In this revealing work, nationally syndicated columnist Mathis, thrice married and divorced, recounts her chats with an intriguingly random group of 125 single black women about the drastic change facing their demographic. Here's the crucial statistic: while 62% of black women were legally partnered in the 1950s, that "norm has been turned on its ear, and most black adults are unmarried" today. With a storyteller's aptitude for creating character and rendering dialogue, Mathis tells of "Shrinkers," who "want a man, but [are] not willing to put much effort into finding him"; "Freestylers," who "have pitched the old rules of engagement-same race, same age, same socioeconomic class, same religion, and same country-and widened their options"; and "Nawnaws," who are neither "gay women or nuns... who have no interest in men." There are also biological clock watchers ("Tickers"), virtuous widows ("Flamekeepers") and "Trippers" in relationships that resemble "a trip down whitewater rapids with neither a paddle nor a boat." There's "a troubling trend" in the numbers, Mathis says, but "there is a lot of upside to being a single black woman in these days." Her book offers wit and wisdom for living with both the pains and the joys. (July)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Sole Sisters: The Joys and Pains of Single Black Womenby Deborah Mathis
The news is not good for black women when it comes to finding a partner. Where not long ago there were roughly two married women to every single woman, those numbers have gradually reversed over the past few decadesnow, more than 60 percent of black women have either never married or are divorced. These numbers are far greater than those of any other social
The news is not good for black women when it comes to finding a partner. Where not long ago there were roughly two married women to every single woman, those numbers have gradually reversed over the past few decadesnow, more than 60 percent of black women have either never married or are divorced. These numbers are far greater than those of any other social group, and the trend shows no sign of reversing. Mathis brings the skills of an astute veteran journalist and the passions of an attentive and articulate storyteller to uncovering the truths in single black women’s lives today. Sole Sisters is certain to ignite public debate on how and why so many black women remain single and spark discussion as to what semi-permanent singlehood means for so many.
Using statistics to explain why there are "14 million unmarried black females in the United States," journalist Mathis (Yet a Stranger: Why Black Americans Still Don't Feel at Home) introduces readers to some of these women (not a statistically gathered sampling) through engaging chapters that categorize them and reveal their experiences and thoughts. Each chapter defines a type of single black woman and provides stories of women who exemplify that type. For example, the stories of four women are used to describe the lifestyles of Swingles, singles who go out with a variety of men but haven't found the one they want to marry. Another chapter, Flamekeepers, focuses on the "1.5 million black women [who] are widows" through the author's conversations with three of these women. Mathis spoke with "130 black women from all walks of life, all ages, and all parts of the country" to write an entertaining book that validates the experiences of many unmarried women of any race, age, or class. Some theories about how to meet and attract men provided by the women featured in this book will appeal to readers seeking such advice, but this is more social science than self-help. Those who appreciated Claudette Sims's Loving Me: A Sisterfriend's Guide to Being Single and Happywill enjoy this work. Recommended for public libraries.
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