Holland (Hail to the Chiefs, 1990, etc.) wages an uphill battle against loneliness for widows, divorcÇes, and the aging. The author, divorced, has lived alone and put away scraps of thought about her situation for years. Now she ties them together, opening with some wise saws from Samuel Johnson, William Cowper, and self-helper John Bradshaw, who tells her, ``We cannot have an identity all alone. Our reality is shaped from the beginning by a relationship.'' Holland finds that statistics show that, by age 65, 45 percent of women live alone, and that ``a woman's standard of living plunges by about 70 percent after divorce, while her husband's jumps by 30 or 40 percent. Add children, and we're talking serious penny-pinching.'' The author shows her female readers how to save money by installing new cylinders in door locks (it costs about $100 for a locksmith to do it), and reveals the dread mysteries of a house or apartment's electrical system. Sometimes one's health comes second to lifting the blues, as in this recipe: ``For severe depression and occasions of grief and loss: NO DINNER: Bring home a bag full of apples, nuts, cheese, crackers, grapes, oatmeal cookies, muffins, and popcorn. Put these out in bowls here and there, anywhere except where you usually sit down to eat. Pick at in passing.'' Holland talks about work, play, anxiety, and offers some alternatives about how to live ``merry and fruitful, loving and brave,'' and how to become ``full citizens with our thumbs in our pockets, whistling.'' Which really is pretty Whitmanesque--and not a bad way to go. A gift book that may help, disturb, and delight--though the generalities at times are like elevator stairs gone flat.