When can we say we’ll be single forever—and that’s okay? One woman questions our society’s pathologizing of loneliness in this crackling, incisive blend of memoir and cultural reporting.

One evening, thirtysomething writer Aimée Lutkin found herself at a dinner party surrounded by couples. When the conversation turned to her love life, Lutkin stated simply, “I don’t really know if I’m going to date anyone ever again. Some people are just alone forever.” Her friends rushed to assure her that love comes when you least expect it and to make recommendations for new dating apps. But Lutkin wondered, Why, when there are more unmarried adults than ever before, is there so much pressure to couple up? Why does everyone treat me as though my real life won’t start until I find a partner? Isn’t this my real life, the one I’m living right now? Is something wrong with me, or is something wrong with our culture?

A new look at singlehood and loneliness

Over the next year, Lutkin set out to answer these questions and see if there really was some trick to escaping loneliness. She went on hundreds of dates; read the sociologists, authors, and relationship experts exploring singlehood and loneliness; dove into the wellness industrial complex; tossed it all aside to binge-watch Netflix and eat nachos, and probed the capitalist structures that make alternative family arrangements nearly impossible.

Along the way, she discovered that her feelings of loneliness were shared by many other women—and that our culture is obsessed with finding a cure for loneliness, even as it makes life harder and harder for single people.

More support for single people

“The Lonely Hunter” does seem to get back on track in the final chapter where the author does start discussing how there are other ways to keep loneliness at bay, not just a romantic relationship. She also briefly mentions how community structures and policies favor married couples, and how these things need to change to be more supportive of single people.

“The Lonely Hunter” is an intimate, relatable, and often funny look at the joys and pains of being single in a world that still doesn’t know what to do with single people.

And here’s what others say about this book:

Every once in a blue moon, a book comes along that I enjoy so thoroughly, that is so interesting and entertaining and witty, that I can’t put it down. This is that type of book. Highly recommended, particularly to anyone who has chosen to enjoy a life of singlehood, to gain insights into our society and how we think while enjoying Aimée’s deft sense of humor.

I devoured this book. Long-term single and Aimée articulated so well the optimism and heartbreak that goes along with consistently putting yourself out there. I couldn’t recommend it more highly to long-term singles but also wish more coupled people would take the time to read it as well.

An enjoyable, insightful read. The stories are detailed and funny, and the research put into this novel is impressive. It’s fun to laugh and learn through a read. I found the conclusion to be esp. wise and loving. My mind is expanded and my heart is hopeful after reading “The Lonely Hunter.”