The Unexpected Joy of Being Single

Locating Happily-Single Serenity
Narrated by: Catherine Gray
Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Single in your late 20s or, hold the phone, in your 30s or beyond? Oh hi! You're in the right place.  

Over a third of us are now single. With the single camp growing at 10 times the rate of the actual population, it is now the norm to be single well into our 30s - the average marriage age for women is 35 and 37 for men. But nobody seems to have told society, rom-com makers, songwriters, marriage-hungry mothers, 'tick-tock' uncles, our mates or us that.  

Cue: single anxiety. Love addiction. Spending hours scrolling through dating apps. Being inconsolable when he/she doesn't text. Humming 'Here Comes the Bride' when they do.  

Catherine Gray went through all of this. And then some. She took a whole year off dating to get her love-hooked head straight. How do we chill our boots about our single status? Detach from 'all the good ones are gone!' panic? And deprogramme from urgent, red, heart-shaped societal pressure to find your 'other half'*? 

We know intellectually that single is far preferable to panic-settling, yet we forget that almost constantly. Why? Psychologists and neuroscientists tell us? Let's start the reverse brainwash and locate our happily single sanity for good. Are you in?  

*Spoiler: you're already a whole person. 

©2018 Catherine Gray (P)2018 Octopus Publishing Group

What listeners say about The Unexpected Joy of Being Single

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A voice actor would be a good investment

I so want to listen to this book but the accent and the reading pace is very hard to listen to. I’ll try to persist because I really want the content, and I can see it has great reviews, but we can’t all be excellent at all things. A professional narrator would have been a good investment.

2 people found this helpful

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Empowering and disappointing

Overall I really enjoyed this and found it to be empowering as a single woman. However, I was disappointed at the fatphobic narratives that sprung up occasionally throughout the book. Like talking about losing weight to better yourself for example. I get so tired of this being seen as a thing people must do. If we are truly trying to embrace ourselves and our singledome, then embrace your body as well.

1 person found this helpful

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So thankful for this book

I applaud Catherine for writing a book that challenges stereotypes, outdated ways of thinking, and some of our personal insecurities about being "un-coupled." I found her account of her own very personal experiences to be refreshingly honest and beautifully vulnerable. I can honestly say that this book has changed the way my brain and my heart think about my solo life and my future. I feel unburdened and set free from the ridiculous stigma, unnecessary worry, and negativity that is often attached to being single. After listening to it on audible, I bought the book so I can soak it in again and go crazy with my highlighter! On a personal note to the author - I thank you so much Catherine for the encouragement and inspiration this book gave me. I respect your work and love the way you write! Also, I am so glad you narrated this book yourself....added more connection for me. Peace & love to all! ☮️🌟💟

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I would recommend but room to improve

The book overall is good and I enjoyed. It defiantly promoted some new thoughts and feeling on my own and social standards as well as my personal feels on these topics. However the author has written a book about being single yet she almost constantly dates!! Yes she takes a brief hiatus but the number of guys mentioned must easily be in double figures and I presume she’s only drawn on certain relationships. Maybe call it ‘The unexpected joy of searching and reviewing’

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Like a validation bath

I needed this book. Thank you for finally saying and validating the things on my heart about my single existence and making it ok to just be how and who I am. Liberating!!

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Narrated with British Accent

Did not realize the narrator was British with a thick accent. Hard for me to understand what she was saying at times and I didn’t understand a lot of the slang terms. I didn’t connect with it at all.

2 people found this helpful

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  • A. McArthur
  • 05-06-19

Possibly ok if you're young and/ or unaware

I was pretty disappointed with this - particularly with the author's black & white thinking, and very broad-stroked approach to gender roles. This is the 21st century....I'm not sure who Catherine Gray hangs out with, but by the sounds of it many of them could do with an audible subscription and recommendations for contemporary discourse on sexism, gender identity / politics... etc!! A lot of this is aimed at people who are particularly love/ relationship fixated and /or have alcohol-related issues which fundamentally affect their relationships. Hard to relate to in many places if that's not you. It mixes in pop psychology, a sprinkle of statistics, and terms which I assume are intended to endear (think on-trend phrases and witticisms). None of which work for me. I feel I didn't learn anything. Perhaps I'm too old (and perhaps - and encouragingly - too wise) for the message(s) here. Can't recommend unless you are unaware and/ or under 25 yrs (or under 30 and particularly lacking in self-awareness) in which case it may be a good place to start.

15 people found this helpful

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  • rhunter
  • 01-09-19

Hire a better narrator!

I enjoyed this and her previous book, but she is not a natural audiobook reader, it's read slowly and with virtually no intonation!

15 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-30-18

loved it

great to finally hear what I had been thinking for so long. made me relate and laugh and feel empowered

5 people found this helpful

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  • Karol M.
  • 06-06-19

Misleading title, boring to listen to.

The title should rather be "The Unexpected Joy of Being a Single Woman And Other Feminist Rants". Even though I accept most of what I've heard in the first half of the audiobook (that's all I had patience for) I find it unbearably boring to listen to. I'm also disappointed because the book almost exclusively shows the feminine side of the story, despite of the title showing no indication of that.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Nitin
  • 06-05-19

The title is misleading.

Let me get a few things out of the way first. 1. I am a man, I am not the target audience for this book. 2. The narration is terrible, you’ll either love it or hate it. 3. The story has very little to do with “joy” or “being single” 4. Change every sentence containing the word “man” to “woman” and this could be written by a man about women. To elaborate; the title is very misleading. This book should be titled “the joys of using hindsight after becoming sober “ There is very little in this book about the joy of being single. The story is more about the authors coming to terms with her poor decision making due to over 2 decades of bad decisions fuelled by alcohol. Tones of toxic masculinity and hints of man bashing run through the story, begs the question “ where were all the female friends and female role models?” the lack of love from the authors father, (the root cause of all the pain, love addiction , sleeping around, alcoholism and poor decisions) proves one thing, a good male role model is a must in any child’s life and in this case, the life of a young impressionable girl. No real joy is stated within these pages and it feels like the author is never truly single, ever! A date seem to always end up in sex but as it was just a date and sex it doesn’t seem to count and the author still considers themselves to be single. So sleeping around is ok..kinda.. when you feel like it. Maybe that’s one of the joys of being single? There are some takeaways: women, you are strong and empowered to do whatever you want , you don’t need to get married or settle just become society dictates it so. I could go on. Overall 2.5-3 out of 5

3 people found this helpful

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  • Pixiedust
  • 01-18-20

Dull, uninspiring, slow-paced & nothing new

The author pitches herself as a desperate, neurotic head-case whom clings to men by her cold dead hands before finding some hobbies & self esteem. If you already have some hobbies & self esteem this is absolute drivel.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-04-19

Another beautiful and relatable journey shared by Catherine Gray

When I became curious about giving up alcohol I turned to The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober. Whilst reading the book, I found my self gobsmacked at how many of her experiences I could relate to, as well finding places/rooms that I didn’t even know existed inside of me. This book was exactly the same; full of facts, so much love and kindness and a tool box full of knowledge and responses to arm yourself with, in the rediscovery of self. I absolutely love the way the books are narrated and can’t recommend them enough. If you’re reading this CG, thank you for going against the grain and for sharing your stories, adventures and journey. You’ve inspired such an exciting chapter in my life! To being solo and sober 👸🏻

2 people found this helpful

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  • Heather
  • 01-16-19

Captivating

Loved this honest book. Couldn’t put it down. Insightful and made me wince when I remember feeling the same way as CG. Let’s you rethink about your own life and choices and attitudes whether you’re single or not. Joy is from within. Fantastic author. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Slade
  • 01-14-19

LOVED IT!! An inspiring and empowering book!

This is an honest and open book with humour and emotion. A great listen for anyone who is or has been single which I have recommended to many female friends. Clearly written from the heart, it is also backed up with incredibly interested data. Even if you aren’t single I would still recommend you give this a listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-12-19

An uplifting and powerful read

So much to be taken from this beautifully honest and insightful book. What a gift.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-19-19

Enjoyable and validating

Lovely little book with some pearls of wisdom regardless of your relationship status. Great balanced content and a lovely conversational style BUT unfortunately the narration was painfully stilted and awkward! Very frustrating to listen to. A real shame as a professional narrator would go to town with the witty vernacular and boost this audio book significantly. Recommend reading the hard copy instead.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Emma
  • 02-21-20

Top tip, play at 1.25x speed

Really really loved the content of this book. Was very funny, witty, informative and enlightening The narration was a bit stilted, and only at the end I realised it was CG herself narrating it...surprising as I expected it would flow more naturally from the writer themselves. I enjoyed it a lot more at 1.25x speed. Really worth it nonetheless

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-30-20

Helpful and funny

I think anybody could find something in this book to relate to or make them feel better. I thought it was funny and honest.

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  • RT
  • 01-08-20

Eye opening

Wonderful book that made me realise my own self-sabotaging love addictions. So good Catherine Gray!