STARRED REVIEW
July 2018

Freedom at 40

By Glynnis MacNicol

Life moves along a prescribed path for many people. You go to school, you graduate, you get a job. You fall in love, you get married, you have babies. But what if you don’t?

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Life moves along a prescribed path for many people. You go to school, you graduate, you get a job. You fall in love, you get married, you have babies.

But what if you don’t?

That’s the question Glynnis MacNicol asked as she faced her 40th birthday. MacNicol had a lot going for her: She lived in New York City, a city she loved, and was a successful writer and co-founder of a successful company. She had great friends and loved her family and her role as an aunt.

It’s not that MacNicol took issue with being 40, single and childless. It’s that the rest of the world seemed to. “This is why people have babies . . . because it’s exhausting not to know what you’re supposed to do next,” MacNicol says to a friend who is contemplating her own reproductive choices. “A baby is basically a nonnegotiable map for the next two decades.”

By sharing her story in No One Tells You This, MacNicol gives implicit permission for other women to embrace the lives they’ve chosen. Or the lives that have chosen them, as the case may be. After all, MacNicol didn’t exactly plan to remain single. A series of not-so-good romantic choices made singleness appear inevitable. But she’s (mostly) happy with where she’s landed. When her family needs support, MacNicol returns to Canada. When she falls in love with a ranch out West, she rearranges her schedule to spend a month there.

“I was increasingly frustrated that some people seemed incapable of believing me when I said I was happy with my life,” she writes. “My life, I was learning, was sometimes even more confusing for women a few decades older than me to comprehend than it was for me.”

MacNicol spent the year following her 40th birthday exploring and embracing her meandering path. The result is a memoir that will help women of all ages and life circumstances understand the experience of today’s single-and-joyful woman.

 

This article was originally published in the July 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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No One Tells You This

No One Tells You This

By Glynnis MacNicol
Simon & Schuster
ISBN 9781501163135

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