Category: book reviews

April 7th, 2014 — 10:09pm

If you’re a single woman over the age of 35, it’s the question you’re asked more than any other—why are you still single?

In her poignant new memoir , Melanie Notkin writes about those of us on the receiving end of that question. And how, despite the fact that nearly half of all American women of childbearing age (married or not) do not have children of their own, we are often treated as an anomaly.

“The independent, childless woman does not feel like a qualified member of the social order,” Notkin writes, “But rather is made to feel hopeless, hapless and just plain old less than everyone else.”

As the fortysomething Founder powerfully articulates, women of the Otherhood are scrutinized for their choices — and continually a target for unsolicited (albeit well-intentioned) advice. In sharing her experiences and those of other women at this crossroads, Notkin provides a long overdue voice to this growing demographic.  Along the way, she reveals a persistent gender-based double standard when it comes to expectations of settling down.

How much has been written over the years about Jennifer Aniston (pre-Justin) painting her as lonely and one step away from spinsterhood? Interestingly, no media outlet has portrayed the also unmarried George Clooney as worthy of sympathy or, for that matter, needing to change his dating style.

But when you’re a woman of a certain age, it seems like just about everyone  has an opinion about why you are ‘still’ single and childless — and what you should do about it.

This unsolicited advice comes from both loved ones and strangers alike. Notkin encounters a potential business partner who doesn’t hesitate to tell her within minutes of meeting him what she needs to do if she wants to become a mother. I had a similar experience when my boss’s boss overheard me mentioning a recent date.

“You better hurry up and meet someone before your eggs dry up,” he said bluntly.

As if I needed reminding of that. There’s no shortage of media and pop culture warnings for women that our fertility has an expiration date. Or, for that matter, assumptions about why you’re childless.

“If you wanted to have children,” a friend’s wife insisted, “You would have by now.”

In Otherhood, Notkin talks about this tendency to blame single, childless women for being too picky, too career focused, etc. We are often lumped into one of two categories: single by choice, living a Sex And The City lifestyle, or miserable and desperate to find a mate.

As Notkin observes, the reality for most of us isn’t so black and white. We are living full, productive lives. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want someone to share it all with, or that we haven’t tried to find a mate.

Otherhood beautifully articulates this often misunderstood journey. It gives the single, childless women hope and encouragement by reminding us – we’re in very good company.

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August 11th, 2012 — 2:23pm

During my visit to London two years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting author and mom Nita Saini. Warm and engaging, Nita is the kind of person who puts you at ease right away. So I was delighted when she sent me a copy of her recently released book,

As its title suggests, the 100-paged pocket sized book is designed to help readers approach life from a happier, more positive place. Having struggled at one time with depression, Nita speaks with authority and conviction about the importance of being attuned to your mental state.

Moving On Up includes dozens of tips about mindful living, paying attention to what affects our thoughts and feelings  — and remembering that you each of us holds the power when it comes to how we respond to them. A downbeat way of thinking  is like any other bad habit, Nita says, it can be changed with a little determination and a lot of practice.

The book can be read straight through or you can just pick it up when you need a pick me up. Speaking of mood boosters, most of the ones suggested here are little things we should but often don’t make time for — getting more rest, being attuned to and acknowledging reasons to be grateful, reconnecting with loved ones you’ve been out of touch with. It may seem like common sense, but–

“Because they’re everyday activities, we tend to forget about them,” Nita writes. When we nurture ourselves even in small ways, we increase the release of the happy brain chemicals.”

We could all use more of that positive brain chemistry.

Moving On Up is available in the U.S. in Kindle format on , and there’s also a free audio version on . Contact Nita through for access to the audio.

A blog editorial note – I’m in London for the next week so Single Gal In The City will be taking a little breather as I do some much-needed disconnected. Stay tuned for a full report from England’s capital!


April 29th, 2012 — 9:35pm

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of meeting to talk about her new book, .  The former Real Housewives of New York City star is stunning and down to earth in person, not to mention refreshingly candid.

I caught up with Kelly at the San Carlos Hotel in Midtown. Though I was her last appointment on a full day of media meet and greets, she was energetic and engaged – no doubt largely because of the healthy habits she writes about in I Can Make You Hot.

Read on for how you can win an autographed copy!

A brisk, informative read, I Can Make You Hot is an easy to follow primer about how to stay in shape and feel your best.  Sharing what she’s learned from her years as a model, Elle Accessories editor and TV personality, Kelly steers readers away from unhealthy extremes with an uncomplicated and accessible plan: daily exercise (no excuses), six days of healthy food choices and making Sunday your “funday.”

Kelly Bensimon is an absolute delight in person

“Most people are so consumed with dieting that they’re not living,” Kelly told me. “If you’re eating well and exercising well and treating your body like it’s a Ferrari, it’s always purring. But if you treat your body like it’s a rental car, it’s going to stop.”

Along with nutrition tips and 60 healthy and delicious recipes, Kelly emphasizes the importance of channeling your inner supermodel with practical fashion advice. When in doubt, she says, look to celebs for inspiration — with a caveat.

“Channel the ones that work for your body type, not the ones you think are great that don’t have anything to do with you. I wouldn’t be good if I was channeling Twiggy because we don’t look anything alike. I’m not as thin as people think I am, I just conceal it really well!”

I had to disagree with her here, but we were definitely both on the same page when it comes to getting out of your comfort zone – and how doing that doesn’t have to be difficult.

“Everyone talks about these big momentous changes that you need to make in your life. No. It can just be the teeniest, tiniest thing.  In the morning, instead of going in the right direction, take a left. If you normally wear flats, wear high heels. Like Dr. Phil says, if you don’t like it, change it…whatever it is.”

As she does in her book, Kelly talked a lot about being a single mom – and the challenges of going from being married at a very young age to taking care of her children 24-7.

“It wasn’t really reality TV that changed my life, it was the fact that I got divorced. That was the biggest shift,” she said. “I’m a working mom and I want to instill in them that they don’t have to feel guilty about working. That it’s okay to take leaps of faith…to do things that are exciting and that you don’t know what the eventuality is going to be. It’s okay to do that.”

I Can Make You Hot is a great handbook for getting in shape and feeling and looking your best. And I’m excited to offer one lucky SGITC reader a free autographed copy! What makes you feel hot? Post a comment by Friday May 11th with your answer below and you’ll be entered to win.

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