I Can Barely Take Care of Myself

Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids
Narrated by: Jen Kirkman
Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
4 out of 5 stars (478 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"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.

©2013 Jen Kirkman (P)2013 Tantor

Critic Reviews

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

Loved It

I am a HUGE fan of Jen's from her apprearances on Chelsea Lately and After Lately on E!
Her new book was a great listen and especially refreshing as she riffs a LOT on being childless (and happy!) Her raw honesty was refreshing and hilarious. I could totally relate and I'm glad someone finally wrote on the topic. Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you should :)

5 people found this helpful

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So honest and true

I'm a 40 year old child free woman who sometimes felt bad about my choice because I am always questioned about it. Stupid questions I must add. After listening to this book I feel 100% confident with my decision not to have a child knowing I am not alone. Thank you Jen for speaking up for us. Everything you say is so true.

3 people found this helpful

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Funny. Not fall down laughing funny, but funny

I don't think parents will enjoy this book very much. As a adult that has chosen NOT to have children I enjoyed Jen's take on being purposefully childless. Everything she said was spot on. I love her on Chelsey Lately so I was not surprised I like the book. As my title says, I never fell down laughing or busted my gut laughing, but there were quite a few chuckles in this on.

11 people found this helpful

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Finally! Someone child free and proud!

Jen Kirkman has put into words what I've been thinking for years. She opened up her heart and life to true vulnerability. Although I may disagree with some of what she says, you can't help but respect the woman's decisions and feelings. Very well written.

6 people found this helpful

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Overly focused

I like Jen Kirkman, but this book was way too focused on the title. Her life seems so interesting yet she doesn't share the interesting points. I'm hoping her next book is better because I do like her voice and her writing style. I hope her next book talks more about relationships and dating and her family. Those were the highlights of this book. I understood after the first couple of chapters that she does not want to have children. Unfortunately she needed to talk about it constantly through the entire book. I was hopeful that the book would be more than just her repeating that she does not want to have children. Because I understood that and excepted it immediately it did not need to take up the entire book. I discovered her from a podcast and she really was hilarious on that. I think I will try the next book.

5 people found this helpful

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Good read if you want to commiserate with someone

While I didn't find the author hilarious, it was still an enjoyable read with funny moments. And if you are also "childless by choice", it is incredibly relatable. It's nice to know that others have a similar world view and have to deal with the same comments from friends, family, and even strangers!

2 people found this helpful

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the other reviewer is dumb

Jen Kirkman is brilliant and hilarious. I was so glad to find out she was narrating her own audiobook because I knew it would be excellent. Her stories on the Pod F. Tompkast and her comedy act are always incredibly entertaining. Buy it!

2 people found this helpful

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Insightful... I loved it!

Where does I Can Barely Take Care of Myself rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best !

What did you like best about this story?

It was insightful and meaningful while also being extremely funny.

Which scene was your favorite?

I can't select just one.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but it was a bit long to be able to do that practically!

Any additional comments?

To be a successful comedian or writer, you have to be capable of being honest/reflective while simultameously being witty and entertaining. Jen Kirkman does an excellent job of this while narrating this book about her own life and desire to remain "childless" by choice. But the book is about more than that... it is about dealing with insecuirities and anxiety.. It deals with issues like mortality, anticipating the future (or more appropriately, how much discomfort we have when we recognize that we cannot anticipate the future). It takes a critical look at cultural norms and assumptions about what life is (or ought to be).... all of this while being very entertaining. It is definitely worth purchasing as an audiobook - she has a great voice for narration.

4 people found this helpful

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Hilarious!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book was funny, amazing, and made me feel good about my decision to live a child free life.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the honesty.

What does Jen Kirkman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her narration was spot on, I love it when an author reads the story, they tell the story best, especially when it's a memoir type.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I can barely take care of myself.

6 people found this helpful

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We get it...you don’t want kids.

I thought this would be more than someone saying over and over how much she didn’t want kids, but I was wrong. Some stories were funny but this book was pretty one-note to me and it just got tedious after a while.

1 person found this helpful