What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir

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A funny, sexy, and ultimately poignant memoir about mastering the art of the "vacationship." 

Kristin Newman spent much of her twenties and thirties buying dresses to wear to her friends' weddings and baby showers. Not ready to settle down and in need of an escape from her fast-paced job as a sitcom writer, Kristin instead traveled the world, often alone, for several weeks each year. In addition to falling madly in love with the planet, ...
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What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir

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A funny, sexy, and ultimately poignant memoir about mastering the art of the "vacationship." 

Kristin Newman spent much of her twenties and thirties buying dresses to wear to her friends' weddings and baby showers. Not ready to settle down and in need of an escape from her fast-paced job as a sitcom writer, Kristin instead traveled the world, often alone, for several weeks each year. In addition to falling madly in love with the planet, Kristin fell for many attractive locals, men who could provide the emotional connection she wanted without costing her the freedom she desperately needed. 
Kristin introduces readers to the Israeli bartenders, Finnish poker players, sexy Bedouins, and Argentinean priests who helped her transform into "Kristin-Adjacent" on the road–a slower, softer, and, yes, sluttier version of herself at home. Equal parts laugh-out-loud storytelling, candid reflection, and wanderlust-inspiring travel tales, What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding is a compelling debut that will have readers rushing to renew their passports.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Television comedy writer Newman (That ’70s Show, etc.) seems to have the perfect job: nine months writing and three months off to pursue her passion for travel. The memoir begins in 2000, when she is 26; a six-year romantic relationship has just ended. To cheer herself up she takes a trip to Paris and Amsterdam, where she pops some Ecstasy, flirts with a lesbian, and begins a tradition of using travel to heal a broken heart. Throughout the next decade (the memoir concludes in 2011) she visits Russia, Argentina, England, Iceland, Australia and Brazil (among other places), always finding romance, adventure, and plenty of (well-documented) sex. While her friends are marrying (and having children), Newman seeks freedom and fun. The only child of divorced parents, Newman is wary of marriage, though she longs for a lasting relationship (readers will find themselves rooting for Argentinian (almost ex-) priest Father Juan). Newman includes witty travel trips (e.g., “You don’t wear booty shorts to the Western Wall on Shabbat”).The author is quick to point out that she’s “not a slut in the United States of America” and defends a female’s right to a sexy vacation romance. Ultimately, however, Newman’s funny and unflinchingly honest memoir reveals that even though there’s nothing quite like a great party in an exotic locale with a hot guy, true love doesn’t necessarily require a passport. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
A Hollywood sitcom writer's unabashed account of how she spent 10 years of her young adulthood traveling the world and having "sweet, sexy epic little vacationships" with foreign men. Newman began traveling the world in her mid-20s. A painful breakup with her first love led her to board a plane to Europe, where she traveled all the way from Paris to Amsterdam. Two years later, she took a single-girl trip to Russia with her best friend. An encounter with a bartender led to the discovery of her libidinous alter ego, Kristen-Adjacent, and the start of her new life as "The Girl With Great International Romance Stories." Newman then traveled to Spain, where she "tussled with a Barcelonan who…[wore] black panties," and on to Canada, where she made out with a friend, then back home to obsess over the perfect man she never got but who invited her to chic parties all around the world. During hiatus from her work as a comedy writer, when all her other girlfriends were now "too married or too pregnant" to travel with her, she went alone to Argentina, where she took two lovers. One, a former priest, became an on-again, off-again flame and her reason for returning to Buenos Aires in subsequent years. On a trip to Brazil, she took up with two different men within a 24-hour period and had still more "vacationships" in Australia and Israel. Ambivalent about commitment to the point of neurosis but now adult enough to realize that she had all along "absolutely [been] looking for love," the now late-30-something Newman finally settled down without regrets for her wild and wicked past. Though entertaining and, in its way, liberating, the book often crosses the line between uninhibited and overdone. Too much information, too little substance.
From the Publisher
"[A] funny and unflinchingly honest memoir." ---Publishers Weekly
Library Journal
With everyone around her getting engaged, married, and starting families, veteran Hollywood television writer Newman realizes that she wants freedom and adventure as much as love. To avoid the threat of "Bridget-Jonesian-sad-girl singlehood," she hits the road for three-month stretches between shows, pursuing happiness and eagerly meeting "sexy people in sexy places." This delightfully funny collection celebrates romance and globetrekking.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804137607
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/20/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 79,870
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Kristin Newman
Kristin Newman is a television writer who has worked in Hollywood for almost twenty years. She has written for That '70s Show, Chuck, and How I Met Your Mother. She currently writes for ABC's The Neighbors.
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Read an Excerpt

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding
Kristin Newman

I’ll Have the House Special

                I am not a slut in the United States of America. I have rarely had a fewer-than-four-night stand in the Land of the Free. I don’t kiss married men or guys I work with, I don’t text people pictures of my genitalia, I don’t go home with boys I meet in bars before they have at least purchased me a couple of meals, I’ve never shown my boobs for beads. I do not sleep with more than one person at a time, and, sometimes, no more than one per year. In America.
                But I really love to travel.
                Now, having sex with foreigners is not the only whorish thing I do: I also write sitcoms. For the last fourteen years I’ve written for shows like That ’70s Show, How I Met Your Mother, Chuck, The Neighbors, and shows you’ve never heard of that nonetheless afford me two over-the- top lucky things: the money to buy plane tickets and the time off to travel. What this means about my life is that I spend about nine months a year in a room full of, mostly, poorly dressed men, telling dick jokes and overeating and, sometimes, sitting on the floor with Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, and a chimpanzee (before all three found the age difference insurmountable). In the writers’ room, we talk a million miles a minute, tearing each other apart for sport and, often, out of love. Sometimes someone makes me cry, and I pretend I’m doing a “bit” where I “run out of the room to cry” even though what I’m really doing is running out of the room to cry. If I’m lucky enough to be fully employed, I get about nine months of this and then a three-month hiatus—unpaid time off from this weird non- corporate grind.
                Most days, the writers’ room feels like I’m at the most entertaining dinner party in the world. Other times, it feels like I’m at the meanest, longest one. I keep both versions in perspective with my real life’s work—running away from home to someplace wonderful. And then, sometimes, having sex there.
                Throughout most of my twenties and thirties, in the hiatus months (or years) between shows, I spent between a few weeks and a few months a year traveling. When money was tight, I took road trips with a tent, and when it wasn’t, I got on a plane and went as far as I could, to places like China and New Zealand, Jordan and Brazil. To Tibet and Argentina and Australia and most of Europe. To Israel and Colombia and Russia and Iceland. In the beginning, I took these trips with girlfriends, but soon my girls started marrying boys, and then they started making new little girls and boys, and so then I started taking the trips alone. Some of these girls would eventually come back around after a divorce for a trip or two, but then leave me again when they got married for the second time before I’d managed to do it for the first. (When I complained to my friend Hope that she had lapped me in the marriage department, she replied, “I’m not sure the goal is to do it as often as possible.” I love her.)
 Anyway, everyone around me was engaged in a lot of engaging, marrying, and breeding while I remained resolutely terrified of doing any of it. I did want to have a family someday . . . it was just that “someday” never seemed to feel like “today.” I wanted love, but I also wanted freedom and adventure, and those two desires fought like angry obese sumo wrestlers in the dojo of my soul. That wrestling match threatened to body-slam me into a veritable Bridget-Jonesian-sad-girl singlehood, which I was resolutely against, both personally and as an archetype. And so toward that off, I kept moving.
                Pretty early on in my travel career I discovered two vital things. First, that I’m someone a little different on the road, and that vacation from being my home self feels like a great sleep after a long day. Second, that you can have both love and freedom when you fall in love with an exotic local in an exotic locale, since there is a return ticket next to the bed that you by law will eventually have to use. These sweet, sexy, epic little vacationships became part of my identity—I was The Girl with the Great International Romance Stories at dinner parties, and around the writers’ room table. And I began to need my trips like other people need religion.
                But my mom will be pleased to hear that my addiction to sexy people in sexy places really grew out of a nonsexual obsession: I love to do the thing you’re supposed to do in the place you’re supposed to do it. That means always getting the specialty of the house. That means smoking cigarettes I don’t smoke at the perfect corner café for hours at a time in Paris, and stripping naked for group hot-tubbing with people you don’t want to see naked in Big Sur. It means riding short, fuzzy horses that will throw me onto the arctic tundra in Iceland, or getting beaten with hot, wet branches by old naked women in stifling banyas in Moscow. When these moments happen, I get absurdly happy, like the kind of happy other people report experiencing during the birth of their children. And getting romanced by a Brazilian in Brazil, or a Cretan in Crete . . . this, to me, just happens to be the gold medal in the Do the Thing You’re Supposed to Do Olympics.
                I love that I am but one of millions of single girls hit- ting the road by themselves these days. A hateful little ex- boyfriend once said that a house full of cats used to be the sign of a terminally single woman, but now it’s a house full of souvenirs acquired on foreign adventures. He said it derogatorily: Look at all of this tragic overcompensating in the form of tribal masks and rain sticks. But I say that plane tickets replacing cats might be the best evidence of women’s progress as a gender. I’m damn proud of us.
                Also, since I have both a cat and a lot of foreign souvenirs, I broke up with that dude and went on a really great trip.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 17, 2014

    Impressed by the author's honesty about herself and her single s

    Impressed by the author's honesty about herself and her single state. This book describes the evolution of a single independent woman while all her friends were getting married. A funnier Eat, Pray, Love, I enjoyed (while some parts were painful to read) this book and could not put it down. Now that the author is married, I look forward to a sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2014

    Kristin pretty much nails what it feels like to be single when e

    Kristin pretty much nails what it feels like to be single when everyone else is beginning to settle down.  You know you want to get there but you aren't quite ready.  Meanwhile, you start losing your best girlfriends to husbands and babies.  So what's a girl to do - hit the road for another adventure.  I think I a lot of women will relate to this book.  It's perfect  to tuck into your bag for your next trip.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014

    funny yet real

    funny yet real

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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