Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

Book 50 of my 2014 Reading Challenge

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman

Summary (via the book jacket)
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. 

My Opinion

I can tell she's had success as a sitcom writer because her chapters are set up very well with the right mixture of lightness, heart, and backstory.  She's a natural storyteller that I would like to sit next to at a party (just joking...I hate parties) and I would guess this would be enjoyable as an audiobook as well.

She acknowledges her unique job situation that gives her long stretches of time to travel and the financial ability to do so.  And while the men are important to her stories, they're only one aspect of her overall travel experiences and she isn't overly graphic or detailed. She also references condom use frequently - big thumbs up for that!

I love her "one scary moment" life lesson.  When she was young and too shy to introduce herself to new people, her mom asked her if she would rather play alone or have "one scary moment" of introducing herself; she chose the one scary moment and soon had new friends.  I found that to be a really good way of breaking it down to something more manageable and while I will probably still choose being alone over having one scary moment, like the true introvert I am, it's nice to have that little phrase in my back pocket for those unavoidable social settings.  

A Few Quotes from the Book

"That miracle [her first writing job] meant there was a date on the horizon when I could start to pay off my credit cards. (Four years of assistant pay had led to debt caused by splurges on things like socks and groceries.)"

"Now, if taking pills and then having one's first lesbian experience with a crippled British girl isn't the thing to do in Amsterdam, I just don't know what is."

"...life is almost never about choosing between one thing you really want and another thing you don't want at all. If you're lucky, and healthy, and live in a country where you have enough to eat and no fear that you're going to get shot when you walk out your door, life is an endless series of choosing between two things you want almost equally. And you have to evaluate and determine which awesome thing you want infinitesimally more, and then give up that other awesome thing you want almost exactly as much. You have to trade awesome for awesome."

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