A successful journalist’s account of how she came to terms with being a single woman over 40.
Feisty and independent, MacNicol (co-editor: The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Women, 2014) had “taken herself from waitress to well-paid writer to business owner” in the span of 20 years. Now she was a glamorous Manhattanite with a wide circle of friends and access to famous and accomplished people. Yet as she neared 40, she realized she lacked two things society deemed necessary for female success: a man and a baby. In this sharp, intimate memoir, the author chronicles the eventful years following the 40th birthday that found her unattached and unsure about her path forward. Men walked in and out of her real and online lives as she traveled to offbeat locations for stories. While she still saw the women friends she had come to know during her 20s, responsibilities to partners, husbands, and children inevitably loosened ties. A close relationship to her married sister allowed her to witness firsthand the vagaries of matrimony and the rigors of parenting, while her housewife mother increasingly came to symbolize the life MacNicol “actively unwanted.” The contrast between the outcomes of her mother’s lifestyle and her own became especially clear as she witnessed her mother’s decline into dementia. The author became painfully aware that the choice to forge a life built around family was no safeguard to “being left alone” in the end and that, ultimately, “life was not a savings plan, accrued now for enjoyment later.” Moving through the years without a ready-made blueprint was a struggle, but one that had been “terrifying, and then exhausting, and then delightful.” Unapologetic in her embrace of the ups and downs of the improvised solo life, MacNicol offers a refreshing view of the possibilities—and pitfalls—personal freedom can offer modern women.
A funny, frank, and fearless memoir.