My review: Eric Klinenberg, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (Penguin: 2012)

February 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

Going Solo Rocks!

I finally read it! and surprise.. I loved it! I loved reading this heartfelt and thorough investigation of  living alone. I enjoyed very much the way the plot unfolds. I could not put the book down until the end, something that never occurs.

As in Heat Wave, the account unfolds through the eloquent use of academic literature, the compelling stories of informants, and the author’s candid observations. Without revealing too much, I enjoyed how Klinenberg convinced me of the appeal of living alone.  I often found myself wondering how the author, a married man with two kids, could explain with crystal clarity the thrill of making it alone of many women like me – buying a home on your own, finding your path, falling in love with your higher self. What I loved the most was how the author employed the “appeal” of the “social experiment” of  living alone as the foundation for the discussion of the other side of the coin – the hardships and hazards of living alone in societies not yet equipped to serve legions of one-head householders.

As social scientist who studied for the last four years the condition of living alone in older age in urban America, I was pleased to finally, for the first time, read such an articulate and entertaining discussion of the many facets of living solo.I appreciated how Klinenberg draws the line between loneliness and living alone, how he highlights the issues of studying social isolation and the importance of proper housing policies.  I was taken by the author’s account of his grandmother’s experience in a high-end assistive living facility (we know so little about life in those structures!), his criticism of nursing homes and unaffordable assistive living facilities, and the discussion of best practices in New York and in Sweden.

Finally, whereas Heat Wave was a serious book as “social autopsies” are supposed to be, Going Solo surprised me with some very funny paragraphs where I found myself laughing hard. It was a joy to finally immerse myself into a sophisticated analysis founded on unforgettable ethnographies, clear arguments, and even humor.  Way to go!!!!! What an inspiration.

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§ 2 Responses to My review: Eric Klinenberg, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (Penguin: 2012)

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