Monday, November 24, 2014

I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life without Kids by Jen Kirkman

In Jen Kirkman's  I Can Barely Take Care of Myself, the comedian and former regular and writer on Chelsea Lately, Chelsea Handler's late night talk show, Kirkman tired of constantly hearing "you'll change your mind" when telling people that she did not in fact wish to be a parent. She does not hate children, she just simply recognized that children were not for her.

As a woman of a certain age who wishes to remain childless, I can relate. Most days I subsist on a diet of sugar and carbohydrates; how would I raise a healthy child? In this humorous and endearing collection of stories, Kirkman walks us through a series of events in her life that offer a resounding answer to all the interrogations and insinuations. The title would suggest, as many who like to criticize the childless would believe, that woman sans children are broken in some way - just because I like cupcakes doesn't mean I'd make a bad mother. Or as Kirkman points out, we must substitute being mothers toward our careers as justification. The fact of the matter is, just like any choices any individual makes, she just didn't want children for reasons that were singular to her life, which she is brave enough to share. She is funny and thoughtful, and makes astute social observations and snarky criticisms that would make anyone think and chuckle. Any reader can appreciate her candor, humor, and engaging writing.

For more lifestyle memoirs, you might enjoy some of Kirkman's fellow Chelsea Lately colleagues, such as My Inappropriate Life: Some Materials May Not Be Suitable for Small Children, Nuns, or Mature Adults by Heather McDonald or one of Chelsea Handler's own collections.  

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