One Of The Hundreds Of Female Self-Help Books You’ll Read Before You’re 35

One Of The Hundreds Of Female Self-Help Books Youll Read Before Youre 35

Devin Bramhall

BY DEVIN BRAMHALLContributing Writer

Witty, lively, and uplifting are three ways to describe The 10 Women You Will Be Before You’re 35, a book by Alison James. In the book, James chronicles the embarrassing, difficult, and sometimes desperate times in a woman’s life, and declares them not only normal, but essential to the ascent to excellence. “It is everything I wish I knew at age 18,” she says.

The first chapter begins with her as the “New Graduate”-one who thinks she knows everything, but quickly realizes upon entering the working world that she is merely an amateur. James then moves on to the “Dollarless Diva” who has a bit more of a clue but is broke beyond her worst expectations. This woman steals toilet paper from work, pockets sandwiches from meetings, and “pre-drinks” at home so she won’t have to spend too much on martinis.

In subsequent chapters James describes the “Party Girl,” “Body-Conscious Babe,” the “Chameleon” (remember that boyfriend who was so cool you tried to be just like him?), “Crisis Chick” (an early mid-life crisis usually experienced around age 30), “Ms. Independence,” “Wirl” (half woman/half girl), and finally the “True You.”

Despite the timeline that is presented in the book, James acknowledges that not all women will experience each of these phases in this order, nor will they necessarily experience them only once. “I feel like each week I hit all 10 of them,” she admits

According to James, she compiled content for the book not only from her own experiences, but from surveys of women conducted on her website, her friends, and family. Also, she adds, “I have a 28 year-old editor who provides a lot of feedback.”

I found that the “Dollarless Diva” stage was missing one important nightmare, arguably worse than being broke: moving back home. She assumes that the norm is for new graduates to move straight into the working world; however, in today’s economy the “Dollarless Diva” must endure much worse than living on her own and being broke-her parents!

Nevertheless, while the book could not possibly cover every nightmarish situation a woman will go through before she is 35, it does present 10 common phases that are for most women inevitable.

One of the most practical pieces of advice James offers to the “Dollarless Diva” is investing instructions. She describes the various ways in which a woman can invest her money, and gives tips for making extra cash on the side (no, she does not include Drug Distribution for Profit 101). The easiest job James reveals…eBay.

Of course, James says when she was younger, “I would focus on that one person who has a six figure salary right out of college and is married by twenty-four.”

Overall, James says, “I think we feel like we need to have it all figured out right away.” However, as she says in her book, we will continue to learn and change throughout our entire lives. Therefore, while we may grow past the novice phase of the “New Graduate,” we will undoubtedly revisit this phase again later in our lives.

So what does James suggest we do? “Fate dishes us this multiple-personality state of being young and female on purpose, and it’s our job to laugh at it and learn from it (given that it’s not possible to hunt fate down and smack her silly for torturing us).”

The 10 Women You’ll Be Before You’re 35 is an essential read, even for the most stubborn or self-assured (and arguably in denial) of young women. At its worst, the book serves as a few hours of entertainment at the expense of women more unfortunate than yourself (that is, if you are Paris Hilton). However, at it’s best, the book is an entertaining way of looking at your present state of affairs, and a reminder that you are, in fact, one of many young women experiencing the same thing. As James says, “Sometimes it just helps people to realize that they are normal.”

James has another book out titled I Used to Miss Him…But My Aim is Improving, on how to cope after a bad breakup. Currently, James is working on finishing her next book about how far a woman should go to make a relationship work. This book is due to come out a year from now.

For those interested in learning more about James, visit her website at You can also catch her appearance on the VH1 special “Most Awesomely Bad Breakup Songs of All Time” coming up in May.