Chick Lit Challenge for February: How To Be Single by Liz Tuccillo

I haven’t read Tuccillo’s He Just Not That Into You, and have only caught a few parts of its film version on HBO.  If I were to make the decision to read that more successful book based on my opinion of How To Be Single, I’d say forget it.

The premise seemed interesting enough, and the promise that Julie, the protagonist, would be traveling around the world to get insights on female singlehood (in the late 30s to 40s) sounded like a globalized Sex and the City, complete with a cast of friends—Alice, Georgia, Serena, and Ruby—that echoed the fabulous relationships of the iconic SATC girls.  Sadly, I found none of this to be engaging in the way the story was turned out.  I expected a more mature outlook on being single in this context compared to those in chick lit featuring twentysomethings; after all, this is supposed to be about women who have lived at least one notable chapter in their lives, thus singlehood should be taken on a different level.   
But page after page of Tuccillo’s novel was filled with often shallow and desperate decisions of these women, who all surprisingly lacked the finesse appropriate for their age.  I’ve read praises for this book about its being real, but I personally think the realness has been highlighted to a degree that has made it, quite honestly, a farce.  There’s a constant tone of paranoia that shouts out in every scene, and Tuccillo’s attempts at nuance only achieved the counterpart of small, irrelevant talk during what is supposed to be an enlightening discussion. In the end, Tuccillo decided she would preach about being single, to quote, “I think we are going to have to love ourselves.  Fuck.”  Of course, this was said in the context of her long-running stream of realizations, but really, didn’t we know this?  Isn’t this what every chick lit and self-help book has been saying forever?  And the fact that this was the discovery borne out of extreme research and experience somehow made me think that all that traveling (if that was the sole objective) was just a waste of time.  And hype.

Anyway, better pick up another book to get back on track.


ChickLitPlus said...

Love the honest review! This one was on my wish list, but I may have to rethink that now!

Anonymous said...

I haven't read "He's Just Not that Into You" but I've glanced at it and read a few excerpts. I wasn't impressed. All the advice is pretty straight forward (at least I think so) but is stuck in a gender binary.

He's just not that into you if he isn't calling you. Should you call him? No. Why? Because men like to pursue women and women need to avoid taking the lead when dating.

Right... How very, regressive.

However, my mother swears by this book and loves the addition of Tuccillo as the "woman's" voice of advice.

My bad feelings towards HJNTIY would be enough for me to avoid this book by Tuccillo. Thanks for diving in and reading. I think I'll keep avoiding any "advice" from Liz.

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"It's really hard to walk in a single woman's shoes--that's why you sometimes need really special ones, to make the walk a bit more fun."

- Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
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