Sunday, November 11, 2018

My take on: How to Be Alone

Being alone means something different to everyone. To me, it means being devoid of family, friends, and even casual acquaintances. It's more than being without a romantic partner. To me, being completely alone means you don't have someone to turn to when you really need it. I'm single but I don't know what it truly means to be alone, which is why I was intrigued by my latest read How To Be Alone: If You Want to, And Even if You Don't by Lane Moore.

The author had an abusive childhood, lived out of her car as a teenager, and struggled in multiple romantic relationships. But she's managed to persevere, building a career as a writer, comedian, actor, and musician. With her background, there is certainly a story to tell.

There are things I can relate to, like putting friends in certain categories. There are some friends you can literally pour your heart out to, but then there are others who will never be more than a drinking buddy. The belief that there is a "soulmate" is a common theme in some of the essays in the book. You grow up believing there is a "soulmate," you'll meet this person at a certain age, and they will solve all of your problems. As the author points out, the belief in "soulmates" makes for great TV and movies, but it's really just an illusion. No one person can solve everything and make everything perfect.

What I can't relate to is having an abusive family, online dating at 13, not knowing my extended family, and living out of my car. I don't point these out as if they're the fault of the author, but I wish her essays tackled these issues with more depth. I felt like I got a very surface level understanding of her background. I guess I was looking for more insight into how her past shaped her present, but perhaps that's material for her next book!

Overall, this book felt like it was more about how the author felt alone in her friendships and romantic relationships not necessarily how she was completely alone. The strongest essay was actually the last one, aptly titled "How to Be Alone." The biggest takeaway I got from that essay is that just because you don't have a perfect group of friends or the perfect romantic partner, you're not alone. The person you talk to casually everyday waiting for the train, a co-worker who you crack jokes with, or the person you chat with in line at the grocery story knows that you matter. Not everything was a home run for me with this book, but there was a lot to like.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Atria Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

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