How to be Single – Liz Tuccillo

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Liz Tullico, author of He’s Just Not That Into You, and How to be Single is renowned for her female-empowering novels, and was an executive story editor for Sex and the City. HJNTIY (come on, give me the acronym, it’s a really long title) is now a major motion picture, with a star studded cast, including the lovely Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Long. We all know how fantastic SATC is, I don’t have to sing any praises there. It was on the wave of this success that Tullico’s How to be Single hit the market.
Liz Tuccillo - How to be Single

I’ll admit that I haven’t read HJMTIY, although I have seen the movie and know the general plotline. When I read How to be Single, I thought that it would be a similar self-help type book, written from the point of view of a fictional character. It sounded quite bizzare, but as soon as I sunk my teeth into it, I knew it was more than a platitudinous ‘be happy with who you are’ airport novel.

Protagonist Julie Jenson has had enough with bad dates, failed relationships and girls nights out on the town that end in the emergency room. Julie is the pioneer for her group of friends, all of whom are having an awful single time. So, she sets out to find answers. Taking one for the team, she takes leave from her job and travels to Iceland, Brazil, India, Beijing, Bali, Paris, Australia, Rome and Rio de Janeiro. She seeks out single men and women to figure out how they handle the single lifestyle. Interspersing stories from Julie’s single friends back in the USA, How to be Single combines chick literature with travel writing. Excellent combination, if you ask me.

This book was incredibly engaging. Not only did Tucillo provide insight into many different cultures in the world, and how their people interact with each other, but the uplifting stories that are shared by the characters that Julie meets leave the single girl less despairing about the single life. Apparently, people in other countries handle being single with way less drama than Australians, Americans and the English. Who knew?

The characters in the novel would be easily be described as four dimensional if that was a real thing. Slightly crazed post-divorce Georgia, dating-for-a-living (literally) Alice, Serena who is taking the swami pledge to find enlightenment and Ruby who has been mourning her cat for months… any reader can find something of themselves in one of these girls.

Tucillo writes with humour, and straight-forwardly takes us around the world on a journey to find single satisfaction. Just the right amount of tough love and sensitivity. This book isn’t going to make you want to kill yourself for being single, nor is it going to make you take a lifelong vow of celibacy. It will, however, make you laugh and teach you a little something about not taking yourself too seriously.

This book was fantastic. Well done, Liz. This book is on my must-read list. If I’ve convinced you, you can get yourself a copy here.

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  • Claire

    I like the sound of this – will check it out! With caution though, I hated HJNTITY with a passion – seemed an obnoxious concept painting all women as desperate and men desperately escaping – not in my world! Though maybe that’s because I live in Sweden – did she cover Sweden?!

    • Annabel Krantz

      No, she didn’t make it to Sweden! She definitely painted the women in the book as slightly desperate in the beginning, to conform and be ‘settled down’, but over the course of the book the main character learned how ridiculous that notion was, so that was good!