How to be singleI was looking for a fun, light read, and this book started out quite promising.

The author had a great voice in the first pages, introducing a series of women and explaining how these bright, intelligent women living in New York had arrived to their mid and late-thirties without ever having married. The stories explaining the lives of these women were spot on and each character emerged sharply from the page.

I thought I was in for an enjoyable read, and looked forward to following their individual stories as they bravely confronted the New York dating scene.

And then? Well, after its promising start the book kind of fell apart.

The main protagonist, Julie, inexplicably manages to get a book advance that allows her to travel around the world ‘researching’ what it’s like to be single in each particular country. In theory, that could have been an interesting premise. In practice, we got an awful lot of whining and navel-gazing, and ‘research’ that generally consisted of speaking to two women per country about dating, followed by lots of good, old-fashioned stereotyping, with a couple of travel observations thrown in for good measure.

Perhaps more interesting was the New York front, where Julie’s friends continue on their misadventures. At least that segment was somewhat more engaging, but I couldn’t help but feel that a promising start, one that was clever and witty and which promised quirky but intelligent women who had something to say about the struggle to have it all in the Big Apple at the start of the 21st century, simply crumbled before my (reader’s) eyes.

A shame, since I would have enjoyed reading a book written at the same level of what I read in the opening chapters.