(Book Review) Party of One: Truth, Longing, and the Subtle Art of Singleness

Reviewed by: Victoria Lawson of Fort Wayne, Indiana, a professional writing major at Taylor University.



Title: Party of One: Truth, Longing, and the Subtle Art of Singleness

Author: Joy Beth Smith

Publisher: Thomas Nelson Books

Publication Date: February 6, 2018

Format: Paperback book

Length: 218 pages


Challenging, bold, and refreshingly honest, this book is sure to bring a timely new perspective to the way Christians approach singles ministry. Party of One humbly calls for reform in how the Church perceives singles, addresses the problems with the purity culture, explores sexuality in the context of singleness, and encourages unapologetic single living in 13 relatable, gospel-filled chapters. Lighthearted and deeply convicting in all the right places, Party of One delves into the depths of frustration, beauty, longing and empowerment in this book that is sure to inspire. With insights on personal fulfillment, individual goal setting, and solo missions, this text promotes self-awareness and private focusing as legitimate forms of service and worship.

Party of One is more of a challenge than a commentary on Christian singleness. It rejects the stigma attached to singleness in the church. It confronts destructive, clichéd advice singles have been given by well-meaning relatives and friends. It encourages readers to have meaningful, productive conversations about sex, empowerment, loneliness, insecurity, and how all of these complex topics and emotions fit into the gospel. While Joy Beth Smith’s writing style seems very “blogger-esque,” Party of One is far from a Christian teenage dating novel. Smith explores heavy, nuanced topics with both charm and wisdom, and there are certainly some topics better suited for mature audiences. Overall, Party of One offers a treasure trove of valuable truths, and it opens up a world of conversation that is much-needed in today’s culture.


Rating (1 to 5)

Four stars

Suggested Audience

Single Christians, particularly women, ages 18 and older

Christian Impact

Some of Party of One’s strongest themes assert that Christian singles are often viewed as “less-than” spiritually and socially minded as married couples, that the Church often accommodates married couples more readily, and that there is a stigma around Christian singles that needs to be addressed. The lack of support, the unbiblical advice, and the years of unrealistic expectations facing singles (especially single women) in the church is a sad issue, one which Joy Beth Smith tackles boldly and gracefully.

Other notes

There was one part of the book that unsettled me theologically, which was the section on masturbation. Smith brings a variety of diverse views to the table to discuss whether or not masturbation is immoral, yet never seems to take a side herself, calling it a “gray area” due to the fact that masturbation is never explicitly condemned in the Bible. I found that section somewhat bizarre, but it certainly made room for some introspection, and it brought a taboo topic into the open with sincerity and humility.

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About Evangelical Church Library Association

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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