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

( 19 )

Overview

"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 let's face it, so...

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

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Overview

"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 let's 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
In this audiobook, comedian Jen Kirkman bemoans the many people who are shocked that she doesn’t want children, and keep badgering her about it despite her best efforts to defend her life choices. Kirkman reads in a friendly, humorous tone, provides voices for the rude and insistent pro-procreation people she encounters, and perfectly delivers sarcastic one-liners about the benefits of remaining child-free. This audio edition is very entertaining: the anecdotes about intrusive busybodies are funny, and Kirkman offers up observations about other topics, including her overprotective parents, her fear of flying, and tales of former boyfriends. However, after a few hours, listeners may grow tired of the book’s somewhat limited subject matter (the reasons for not having kids), and the audiobook starts to lose a little steam. Still fans of Kirkman—and anyone whose not ready or willing to raise a little bundle of joy—will find this an entertaining listen. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Apr.)
Library Journal - Audio
09/15/2013
Comedian Kirkman's first book is an acerbic memoir about her choice not to have children and the myriad ways people find to question, criticize, and analyze that decision. The book follows a loosely chronological format, beginning with childhood adventures in babysitting and concluding with the appealing portrait of Miriam, Kirkman's role model for a child-free lifestyle. Kirkman is at her best when she is fearlessly revealing the quirkier elements of her personality and story, and many of the anecdotes about her family and friends contain funny moments as well as persuasive reasons why her decision should be respected rather than scrutinized. The audiobook is narrated by the author herself, whose slightly nasal, raspy voice lends the recording the feel of a six-hour rant delivered by a friend, likely over drinks and cigarettes. It will be up to the listener to decide whether Kirkman is the kind of friend who merits that much time. VERDICT Should appeal to fans of the bawdy, profane humor of Chelsea Handler and fellow Chelsea Lately alum Heather MacDonald, as well as listeners who can relate to Kirkman's experience of having very personal life choices incessantly questioned, sometimes by perfect strangers. ["Even if you are a parent or hope to be, this book shows the other side of the coin by dispelling the myth that a woman who is child-free by choice will eventually change her mind," read the review of the New York Times best-selling S. & S. hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 2/21/13.—Ed.]—Heather Malcolm, Bow, WA
From the Publisher
"Jen Kirkman has written an excellent—-and very funny—-guide to promote not having children. Thanks girl, for saving me the time." —-Chelsea Handler
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452612133
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/22/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged CD
  • Sales rank: 1,446,665
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Jen Kirkman is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actor 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 on E!'s Chelsea Lately and After Lately.

Jen Kirkman is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actor 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 on E!'s Chelsea Lately and After Lately.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    Read it in one sitting - no kids to distract me!

    Jen Kirkman being child-free by choice details exactly what it is like to be constantly called immature, selfish and generally guilted into having kids when you don't want to. If you too are child-free OR know someone who is you should be reading this book in between nappies. Seriously though - really good voice and one that MANY will find some comfort/solace in.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Absolutely fantastic!! Jen Kirkman is taking a stand for so many

    Absolutely fantastic!! Jen Kirkman is taking a stand for so many of us out there that have made the choice to be child-free. I've told all the "no kids for me!" people in my life to read this book. It's funny, frank, makes you laugh, makes you angry... all-in-all a must read for everyone. Even if you have kids, please read it, it'll give you a different perspective on our decision to not have kids.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    Thank you Jen Kirkman!

    You nailed it and thanks for doing so on behalf of we in the childfree by choice community. Sometimes I feel like people think I'm crazy when I try to explain the nonsense I've had to endure my entire life, but I think from now on I will just refer them to your book. This should be required reading for parents whose sense of entitlement these days is beyond overblown. I can't wait to buy copies to pass out to my other CFBC friends!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2014

    Gorgeous

    Gorgeous

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2013

    Like it

    Entertaining and quick read, Jen hits all the points on how it feels to not have kids when it seems like everyone else does.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Not to shabby!

    I am a woman much like Jen Kirkman (minus the fam and fortune) so I was excited to relate to another woman in her mid-30s without a child. It was nice to see all people harass equally, no matter what state you live in. I enjoyed the book and it was an easy, fast summer read. Nothing too serious and just enough insanity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    So relatable

    Glad to know others have to deal with the ridiculous responses people give when you tell them you don't want children.

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  • Posted May 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    When asked why I don't have children yet, my answer is always &q

    When asked why I don't have children yet, my answer is always "I can barely take care of myself." So when I saw this title and read a blurb of this book, I knew immediately that I had to read it. I already knew the author and I had a connection. I would "get" whatever Jen Kirkman was trying to say.

    I Can Barely Take Care of Myself is a hilarious original debut from television writer and stand-up comedian Jen Kirkman. You may recognize her from regular appearances on Chelsea Lately and After Lately. Her first published book is comprised of funny detailed stories of her real life without kids.

    This book is recommended to any woman who is child-free by choice. (Put your hands up!) This book should be read if you've ever rolled your eyes when asked, "But who will take care of you when you get old?" It is especially for those who sarcastically thanked every person who said, "But you'd be such a good mom!" (Or am I the only person who had such reactions to these questions/comments?) This book is not just for other women who choose to live child-free. It is for anyone whose life decisions have been questioned.

    Author/comedian Jen Kirkman dedicated this book to her parents for "being so overprotective that I never got pregnant as a teenager." Although my parents were not overprotective, I thank them for being so trusting that I never got pregnant as a teenager and could therefore enjoy this funny good read.

    Grab a copy of I Can Barely Take Care of Myself. Read it, relate to it, laugh through it.

    Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

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