How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo has a simple premise: how do women all over the world handle being single? Unfortunately for Julie, a publicist living in New York City, the answer is much more complicated than the question. After watching the unsuccessful love lives of her three closest friends, Julie decides that it is time that someone discerns the answer to this probing question. After pitching the idea of a book to her boss, Julie embarks on a quest around the world to discover how women cope with the gut-wrenching pain of being a single woman in today’s society.
Back at home, Julie’s three friends lead their own hectic lives. Georgia’s husband, Dale, recently left her for a much younger woman, and Georgia is desperately trying to stay afloat while managing their two young children. Serena decides to join an ashram, taking a vow of celibacy, but that vow is much harder to keep than she realizes. And Ruby, poor, emotional Ruby, has decided that she can’t keep investing so much in relationships that turn into nothing. As Julie’s quest draws these three women closer, they, too, learn how to be single in the wide world of New York City.
Does this premise sound familiar? If it does, you aren’t alone; How to Be Single is a healthy mix of Sex and the City and Eat, Pray, Love. Liz Tuccillo was the head writer and executive story editor on the HBO series Sex and the City, so it is understandable why the book resembles the show. Even the characters are reminiscent of the famous New York City women; to start with, there are four of them. Julie, like Carrie, is a writer (well, to be fair, Julie is a publicist at the beginning of the novel, then becomes a writer). Alice treats dating like Samantha treats her trysts with men; both are a full-time job. Ruby is reminiscent of over-emotional Charlotte. Serena, however, is not much like Miranda.
Julie visits France, Italy, Australia, Indonesia, India, and a few other destinations. In Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, she makes trips to Italy, Indonesia, and India. Because of this, it is sometimes easy to forget that How to Be Single is actually fiction; Tuccillo’s writing style makes it seem like a memoir.
Julie’s travels are fun, her experiences memorable. Considering that Tuccillo traveled extensively to many of the destinations mentioned in this book, it is interesting to hear the perspective of other women around the world on the subject of being single. It is also heart-wrenching in some places; the fear of not finding a significant other is a real and potent source of despair for many women.
In the end, of course, it has an uplifting message that is a bit unexpected, considering Julie’s views throughout the book. It is safe to say that any fan of either Eat, Pray, Love or Sex and the City will enjoy How to Be Single. Though I can’t say that it is a unique book, Liz Tuccillo’s novel is fun and enjoyable read that any fan of chick lit should be happy to pick up.