Solitaire: The Intimate Lives of Single Women


296 pages
ISBN 1-55199-064-4
DDC 305.48'9652




Reviewed by Erin Millions

Erin Millions teaches in the Department of History at the University of


Solitaire looks at what it means to be a single woman in Canada in the
21st century. As Fraser notes, many Canadians still hold outdated
attitudes towards women who are not married. As a result, although
single women constitute a significant portion of the population, they
occupy an unseen space in our society and face hardships as a result of
this marginalization. Fraser, herself a single woman, opens the book
with a history of the attitudes toward and the place of single women in
Canada and Western society over the last 400 years. The body of her work
is based on interviews with over 150 women from across Canada who range
in age from 20-something to 94. The women are of different ethnicities
and sexual orientations; some never married while others are divorced or
widowed. Fraser contemplates what constitutes a single woman, and goes
on to explore single women’s views on and experiences with everything
from finances and children to sex.

Solitaire is both insightful and thought-provoking. Fraser not only
shows readers why society’s views of single women exist and where they
came from, but she also delves into topics, like masturbation and
lesbianism, that are often ignored or considered “impolite” to
discuss. However, the book’s most intriguing part is the interviews
and what they reveal about the reality of the women’s lives.


Fraser, Marian Botsford., “Solitaire: The Intimate Lives of Single Women,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,