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Self Contained – Emma John

My thanks to Charlotte Walker of Love Reading for inviting me to join this blog tour for Self Contained by Emma John published by Octopus Books on 6th May 2021.

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.

Our Author – Emma John

Emma writes widely across film, theatre, music, sport, travel and lifestyle for a variety of national newspapers and magazine titles – including the Guardian, the Observer, the Times and the Financial Times. She was the first woman in the UK to win a Sports Journalism Award and is a contributing writer to the US magazine Afar. This is Emma’s third novel – Following On: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession and Terrible Cricket, and Wayfaring Stranger: A Musical Journey into The American South

She regularly hosts podcasts and is a voice on BBC Radio5Live, BBC R4and talkSPORT.

My Review – Self Contained

Life dictates that we as humans, pair up. Bonnie and Clyde, Adam and Eve, Tom and Jerry. It’s not a set rule on who with which sex we pair up with, but the ultimate goal it would seem, is to be a partnership. Or is it?

Some people are actually just happy, to be single. And we should respect that. Not always make the first question we ask, when we meet someone new, after what you do for a job, are you married? Then the enviable once you are in a partnership it evolves to – getting married, then you must be thinking about children? again, some people choose not to have children, its their right. And some choose to be single. But it makes people react and question, they want to know why.

And its not that she doesn’t want to be part of a couple, its just that having always been better at being friends with men than women and working in a male dominated sports industry, she’s worked with and made friends easier with men than she has intimate relationships with men. And she’s come to peace with it and isn’t always upset that it didn’t work out, but is able to carry on living happily, as a single person. Because it really is possible and should be acceptable as a life choice. Situations of arriving at children’s parties, adult dinners and the awkwardness of strangers that make Emma feel not complete all add to these ‘Scenes from a Single Life’.

Well done Emma John for writing openly, a funny and honest book about a heart-ache issue. Theres lots of books out there about relationships and family life, parenting. But Self Contained is a memoir about self chosen single life. And the fact it may be easier than being a couple.

To Buy – Self Contained –

@em_john @Octopus_Books @lovereadinguk #SelfContained

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