Singled Out

March 14, 2009

Singled Out – Bella DePaulo

This book so far has been nothing but a spewing-forth of unreliable evidence, over-exaggerated to the extent of not just inducing boredom but annoyance. Generally it’s clear that single people seem to have less rights than married people, no tax breaks, etc, but to fill a whole chapter with the ripping apart of a book in a careless and neither witty nor constructive way isn’t good reading.

I can see this book being for bitter, cynical singles who want to affirm their hatred of couples without actually delving in and looking at life and how they want to live theirs. The author comes across as bitter and angry, not ‘elegant’ or ‘witty’ as E. Kay Trimberger of The New Single Woman claims. In fact, I think it says a lot that the back cover has a snippet from The New Single Woman and not something more prestigious. Why not even have a quote from something a little less sexist like Single People (if such a thing even exists?). The book does have a quote from The Christian Science Magazine which makes one wonder how stretched they were to find quotes.

The book claims to debunk all the myths about marriage and being single and yet I haven’t seen one myth about single or married people be debunked. I’ve seen them be refuted, argued against, bitterly slammed, but certainly no kind of constructive debunking has occured. The first chapter is given to a detailed analysis of a study done called “The case of marriage: why married people are happier, healthier and better of financially” by Waite and Gallagher. They claim that married people live longer, are happier and, obviously, are better off financially than single people. The author’s opinion of the report can be summed up in one sentence: “The report was done using bad analysis and didn’t take into account the fact that Widowers and divorcees were also married at one point”. This for the most part is true. The report is based on bad statistics which completely ignore the fact that widowers and divercees were once married. Yet a whole chapter is taken up with what appears to be a vile vengeance against anything that might support people who are married. The very next chapter, after slating the report because it used bad statistics, comes up with some equally vague and mind-blowingly bad statistics on single people, percentages thereof being happy, sad, etc. All the while completely missing the point that the greater percentage is married/coupled and that there will be a percentage of singles who want to be married because they do feel alone.

The book should be given the catch-line “You’re single, you’re going to be miserable, these are the reasons why, deal with it.” And as you can probably see, it makes me quite angry reading it.