"The New Single" by Tamsen Fadal - A Review

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May 28, 2015

 9781250064004.jpgLife is full of surprises!  I, Virginia Masters, am about to review a book.

I love books. I love learning from books. I fill my Kindle with books, so I can learn about life, and business, and real estate... whatever... I can polish off a book faster than I polished off that cup of soft serve chocolate that my daughter was done with. Don't Judge. I read all about finances; it would have been a waste to throw that cup of ice cream out after she only ate two spoonfuls.

I am full of opinions when I read. My expectations are high. When the Beatles sang "There's nothing new that can be done", or something like that, I never wanted to believe it. Teach me... excite me... make me want to read further... surprise me, or at least make something old just a little different or better. Meatloaf tastes so much better as a sandwich on garlic bread, than it would if reheated in the microwave... but I seem to have digressed far past relevance.

The point was supposed to be that so many self-help books, for me are like reheated meatloaf. That is not the case here. In her new book The New Single, Tamsen Fadal, created a new category of self help for me: The Keeper.

Back to the grand opportunity that I was given to read a NEW book; my experience as the target audience was perceived as valuable. So, as I sat down with the PDF, my expectations were low. Sometimes I feel that way when I set out to write my posts. What else can I say that hasn't been said already? Do I have a right to demand your time and your readership if I have nothing new to offer? 

With low expectations, I scanned the book and the chapters with pause. Fadal’s goal to create a reference guide seemed pretty lofty to me, so I sat back, ready to be entertained. 

Let me start by staying that this is a good, well written book that is full of information, which, to varying degrees will be useful to people who are on that journey to start over, or even though just thinking about what is to come.

Because of my very public image in my previous, pre divorce life, I related to the author in a strange way. I shook my head as I read about her attempting to live her new life as her old one was being broken down in a very public forum. No matter how much I tried to live my life and my grief privately, the world I lived in did not allow me to do so. I had to live out my nightmare in a very public forum. Fadal uses her experiences to create not only an empathetic or at least sympathetic background, to create a ladder like approach to starting again. We are given time frames, specific steps, and even the demand that we document progress.

So many of the sections were filled with truth and words of advice to be used by all. The section on the social media cleanse should be read by all. FaceBook has allowed people to be celebrity in their own little worlds. Listen up! Ideas such as mastering social media privacy, as well as maintaining privacy at work, and even developing boundaries for discussing these sometimes endless repetitive issue with the closest of friends may be some of the best advice that I have ever seen on these topics.

Surprisingly enough, she follows through on her promises to create a usable and re-usable reference guide. There are universally true tales shared here that certainly would have been helpful to me, had I read this book before filing for divorce. While some of the information is obvious, it may be deceptively so.

Don't skim; read it, and take notes. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you know what she is going to say. There are some innovative perspectives here that gave me reason to think. While we can talk about eating right and exercising, there’s a deeper focus here on eating for energy and health, and all the ways we can do better, and need to do better for ourselves, in order to BE OURSELVES... The Best selves we can be.

SINGLE should not be a derogatory word, and we must get past being defined by the word divorce. The return to the mirror, that I have learned to avoid as I have written about here before, hit me like a ton of bricks. Referring to people as "shape - shifters" in terms of taking that dose of reality and using it as motivation to make positive changes was inspirational. 

This is a reference book for women, both single, and newly single. It is even something that I might recommend to women who are feeling stale in any way. It is a smack on the fanny in terms of advice, a kind of don't let this happen to you, for the married, and a call to arms for the newly single to become THE NEW SINGLE.  She has elevated the word single from an adjective, to a Noun. Full of self esteem building quotes and stories, as well as “mama worthy” advice, brutal best friend honesty, yet tempered with hope, I say it deserves a read. There is a lot to learn here from rebuilding one's physical self, to learning how to stop romanticizing the past, or as she calls it "misremembering". When memory is an event, it is paralyzing to moving forward.

The section on finances is very good. As we all know, this is one of the hardest pieces of the puzzle for women. I have written about it; I have lived it.

Where it did lack a sense of "reality" may be for those of us who have children. I found some of the references to children to not really be new or coming from a place of experience. There are few “tie it up with a red ribbon” solutions for children in divorce. The information, however, is good, but may not really be new for some. What she does offer, however, is another perspective and some really good "aha moments" even for those of us with children. Honestly, if I had seen her list of considerations for introducing my children to a date, I might have proceeded more cautiously. She hit on some very "hot button" topics that I seemed to be in denial about, for example, how a new man responds when your children don't act their best. 

This book is full of tough love; and there is a copy with a red bow that is going to a friend of mine quite soon. It’s a keeper, even if the husband isn’t.

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