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Publisher's Summary

One of the main topics of cultural conversation during the last decade was the supposed "fertility crisis" and whether modern women could figure out a way to have it all - a successful, demanding career and the required 2.3 children - before their biological clocks stopped ticking. Now, however, conversation has turned to whether it's necessary to have it all (see Anne-Marie Slaughter) or, perhaps more controversial, whether children are really a requirement for a fulfilling life. The idea that some women and men prefer not to have children is often met with sharp criticism and incredulity by the public and mainstream media. In this provocative and controversial collection of essays curated by writer Meghan Daum, 16 acclaimed writers explain why they have chosen to eschew parenthood. Contributors include Lionel Shriver, Sigrid Nunez, Kate Christiensen, Elliott Holt, Geoff Dyer, and Tim Kreider, among others, who will give a unique perspective on the overwhelming cultural pressure of parenthood. Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed makes a thoughtful and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path in life, taking our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. What emerges is a more nuanced, diverse view of what it means to live a full, satisfying life.

©2015 Meghan Daum (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[This book] infuses every single thing we do and are." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

challenging to hear the different voices

didn't love the narrator, and felt it hard to hear the voices of different writers when read by the same person. wish i had read the book instead of listened to it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

Great perspectives for anyone - including those with children. I don't have kids and it was lovely to hear the rationale behind other people's decisions. I came to my 'no children' decision from other circumstances, but yet wholeheartedly identify with these thoughtful women who came similar decisions after significant reflection. Great book all around.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • bp
  • 03-28-18

A nice collection of essays

I appreciate how these authors publicly explored a very private question. All very different takes on the issue, each gave a personal perspective that was well articulated.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Missed the mark, in my opinion

One of the writers chose not to have children based on a childhood pact she made with her brother, then she was disappointed when he chose to have a child as an adult. Really? This book is wildly disappointing. I understand that we all have our reasons, but it was hard for me to connect with any of the authors. My advice is to save your money and spend it on something more worthwhile.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Finally, out of the closet!

This is a must-read for anyone that thinks they might not want children or even those, like me, who have had one but still hold firm that they are not 'parent material'. You are not selfish and shallow, and you are not alone!

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Am I the only sane childfree woman in here?

As a 42 year-old childfree woman, I thought I'd listen to people like me and maybe learn a few tricks on how to cope with judgement from society. After a while, it became obvious that almost all of these authors have had a sad childhood, have been abused, beaten or had a crazy mother. They all spent years in therapy, some of them have been diagnosed with severe depression or other mental illness. I thought it was a book about normal, childfree people who happened to be authors. Instead, it's a book about mentally sick and unstable writers who happen to be childfree and talk endlessly about their mental state. I finished the book thinking that never having suffered myself from depression, it makes me really, really weird. Is being sane and childfree normal?

6 of 12 people found this review helpful