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All the Single Ladies

When Traister—the brilliant mind behind 2010’s Big Girls Don’t Cry—began writing this exploration of female singlehood in America, she expected to discuss it as a distinctly modern phenomenon (today only 20 percent of American women are married by 29; in 1960 it was near 60 percent). It turns out the history of unmarried women in this country is a fascinating one, which Traister recounts in compulsively readable detail, combining facts with personal stories from single ladies across racial and financial spectrums. What’s left after she joyfully dismantles conservative arguments about the death of wifely servitude is hope: “Ring on it” or not, the paths open to women today are varied and bright. A–

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