How To Be Single is a story about a woman named Julie who travels the globe to find out how women of other cultures handle being single and dating. In the book, Julie also recounts the experiences of four friends in the United States navigating the dating scene.
We hear the stories of Georgia, Serena, Alice and Ruby, continuing to live their lives in New York while Julie is traveling. At the start of the book, these four girls are barely acquaintances. Their common link is Julie. When she leaves New York on her trip, Julie asks them to look out for each other.
Georgia is a newly divorced woman with two kids, back in the dating pool after 12 years of marriage. Her struggle is figuring out the rules of dating while also juggling the care of her children.
Serena, a cook for a wealthy family, has focused her life on her Hindu religion and let romance go by the wayside. It is not until taking a vow of celibacy she begins to finally open herself up to the idea of love.
Alice is a legal aid attorney who chooses to quit her job and rededicate her life to finding love. In her late 30s, she is tired of being alone and trying to find ”the one.”
Ruby, an overly emotional woman, falls into a downward spiral of depression after love does not work out for her. We meet her after the death of her cat, Ralph.
Julie herself is a book publicist, tired of reading all the self-help guides for relationships. She decides to change professions from publicist to author and pitches a new type of book to her boss. Her book idea is unique to the topic of relationships, because rather than telling women how to attract a man she encourages them to embrace the idea that being part of a couple may not be a viable option. She proposes a book on how to be single in the U.S., as well as across the globe, which shows how women in other cultures may succeed or fail.
Julie travels to Paris, Rome, Brazil, Australia, Bali, Beijing, India and Iceland. At each and every destination, she easily finds women willing to speak and show her the nightlife of their countries.
I found it extremely interesting to learn how women in these far off places live and to see their lives change when new laws alter cultures and traditions. It was also interesting to see how single women handle dating, rejection and then marriage in these vastly different countries.
The way the five main characters act throughout the story is stressful. They are older and have been through experiences making them calloused. While their personalities are annoying at times, their stories are interesting.
Liz Tuccillo’s writing structure itself was somewhat unusual. The book seems to be both an account of real events and a story based on fiction. Even though it was difficult to read at times because of these issues, Tuccillo’s story was still compelling. It kept me engaged and wanting to find out how each woman’s story played out.