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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Pepto Bismal Cover Belies Wisdom Found in Kiss Me, I'm Single

When Dorothy with Pump Up Your Book Promotion first asked me to review Kiss Me, I'm Single: An Ode to the Single Life by Amanda Ford, I thought, "Well, okay, but I'm not really into chick lit." Then, I realized that despite the bubbly pink cover, it isn't actually chick lit; in fact, it isn't even fiction. When I discovered this, I examined the subtitle, An Ode to the Single Life. Hmmmm. How on Earth is this book going to be relevant, I wondered, to someone like me who got married when she was 21 and is still happily wed 10 1/2 years later? Then, I figured, the book was sure to be a feminist rant slamming marriage and upholding singlehood as the desired state of all modern, independent women. Just when I had turned myself completely off the book, I thought, Maybe I should stop postulating and just read the darn thing. So, I did. I was surprised. And impressed.

The format of Kiss Me, I'm Single (pink, bubbly cover; short, breezy chapters; humorous, engaging writing) belies the fact that it contains some real nuggets of wisdom. Contrary to my assumptions, it does not bash marriage. It simply delivers advice to women who seem perpetually single, from someone who has been there. Not that Amanda has come up with some new, magical formula to guarantee a direct hit from Cupid's arrow, but she has a lot of hints on how to stay sane in a world where being a single woman feels like "an emergency ... as urgent as Code Red" (13). Unlike many relationship books, this one is a quick read - it's 203 pages, but some of them only have 2-3 sentences. I literally read it while waiting for pictures to upload onto Blogger (over the course of a few days - my computer's not that slow!)

So, you're wondering, what is the wisdom Amanda Ford imparts? Here's a taste:

It feels like Code Red when I begin doing the math and figure that if I want to be pregnant by one particular age, and if I want to spend a few years traveling the world with my husband before we have children, and if I simply want to date him for a few years before we get engaged, then I should have met him fifteen months ago (emphasis hers).

Okay, maybe that's not the best example, but I thought it was funny. On to the wise stuff:

Falling in love is what happens when you are busy loving your own life. (11)

Do not be one of those foolish women who think that the the love they give themselves is less important and less fulfilling than the love they get from men ... Believe that the most important relationship you will ever have in your life is the one that you have with yourself. Believe it down to your bones: The search for another person must never preclude the search for yourself. (19)

Love has nothing to do with another person, but is the condition of my own heart. (27)

It is a basic fact of life that in order to be truly happy and fulfilled with another person, you must be truly happy and fulfilled on your own first. A good relationship can enhance life for sure, but it cannot take what is only moderately satisfying and turn it into perfection. (33)

Contrary to myths and stories and popular belief, focusing on one person to fill your needs does not provide eternal protection against loneliness and isolation. In fact it's just the opposite. Relying on one person for everything decreases your chances at human connection and increases your odds of feeling lonely and isolated. (142)

So, you can see Amanda's basic principle: Single women should focus on creating fulfilling lives, not obsessing about how to get a man. I agree. In fact, I want to buy 100 copies of Kiss Me, I'm Single and fling them at all my single friends who whine about how their lives can't start until they get married. I think it's a given that falling in love happens when you least expect it, and when you stop thinking about it every minute of every day.

If you, like me, have already found your soul mate, don't dismiss this book. I think the last paragraph I quoted is especially significant for married women. Even in a marriage, we cannot lose sight of who we are and what brings us joy. We have to continue to get to know ourselves, continue to learn and grow. If we base our whole existence on our spouses and children, we will end up as strangers to ourselves.

As much as I liked the book, I have to say that I don't agree with everything Amanda says. Her experience does not seem to include observance of any strong marriages. She was reared by a single mother, went on to have a brief, unsatisfying marriage of her own, and has been single ever since. The marriages she does cite all seem to have blazing flaws - the wives are bored or suffocated by commitment. I just want to say that this is not always the case. Strong, happy marriages exist everywhere. Maybe they're not the norm, but they are out there.

All in all, though, I really enjoyed this read. I found Amanda to be a very personable, fun guide through the single life. Her book really is quick and easy to read, but also very profound. It can be purchased through Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can also find out more about Amanda on her website, Be sure to check out her "Extraordinary Living Project" - it's inspiring.

P.S. When Amanda sent me her book, it was packaged in the cutest way. I just have to show you the photo I took:

Grade: B+


  1. Great review Susan. The title alone is enough to make me want to read it. I have a bunch of single friends who need this one too.

    Thanks for awesome review of Amanda's book!


  2. This sounds like a lot of good advice for any woman, single or married.

  3. Thanks for the review, Susan.

    I appreciate your comment about strong marriages. I agree that strong marriages exist everywhere, and I do in fact have many models of these in my life.

    The reason I didn't write about these in Kiss Me, I'm Single is plain and simple: the book isn't about marriage. It's about being single. Many women (myself included) feel unlovable, like complete failures when their marriages end or when they are unable to find a mate. I wanted to speak to these women, to reiterate that there is nothing wrong them and that love is abundant. While a strong marriage is a wonderful option, a strong single life is equally (albeit differently) fulfilling.

  4. Your review is so much better than mine! I really enjoyed the book, but I wasn't sure how to write about it since I've never read a book like it. lol


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