Bolick weaves memoir, feminist theory, and biographies of five forgone writers into a riveting, essential text ... Bolick’s voice crackles with wit, sharp criticism, and breathtaking metaphors as she makes an enticing case for spinsterhood.
[Spinster] can be unnerving and downright inspired. Like many engrossing books, Spinster is first and foremost a product of the author’s long-term obsession: to reject the conventional female trajectory for something that feels a little more expansive and full of promise ... the most engrossing passages in the book focus on the joys of solitude. Bolick is at the height of her powers when describing the peculiar — and sometimes hard to capture — satisfactions of being alone.
Spinster begins with overstated claims about the all-importance of marriage, but it quickly turns around and acts as if marital status is irrelevant — an equally inaccurate assumption ... my fundamental resistance to Spinster isn’t just about the bait and switch of its title and content. It comes down to the way Bolick’s small and not especially spinster-based archive radically limits the potential of her book, both culturally and politically ... The author of Spinster champions an individualistic kind of feminism, but she is uninterested in reflecting on the politics of marriage as a system and the way its oppressiveness might prompt privileged people like herself to seek alliances with people she pushes to the margins: poor people, queer people, people of color.