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I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids

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I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids Cover

ISBN13: 9781451667004
ISBN10: 1451667000
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"You'll Change Your Mind."

That's what everyone says to Jen Kirkman — and countless women like her — when she confesses she doesn't plan to have children. But you know what? It's hard enough to be an adult. You have to dress yourself and pay bills and remember to buy birthday gifts. You have to drive and get annual physicals and tip for good service. Some adults take on the added burden of caring for a tiny human being with no language skills or bladder control. Parenthood can be very rewarding, but lets face it, so are margaritas at the adults-only pool.

Jen's stand-up routine includes lots of jokes about not having kids (and some about masturbation and Johnny Depp), after which complete strangers constantly approach her and ask, “But who will take care of you when you're old?” (Servants!) Some insist, “You'd be such a great mom!” (Really? You know me so well!)

Whether living rent-free in her childhood bedroom while trying to break into comedy (the best free birth control around, she says), or taking the stage at major clubs and joining a hit TV show — and along the way getting married, divorced, and attending excruciating afternoon birthday parties for her parent friends — Jen is completely happy and fulfilled by her decision not to procreate.

I Can Barely Take Care of Myself is a beacon of hilarious hope for anyone whose major life decisions have been questioned by friends, family, and strangers in a comedy club bathroom. And it should satisfy everyone who wonders if Jen will ever know true love without looking into the eyes of her child.

Review:

“If you've ever been told you'd ‘change your mind’ about anything in life — when you knew that you wouldn't — this book is for you. Jen has a unique, fresh and funny way of reminding people that sometimes, you really do know what's best for you. I’m glad she didn’t change her mind about writing this smart, brave, and heartfelt book.” Sarah Colonna

Review:

“This book takes you through the journey of Jen Kirkman’s misunderstood child-free life. I’m now convinced of two things: Jen is freaking hilarious and she should definitely not have a baby — she should have a Valium.” ThirdBeatMagazine.com

Review:

“Jen Kirkman’s wickedly original yet totally universal debut about the expectations of others kicks so much ass you'll agree with her even when you don’t. Not for the stupidly over-sensitive. For lovers of great!” Whitney Cummings, creator of Two Broke Girls and Whitney

Review:

“Jen Kirkman has written an excellent — and very funny — guide to promote not having children. Thanks girl, for saving me the time.” Chelsea Handler

Review:

“A seriously humorous stance on deciding not to have kids....With the novelist’s penchant for self-flagellation and exploitation, and jokes punctuating at least every page, this book is ideal for the woman who needs a quick comeback for those who criticize her about not wanting kids, or for those just looking to laugh.” TheHairpin.com

Review:

“Very funny...the core of the book is about not wanting to have children, and the ways in which society gets up in your face about it....I laughed out loud several times.” InTouch magazine

Review:

“Between these charming, cringe-worthy, and badass tales, Kirkman successfully convinces us she isn’t meant for motherhood. It’s safe to say she’s much better suited to birthing books.” Publisher's Weekly

About the Author

Jen Kirkman is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actress well known for the award-winning short series, Drunk History. She has two comedy albums, Self-Help and Hail to the Freaks, and writes for and appears as a comedian/panelist on E’s Chelsea Lately and After Lately.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Clara Sayre, February 21, 2013 (view all comments by Clara Sayre)
(review originally posted on shelftalker.wordpress.com)

I am a childfree (CF) lady, just like Jen (I feel like we’re on a first name basis with each other since she responded to my tweet when I flipped out on Twitter about how much I loved this book). We’re both in our thirties and we seem to have the same sense of humor. Beyond that, our lives segue onto very different paths, but for a brief moment in time, while reading her book, I felt as though she could be my doppelgänger.

And being childfree (especially by choice, which I am) while trying to find others like you isn’t always easy. I’ve almost made it through every book on the subject and I’m always on the look-out for more (granted, there are maybe only seven books total, but writing that makes me seem like a scholar on the subject). When a book can combine self-deprecating humor and embarrassing personal anecdotes to tackle a subject like this, I’m instantly enthusiastic.

So I messaged Jen seconds after putting the book down (warning: contains some non-grandmother approved words):

Clara Sayre ‏@clarasayre

@JenKirkman Just finished your book (I work in a bookstore & got an advance)…F******G BRILLIANT.
@JenKirkman I could relate to everything. It’s said all the time, but I kept thinking you were writing about me….
@JenKirkman CF guilt? Chk. Saying “well, maybe”? Chk. 13 yrs. of ballet & no body fat? Chk. Weight gain after marriage? Chk. Anxiety? CHK!
@JenKirkman The list goes on and on and on…anyway, thank you. :) I’m going to be hand-selling the S**T out of that book when published!

She direct messaged me back, appreciative of positive feedback regarding her book. My night was made.

I Can Barely Take Care of Myself is all memoir with none of the boring bits thrown in for continuity sake. Kirkman (a comedian/panelist on E’s Chelsea Lately and After Lately) doesn’t shy away from anything, whether it’s recounting the increasing paranoia & anxiety she experienced at the age of nine after watching the fictional nuclear war movie, The Day After, moving back in with her parents right after graduating college, trying to win back an ex-boyfriend by giving him a copy of Superfudge or her failed attempts at babysitting, which resulted in one child obsessing about untimely death and another one wearing his mom’s lipstick.

She takes us through her early years of stand-up comedy, relationships that came and went, and how she met her (now ex-) husband. She describes the familiar tale of getting engaged and immediately being hounded with questions about when they were going to have children (and then being asked why they were even bothering getting married if they weren’t having kids). Recounting one of these conversations with an aquaintance at a friend’s wedding, Kirkman is astounded at the woman’s audacity (“Help me. I’m being judged by a woman for an abortion I didn’t have!”) and later tries to convince her husband that he needs to to take the heat off of her by lying and saying he got a vasectomy.

But my favorite part, by far, is when Reverend Kirkman starts preaching toward the end:

"I resent having to refer to my career as my baby in order to explain myself to parents. It suggests that as long as a woman has something she feels maternal toward, then she passes as a regular human being . . . Women don’t have to have maternal urges to be women . . . Men don’t call their careers their sons or daughters.

It’s a weird thing society puts on us women. They tell us that we can have careers . . . and then they tell us that we aren’t real women if we have careers but no babies, and if we dare pick a career over a baby…we better at least talk about that career like it’s a baby in order to blend in and not call attention to the fact that we’re selfish women who are not carrying on the human race."

I was giddy while reading this book. I was relieved, I was laughing, I was cringing. I dog-eared my way through (for e-readers: that means I bent the page corners over in lieu of a bookmark). I underlined passages that particularly connected with me. I fist-pumped after finishing two different sections that immediately made me feel less self-conscious about myself. Because not only was she able to share snippets of her life that read like a regular memoir but culminate into the many reasons why she’s not having kids, she was also able to connect with the reader on a personal level, especially those of us who wonder if our anxiety disorders play a part in not wanting to become parents.

This is the childfree memoir I’ve been looking for. This is the book that gave me the courage to write my CF story and submit it to a high-traffic blog, where it was later published. When this book is released in April, I hope that it inspires a whole slew of childfree memoirs by women who need to share their stories, but until now, haven’t found an outlet. I hope that it encourages discussion and awareness that women are so much more than our ability to reproduce.

And after all of that, you know what’s even better? It’s laugh-out-loud hilarious and a worthy addition to a bookstore’s Humor or Biography section, let alone a Childfree section (hey, a lady can dream, right?).
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781451667004
Subtitle:
Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids
Author:
Kirkman, Jen
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Biography-Entertainment and Performing Arts
Publication Date:
20130416
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Comedians
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Family
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Biography » Entertainment and Performing Arts
Biography » General
Biography » Women
Business » General
Featured Titles » Biography
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General

I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$22.00 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781451667004 Reviews:
"Review" by , “If you've ever been told you'd ‘change your mind’ about anything in life — when you knew that you wouldn't — this book is for you. Jen has a unique, fresh and funny way of reminding people that sometimes, you really do know what's best for you. I’m glad she didn’t change her mind about writing this smart, brave, and heartfelt book.”
"Review" by , “This book takes you through the journey of Jen Kirkman’s misunderstood child-free life. I’m now convinced of two things: Jen is freaking hilarious and she should definitely not have a baby — she should have a Valium.”
"Review" by , “Jen Kirkman’s wickedly original yet totally universal debut about the expectations of others kicks so much ass you'll agree with her even when you don’t. Not for the stupidly over-sensitive. For lovers of great!”
"Review" by , “Jen Kirkman has written an excellent — and very funny — guide to promote not having children. Thanks girl, for saving me the time.”
"Review" by , “A seriously humorous stance on deciding not to have kids....With the novelist’s penchant for self-flagellation and exploitation, and jokes punctuating at least every page, this book is ideal for the woman who needs a quick comeback for those who criticize her about not wanting kids, or for those just looking to laugh.”
"Review" by , “Very funny...the core of the book is about not wanting to have children, and the ways in which society gets up in your face about it....I laughed out loud several times.”
"Review" by , “Between these charming, cringe-worthy, and badass tales, Kirkman successfully convinces us she isn’t meant for motherhood. It’s safe to say she’s much better suited to birthing books.”
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