Self-Contained: Scenes From A Single Life is an autobiographical collection of intelligently funny anecdotes about the life of Emma John, a single, childless woman approaching 40 years old. It is a sharp, witty book that reframes a life of singleness.
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The clever title makes me think of tiny London flats with their extortionate rents, where you can reach the kitchen from the bed, usually requiring single occupancy. Whilst Emma’s John’s book shows only a diminutive understanding of this plight, I found her book overall, to be intuitively relatable and hilarious!
From stories about university life, workplace dissatisfaction, family, online dating and holiday-making, John takes us on a journey through the events in her life that have led to her eventual singledom. At times gut-busting in its hilarity and at times sombre, these recollections explore the dichotomy of loneliness and independence, synonymous with singleness. It is also probing in the way it considers how language associated with ‘growing up’ always seems to point to coupledom. I thought reflective moments such as this and others like it were perfect in terms of rethinking the societal norms of being single.
Self-Contained is a funny, intelligent and laid-back book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
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