- Title: Live Alone and Like It
- Author: Marjorie Hillis
- Genre: Self-Help, Women’s, How-To, Feminism, Nonfiction, 1930s, Vintage
- Publication Date: First edition: 1936
- Rating: 5/5 stars
This is the second time I’m reading this book, and it won’t be the last.
The author, Marjorie Hillis, was the assistant editor of Vogue. Live Alone and Like It is the ode, the homage, the guide of liver-alone women who rose in rank in the 30’s. The book is a sassy, witty, funny guide on how to live your best life as a single woman and how to not wait around for a husband – but to take the opportunity should it come and if you’re interested.
If there’s ever a feminist manifesto, this is it. The book lays out the guidelines for everything from spending a weekend alone, to getting out there and meeting people, to making cocktails, buying clothes, crafting a budget, and so much more.
Hillis takes readers through the fundamentals of living alone, including the importance of creating a hospitable environment at home, cultivating hobbies that keep her there (“for no woman can accept an invitation every night without coming to grief”), the question of whether single ladies may entertain men at home (the answer may surprise you!), and many more.
What I love love LOVE about this book is that it doesn’t treat women as the weaker sex: women are equal to men, and there’s no two ways about it. A woman can pay her way just as a man can, and can take lovers, make decisions, drink whiskey, manager her finances, and understand business just as well (or better!) than any man. Nothing’s holding her back, not even Society, but herself. And why should she hold herself back?
What’s glamorous about Live Alone and Like It is how relevant it still is. There’s barely anything mentioned in the book that doesn’t describe modern life, except maybe having 2-and 5-bedroom apartments all to yourself and having a regular (and perhaps “colored”) maid. With no-nonsense advice on how to be the best version of yourself, the book is highly relatable, even today, though it was first published in 1936. Even non-single women should soak in the advice – the guide isn’t just for the single woman, but for all women.
Self-sufficiency and self-empowerment is the name of the game; confidence, smarts, and chicness are all traits any woman can achieve. At the end of the day, the book urges that in the end of it all, you do what you think is best for yourself. No book or person can, or should, tell you how to live your life. But if you go ahead ignoring all advice that comes your way, it’s all your fault if you’re broke, lonely, and bored.
If you read and enjoy Live Alone and Like It, check out Hillis’ other book: Bubbly on Your Budget.
Favorite quotes from Live Alone and Like It:
“Be a Communist, a stamp collector, or a Ladies’ Aid worker if you must, but for heaven’s sake, be something.”
“Once you become a duty you also become a nuisance.”
“As we have already suggested one of the great secrets of living alone successfully is not to live alone too constantly.”
“Many people’s minds are like ponds and need a steady stream of ideas in order to not get stagnant.”
“The first rule is to have passionate interests…You should have at least one that keeps you busy at home and another that takes you out…”
“A reasonable amount of travel ought, of course, be listed among the necessities.”
“A Woman’s Honor is…It is now her own affair.”
“There are even firms that will deliver your dinner all hot and steaming, at the moment you want it, though we don’t know how.”