Self-Contained Scenes from a single life

by Emma John

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LoveReading Expert Review of Self-Contained Scenes from a single life

A witty, bitingly honest memoir that examines the meaning of being single in a world that really doesn’t want you to remain single.

A wonderfully readable, thoughtful yet amusing, and sometimes painfully honest memoir from journalist Emma John as she asks: “What does happily ever after look like when your Prince Charming never shows up”. Emma is in her forties, she is not in a relationship, nor plans to be, in Self-Contained she looks at a society that views single as a temporary arrangement and, what it actually means to be on your own. Emma visits her past as she galloped through her twenties into her thirties and then entered her forties. She explores with intense personal reflection and writes with a self-depreciating wit. She is also incredibly honest and friendly, I felt as though I was having a heart to heart with one of my best friends. I have to admit to blushing beet red as I read one particular section, I still cringe at the memory of twenty-something me saying to a friend: “someone will come along when you’re least expecting it” and her vexed reply that she: “wasn’t looking”. Self-contained isn’t in the slightest bit preachy, it just feels as though Emma is allowing you into her thoughts, and in turn it made me think about mine. Chapter 14 is a wonderful closing chapter and it really, really made me smile. Self Contained: Scenes from a Single Life is a book for everyone, no matter how old you are, whether in a relationship or not, there is much to discover and appreciate between the pages. 

Liz Robinson

Self-Contained Scenes from a single life Synopsis

There is a piece of cod-wisdom regularly dispensed to single women: romance will arrive when you least expect it. I had assumed it would also make its own travel arrangements too.

Emma John is in her 40s; she is neither married, nor partnered, with child or planning to be.

In her hilarious and unflinching memoir, Self Contained, she asks why the world only views a woman as complete when she is no longer a single figure and addresses what it means to be alone when everyone else isn't.

In her book, she captures what it is to be single in your forties, from sharing a twin room with someone you've never met on a group holiday (because the couples have all the doubles with ensuite) to coming to the realisation that maybe your singleness isn't a temporary arrangement, that maybe you aren't pre-married at all, and in fact you are self-contained.

The book is an exploration of being lifelong single and what happens if you don't meet the right person, don't settle down with the wrong person and realise the biggest commitment is to yourself.

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Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781914240126
Publication date: 20/01/2022
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781788403429
Publication date: 06/05/2021
Format: Hardback

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About Emma John

Emma John is an award-winning author and journalist who writes regularly for the Guardian and Observer. Emma was the first woman to win a Sports Journalism Award in the UK, though she is known for her writing on music, theatre, film, books and travel. Creator and host of the Guardian's cricket podcast The Spin, Emma is a regular voice on national radio, appearing on documentaries and comedy shows on BBC R4, as well as providing sports analysis for BBC Radio5Live and talkSPORT. Her previous books include Wayfaring Stranger: A Musical Journey Through The American South and Following On: A ...

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