The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years
The single years can be tough – everybody knows it. What not everyone realises is that the emotional state of how you spend those years is largely up to you. In her perfect blend of realism and positivity, Emily Stimpson in The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years says that you don’t have to wait for marriage to be happy and expertly shows readers that when it comes to the single season (or any season of life), attitude is everything.
As a long-time singleton herself, Emily has become an unwitting and somewhat unwilling expert on the single state and can truly empathise with the trials and tribulation of going through life solo, but her book also contains fantastic insight into the dating process as a Catholic, as well as marriage and even kids.
Covering topics like dating, marriage, careers, roommates, sex and purity, babies (specifically that dreaded biological clock), serving and friendship, Stimpson doesn’t pull any punches and simply says it straight, but you love her for not passing out empty platitudes and readers are guaranteed to feel ultimately uplifted as she steers away from self-pity and demonstrates how it’s possible to live your best, most productive, fulfilled and balanced life while waiting for Mr. Right!
The writing style is casually conversational, grabbing your attention and cracking you up right from the introduction. Readers feel like they’re on a cosy couch chatting to a wise and trusted older sister, so buckle up and get ready to soak in the faith-filled wisdom that Emily is only too happy to share.
Not only is the style easy to read, but each chapter gently guides you through the various issues single women face and how to navigate them in a fun, practical and holy way. Stimpson’s quirky personality comes through with great tips garnered from the life of ‘Hip Spinsters in History’ (beginning with my favourite, Jane Austen).
She draws from personal experience, anecdotes and psychological and theological research to bring frank and practical advice with each chapter and the odd ‘Ask the Single Girl’ segment thrown in to help young (and not so young) women along the single journey with humour, grace and hope.
One of the things to appreciate about Emily is that she doesn’t gloss over the pain of when life doesn’t take the direction or timing you want and is understanding of those moments where all you want to do is crumple onto the couch for a good cry with some chocolate and a chick flick. However, she doesn’t let readers stay in that low moment and encourages us to receive the grace God has for us today instead of focusing on the worries of tomorrow.
“Our God is a God of the present moment. He’s with us now … and He gives us the grace to be single today. And that’s it. Grace for the present sorrow, the present need, is all we get” (p131).
This book acknowledges reality while focusing on the choice to thrive in every season of life so that we don’t have to look back with regret on months or years wasted with self-pity, anger or resentment. These keys will set you free to have the best single season possible while embracing all that God has called you to.
“In truth, these single days of ours will never be a waste unless we choose to waste them … We get to decide what we do with this time we’ve been given … We don’t want to have missed all that God wanted to give us, because it wasn’t what we wanted when we wanted it” (p132).
And guess what? Just to inspire single girls out there, Emily finally got her wish and is now married and has a beautiful adopted son named Toby!
Happy reading xx
– Reviewed by: Lil van Wyngaard – Veritatis Publishing