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The Art of Not Having it All: One Woman's Guide to Love, Men, and Other Everyday Disasters

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A hilarious guide to not having it all, with vague instructions on what to do when you’ve dropped all the balls you ought to have kept in the air, perfect for fans of Caitlin Moran Does an exciting weekend for you mean scrubbing all the grouting in your bathroom with a toothbrush? Do you ponder marrying the Albanian builder who has just fitted alcove shelving because he's b A hilarious guide to not having it all, with vague instructions on what to do when you’ve dropped all the balls you ought to have kept in the air, perfect for fans of Caitlin Moran Does an exciting weekend for you mean scrubbing all the grouting in your bathroom with a toothbrush? Do you ponder marrying the Albanian builder who has just fitted alcove shelving because he's brought you more happiness in three days than your useless ex-boyfriend brought you in three years? Do you write to-do lists that need paginating, and include items such as "re-mortgage house, get pregnant, climb Kilimanjaro"? Welcome to Melissa Kite's life. If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, clearly you too are a desperate single woman trying to survive in the modern world. If not, congratulations: you will have a good laugh reading this book. When Melissa first started writing a column in the Spectator magazine, she had no idea there was anyone else out there remotely like her. Nearly every other woman she knew seemed to be heroically juggling work and family life.  By contrast, Melissa felt as though, in the fluttering mass of yellow Post-it notes on her fridge there was one that read, “Don’t forget to get married and have kids,” which had got covered in shopping lists, dry-cleaner receipts and waste collection schedules.  In this hilarious, poignant memoir, Melissa details her adventures in not having it all, from her epic struggle to free a chubby angelfish which wedged itself in a plastic log, to her escape from a French holiday with her boyfriend gone terribly wrong.


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A hilarious guide to not having it all, with vague instructions on what to do when you’ve dropped all the balls you ought to have kept in the air, perfect for fans of Caitlin Moran Does an exciting weekend for you mean scrubbing all the grouting in your bathroom with a toothbrush? Do you ponder marrying the Albanian builder who has just fitted alcove shelving because he's b A hilarious guide to not having it all, with vague instructions on what to do when you’ve dropped all the balls you ought to have kept in the air, perfect for fans of Caitlin Moran Does an exciting weekend for you mean scrubbing all the grouting in your bathroom with a toothbrush? Do you ponder marrying the Albanian builder who has just fitted alcove shelving because he's brought you more happiness in three days than your useless ex-boyfriend brought you in three years? Do you write to-do lists that need paginating, and include items such as "re-mortgage house, get pregnant, climb Kilimanjaro"? Welcome to Melissa Kite's life. If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, clearly you too are a desperate single woman trying to survive in the modern world. If not, congratulations: you will have a good laugh reading this book. When Melissa first started writing a column in the Spectator magazine, she had no idea there was anyone else out there remotely like her. Nearly every other woman she knew seemed to be heroically juggling work and family life.  By contrast, Melissa felt as though, in the fluttering mass of yellow Post-it notes on her fridge there was one that read, “Don’t forget to get married and have kids,” which had got covered in shopping lists, dry-cleaner receipts and waste collection schedules.  In this hilarious, poignant memoir, Melissa details her adventures in not having it all, from her epic struggle to free a chubby angelfish which wedged itself in a plastic log, to her escape from a French holiday with her boyfriend gone terribly wrong.

30 review for The Art of Not Having it All: One Woman's Guide to Love, Men, and Other Everyday Disasters

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    If Karen Walker from Will and Grace, wrote a book this is what the outcome would be. She's snobby, has man problems and is a little bitter, but overall she is still entertaining. I am not sure if Melissa Kite's life is worthy of a book, (especially a book whose title is about hardship), since the most difficult times in her life seemed to be about very trivial stuff. However after I got over her snobby attitude and ridiculous lifestyle I did start to enjoy this book more. There is a lot of rambl If Karen Walker from Will and Grace, wrote a book this is what the outcome would be. She's snobby, has man problems and is a little bitter, but overall she is still entertaining. I am not sure if Melissa Kite's life is worthy of a book, (especially a book whose title is about hardship), since the most difficult times in her life seemed to be about very trivial stuff. However after I got over her snobby attitude and ridiculous lifestyle I did start to enjoy this book more. There is a lot of rambling, but for the most part it is a decent read. Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Borrow Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rob Slaven

    As is often the case I received this book for free in exchange for a review. Despite that kindness I am absolutely candid about it below because I would hope that the reviews I rely on are just as honest as this one. The book summary is simply that of a modern day memoir of a lower-upper class woman in Britain who is navigating the perils of dating in her late thirties. She's besieged by Mr. Wrong on every side but still keeps looking for that one perfect someone. To the positive side, I really ap As is often the case I received this book for free in exchange for a review. Despite that kindness I am absolutely candid about it below because I would hope that the reviews I rely on are just as honest as this one. The book summary is simply that of a modern day memoir of a lower-upper class woman in Britain who is navigating the perils of dating in her late thirties. She's besieged by Mr. Wrong on every side but still keeps looking for that one perfect someone. To the positive side, I really appreciate the author's style and humor. Despite her travails she keeps an amused attitude towards things and doesn't slip into the dark and negative. No matter what happens there's always a happy edge to what's going on. Also, the author keeps things relatively clean and respectful throughout despite the book's subtitle (at least in my ARC) that there's a lot of sex going on. Such taboo topics are dealt with honestly but not graphically. It's good to have this book as an example to women that they don't have to go through the standard life flowchart that seems all too common in today's Midwestern America. It's not all about gettin' hitched and poppin' out babies, as we tend to say around here. The only negative I would note is that the book's audience is rather specific. Most gents aren't going to find much to appreciate and many woman aren't going to sympathize with the author's situation since it's much different to be single in your late thirties when you're barely making the rent as compared to the author's obviously affluent situation. If you like Sex and the City you'll like this. If you were a devoted fan of Roseanne then maybe not so much. In summary, this is a strong and uniquely witty book that will keep some audiences enthralled and some audiences hurling the book across the foyer. The key is to figure out what audience you are before you plunk down the cash for the book. Hopefully I've helped you make that decision.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nissa

    Started out funny and brash - single woman who is occasionally inept (televisions, plumbing), but with great friends and a sense of humor about her unwillingness to commit - but midway through took a swift downturn. Kite has a lot of unacknowledged privilege (dates via helicopter, celebrity connections, and frequent tropical vacations) which became really tedious. She lost me as a reader when her right-wing politics surfaced, and she started to spout hatred toward "lefties" and wished to emulate Started out funny and brash - single woman who is occasionally inept (televisions, plumbing), but with great friends and a sense of humor about her unwillingness to commit - but midway through took a swift downturn. Kite has a lot of unacknowledged privilege (dates via helicopter, celebrity connections, and frequent tropical vacations) which became really tedious. She lost me as a reader when her right-wing politics surfaced, and she started to spout hatred toward "lefties" and wished to emulate Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin. However, I wanted to finish the book, and kept on until the end, where she fell for a working class guy who really cared about her. She seemed incredulous that she might be able to have a relationship with someone who wasn't rolling in money. Ugh. The occasional laughs were not worth the disgusting lack of perspective, courtesy, and common sense.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy Prewitt

    I thought it would be witty and smart. Instead I gave up when after 75 pages she was still lamenting how much her life sucks without a man around. Pity because reviews seem to favor it. Maybe you have to be a fan of her column to really appreciate it?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    Not funny, painful to read. Couldn't even get through the first chapter before I gave up. I received a digital version of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my review. Not funny, painful to read. Couldn't even get through the first chapter before I gave up. I received a digital version of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I couldn’t even get past the preface. What a snotty, entitled whiner.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mrs Mommy Booknerd http://mrsmommybooknerd.blogspot.com

    Funny, honest and harsh at times, this book is amazingly well written and a hoot to read. I find it be be comforting to hear the truth, with grace (at times, not), humor and a sense of self. Fun stuff! 4 stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dania

    Expect dry humor and dry laugh. Light read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Madeline Wright

    Not sure why this took me so long to get through. All I know is that the last 25% was far more engaging than the first 75% for me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kortimi

    Not sure why I finished this. I could not relate to her at all. Too neurotic for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen Germain

    As regular readers of my blog already know, I've spent the fall taking a memoir writing class and I'm also on a kick with reading memoirs. I saw Melissa Kite's The Art of Not Having it All on Netgalley and it caught my eye. Thank you to St. Martin's Press for approving me for an advanced copy of this entertaining memoir. Plot - Forty-something conservative columnist Melissa Kite writes about her wild adventures in her pursuit of love. After jilting her fiancé, Kite finds herself having trouble na As regular readers of my blog already know, I've spent the fall taking a memoir writing class and I'm also on a kick with reading memoirs. I saw Melissa Kite's The Art of Not Having it All on Netgalley and it caught my eye. Thank you to St. Martin's Press for approving me for an advanced copy of this entertaining memoir. Plot - Forty-something conservative columnist Melissa Kite writes about her wild adventures in her pursuit of love. After jilting her fiancé, Kite finds herself having trouble nailing down her perfect man. She is a strong woman, but she would love to have a man who can fix her plumbing and program her remote control, in addition to being her soul mate. Through the course of the book, Kite begins to realize the differences between what she thinks she needs and what she really requires in a partner. One of the biggest telling moments is when she finds herself on a helicopter being whisked off to a fancy lunch with an eccentric married millionaire and she realizes that this is making her uncomfortable. Kite's books is filled with many colorful characters, including the men she dates and her female friends. She is clearly the sane one in the bunch. My favorite part of the book is when Kite recounts going on a girls weekend riding holiday and they get completely lost. The women are loathe to admit that they are clueless, which makes the situation even funnier. I laughed out-loud several times and I enjoyed the mention of Newbury, my husband's hometown. Like - Kite is genuinely funny. She comes from a serious journalistic background, but this book reminds me more of something Chelsea Handler might write. I had not previously heard of Kite, but when I looked her up, I was surprised that she isn't a comedienne. Kite comes across as an "everywoman" and although she is looking for a partner, she is a modern single-girl, going on vacations with her friends and generally living a fabulous life. She is strong and even if she doesn't find love, you know that she will be okay. She's somewhat of a real-world hybrid of Carrie Bradshaw and Brigitte Jones. The strong characters, crazy scenarios and funny writing, kept me reading. Dislike - Occasionally the stories ran long and by the end of the chapter, my interest was waning. As with many memoir or anthology books, some stories were more entertaining than others. I really favored the stories where Kite was vacationing with friends, but less so when she was going on dates. My dislikes in no way eclipsed my overall enjoyment of Kite's book. Recommend - Yes. This is a fun, lighthearted memoir and I'd especially recommend it to single-women looking to commiserate. Kite has more bad dates than any single woman should ever have to endure. I connected with Kite's general message of "Having it all comes in different packages" and really, nobody "has it all". What does it mean to "have it all" anyways? Shape your life that way you want it, live it and be happy. Like my review? Check out my blog!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lorilin

    I was put off a bit by Kite's tone when I first started reading this book. I wasn't expecting her to be as Debbie Downer as she was. But in time I caught on to her dry sense of humor and realized that much of her musings are tongue in cheek. I stopped taking her so seriously and was, therefore, able to relax into her story. And, ultimately, this ended up being an enjoyable, entertaining book. Kite's focus is on her adventures as a single woman, but her experiences are funny enough--and her perspe I was put off a bit by Kite's tone when I first started reading this book. I wasn't expecting her to be as Debbie Downer as she was. But in time I caught on to her dry sense of humor and realized that much of her musings are tongue in cheek. I stopped taking her so seriously and was, therefore, able to relax into her story. And, ultimately, this ended up being an enjoyable, entertaining book. Kite's focus is on her adventures as a single woman, but her experiences are funny enough--and her perspective is lighthearted and unique enough--that I felt engaged the entire book through (despite the fact that I am not the target audience). I especially appreciated how she was able to wrap everything up to deliver a satisfying conclusion to her story. Overall, this was a quick, funny, satisfying read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Okay, so I'm happily married for 40 (gasp) years, have never lacked for a handy man (again, said husband), have the requisite number of progeny, and can't say I've ever been introduced to any A-list celebrities, but, nonetheless, I felt a kinship with Melissa Kite that transcended our differences. (Did I mention I'm almost old enough to be her mother?) Kite's tales of life as a real life Bridget Jones is at once hilarious, and, at the same time, just plain good writing. Perhaps closest to David Okay, so I'm happily married for 40 (gasp) years, have never lacked for a handy man (again, said husband), have the requisite number of progeny, and can't say I've ever been introduced to any A-list celebrities, but, nonetheless, I felt a kinship with Melissa Kite that transcended our differences. (Did I mention I'm almost old enough to be her mother?) Kite's tales of life as a real life Bridget Jones is at once hilarious, and, at the same time, just plain good writing. Perhaps closest to David Sedaris in humor and tone; certainly exhibiting a well-toned style born of years as a columnist. She's a hoot and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a vicarious laugh at the plight of the British single woman.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I read a lot of books and luckily I get most of them free...For instance- I want to thank NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for allowing me to review this book. BUT this book was not for me. As I was reading the book, I wanted to take the author aside, since it's a memoir, and give her some advice. Counsel her on the things she was doing wrong. She really wanted it all, and kept ending up with nothing, because of what she did or did not do. She does not take her life too seriously so that I read a lot of books and luckily I get most of them free...For instance- I want to thank NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for allowing me to review this book. BUT this book was not for me. As I was reading the book, I wanted to take the author aside, since it's a memoir, and give her some advice. Counsel her on the things she was doing wrong. She really wanted it all, and kept ending up with nothing, because of what she did or did not do. She does not take her life too seriously so that was in her favor. She found humor in most of the things that happened to her, so that is a good thing, but it also kept her from moving forward in her life. Basically, this book is good if you want a smooth, fun read about someone who does not take life seriously.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alicia McQuade

    I found it very hard to make my mind up about this book. On one hand Melissa Kite's anecdotes, gossip-like observances, and wit kept me wanting to read more. On the other, her somewhat over the top flare for the dramatic, rambling, and susceptibility for rather sexist observations made me often wince and wonder why I was still reading it. All in all, although it's a hodgepodge of erratic emotions, it does give some insightful little 'aha' moments and a few good laughs... I found it very hard to make my mind up about this book. On one hand Melissa Kite's anecdotes, gossip-like observances, and wit kept me wanting to read more. On the other, her somewhat over the top flare for the dramatic, rambling, and susceptibility for rather sexist observations made me often wince and wonder why I was still reading it. All in all, although it's a hodgepodge of erratic emotions, it does give some insightful little 'aha' moments and a few good laughs...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katarina

    I read the whole book. It kept me interested enough to finish it, but there wasn't anything exceptionally good that hooked me. I already DNF'd another book this week, so really wanted to finish this one. It was ok, but not that funny, and I didn't really connect to Melissa. Her struggles seemed somewhat forced or far-fetched, and I didn't get any of the laughs I expected. I read the whole book. It kept me interested enough to finish it, but there wasn't anything exceptionally good that hooked me. I already DNF'd another book this week, so really wanted to finish this one. It was ok, but not that funny, and I didn't really connect to Melissa. Her struggles seemed somewhat forced or far-fetched, and I didn't get any of the laughs I expected.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Prasanna

    The Art of Not having it All is a witty and humorous take on the life of single, 40-something women. The author will tell you about her deepest fears and biggest disappointments, but she will also make you laugh about it and you will never keep the book without a smile on your face. The Art of Not having it All is a witty and humorous take on the life of single, 40-something women. The author will tell you about her deepest fears and biggest disappointments, but she will also make you laugh about it and you will never keep the book without a smile on your face.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    If you like reading about dating disasters,and romances going wrong;this is the book for you.This would be a good read for the thirtysomething single women out there who are looking for romance and laughter in their lives.I won this book on goodreads,and the author's writing me a little of Sophie Kinsella;whose writing I enjoy very much. If you like reading about dating disasters,and romances going wrong;this is the book for you.This would be a good read for the thirtysomething single women out there who are looking for romance and laughter in their lives.I won this book on goodreads,and the author's writing me a little of Sophie Kinsella;whose writing I enjoy very much.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Faith

    I didn't really like the preface but I am glad I didn't stop there because after that the rest was mostly very entertaining, fun and funny! I enjoyed the book and I look forward to reading more of her books if she decides to pen more in the future. :) For now, I'll check out her articles. :) I didn't really like the preface but I am glad I didn't stop there because after that the rest was mostly very entertaining, fun and funny! I enjoyed the book and I look forward to reading more of her books if she decides to pen more in the future. :) For now, I'll check out her articles. :)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Seanna Yeager

    I won a free copy of this book through a good read contest. I enjoyed this book due the fact that I am an absolute disaster at dating. Makes one feel a little bit better to know there are others out there like you, to some degree.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heatherly Hardin

    Honest, forthright, and charming! This collection of stories will be endearing and identifiable to women of all ages.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sara Randall

    No story line, just random encounters experienced by the main character. Not that interesting of a book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Seng

    Review will follow

  24. 5 out of 5

    Deyara

    Quite funny, though she is a drama-queen and that got a bit much.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bengali Girl

    It was not as great as I thought it would be.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    great escape This was a fun book with laughs and situations to which I can relate. It was an easy read perfect for vacation!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jade

    Whilst I am not single and at times found the author a bit of a brat, I really enjoyed the book and feel that most women can relate somewhere within the journey

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robin Laborde

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bailey Riddle

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