping off point is an assertion: “Whom to marry, and when it will happen–these two questions define every woman’s existence.” But by considering a group of women–all writers themselves: Neith Boyce, Maeve Brennan, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Edith Wharton–in concert with her own life, Bolick suggests that there is another script to follow, the one that the individual writes for herself. In Spinster, then, she unpacks the term and challenges the notion what it means to be an unmarried woman and/or a woman who follows her own mind–even if she does eventually marry.

Written in a style that is part historical narrative and part personal history, Spinster will get you thinking–about what conscious and unconscious coupling looks like, and how women commit to and preserve their individual ambitions.