This kind of pointed analytic synthesis is Traister’s great strength, and it characterizes the best of the book’s subsequent chapters, which address different aspects of contemporary single women’s lives, from sex and money to friendship and solitude...That said, the topical chapters are not always as compelling. Paeans to female friendship, urban living, and sexual adventurousness rest a bit too heavily on single-life-loving anecdotes from urban writers and activists (a limitation Traister acknowledges), while chapters on marriage and parenting offer little we haven’t read elsewhere.
Some of what's covered in the book is already well-trod ground — financial solvency is central to independence; marriage is still considered the end goal for many; white male conservatives still think single women are ruining everything — but the exemplary framework of cultural inclusion, the personal candor and palpable desire to lift up each and every one of us, is what makes All the Single Ladies a singularly triumphant work of women presented in beautiful formation.
The elephant in the chapel is that single women don’t necessarily stay single. Their numbers have grown largely because of marrying later, not ditching the institution. In fact, the option to wait, or totally opt out, may make marriage look better than ever. Traister (a married woman) doesn’t let that ruin her argument. Even if their singledom is transient, unmarried women 'are taking up space in a world that was not built for them'–and they’re ready to rebuild it.