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Spinster by Kate Bolick: A new take on spinsterhood?

Spinster by Kate Bolick is one of the most enriching and well written nonfiction books that I have had the pleasure to read this year. I found this book in my local library’s bookshelf and I just had to borrow it. It’s a heavy read with a lot of in-depth analysis of situations, personality traits, decisions that we make, etc. I picked up this book because I always wanted to lead the life of a spinster and as the subtitle says, I wanted to make a life of my own.

However, this book is not only meant for spinsters or people who want to lead the life of spinsterhood. This book is meant for everyone and anyone who wants to enrich their lives and give importance to themselves as individuals, even if they are couples, parents, etc.

Spinster analyses the idea of the word ‘spinster’ itself throughout history and especially during the early years of the 20th century. The book is a sort of unique memoir of Kate Bolick who wishes to lead the life of a well-balanced and self-actualized spinster in a world where being a spinster is something like a taboo topic.

No parent wishes that their girl should not one day be married at the right time and to the right person. This is what Kate Bolick challenges. Why should we bring up children to only have marriage as the focal point of their lives? Why can’t new goals be set? Why can’t girls change their priorities? Why can’t spinsterhood become a lifestyle and not just a label? All these questions and more are answered, analyzed and debated upon in this book along with the thoughts of certain unique, independent, self-made women who touched the author’s life and made it blessed.

True, the book technically focuses on only women in American society, but I think all of us from any part of the world can definitely connect with the author’s trials, tribulations and victories because as a sisterhood, we are almost the same if not totally identical people.

What I loved about this book is the way being a spinster is shown as a lifestyle choice and not a terrible label one pastes on a person’s character. I am completely inspired by the literary women mentioned in this book especially Maeve Brennan, whose writings I totally relate to. Every sentence in this book is of a contemplative nature where you tend to sit back and say, “Oh what a new way of thinking about this topic,” and then look at the words in the book with a new light altogether.



Spinster explores notions of individuality and unlike what the name suggests, it’s not just meant for spinsters!

I loved the part about home décor, as I am also very much into the décor of my private as well as public spaces, and I love to have these spaces presented to others as a symbol of my own lifestyle choice and my sense of style. In Spinster Kate Bolick states in more ways than one that it is very important for a woman to showcase her own home décor be she a spinster, married or just living-in with someone. For those readers who love to understand changes in society like demography, this book is full of it and is very accurate.

There is no doubt in my mind that this book was definitely an eye opener for me and I am so fascinated by it that I’m going to order my own copy of the book from Amazon, and keep it by my side all the time like a Bible.

A very insightful and a very thought provoking read!

Note to readers: This story was first featured on


Fiza Pathan

Fiza Pathan is a teacher, publisher, and award-winning author of ten books. She has won over forty literary awards. She lives with her maternal family in Mumbai and writes novels and short stories spanning diverse genres. She blogs on