Sunday, June 1, 2014

So I won this book ...

... called I Can Barely Take Care of Myself by Jen Kirkman.  I actually requested it.  It sounded funny and I thought it would be a quick read.  Oh, Pamela, thy name is delusional.

I am not a person who knows her own mind on everything. I didn't make all my life decisions when I was ten or sixteen. In some things, I am unfortunately inflexible; in others, I flip-flop like a fish on the bank. When I was very young, I promised my parents that I would never get married because all I wanted to do was sit in a rocking chair in front of a fire and help them out.

Well, I'm not married, but the above scenario is definitely no longer my dream. 

When I was a teenager (more like tweenager), I decided that I wanted to have loads of kids and name them all after people in Jane Austen's novels. I only wanted girls, though, and the probability of having like twelve girls in a row is probably quite low. I was going to give them all fantastically antiquated names with several middle names so I could fit everyone in. Then I realized that childbirth=pain and lack of sleep. I love sleeping. I should list it on my resume as a proficiency. I would never get another piercing anywhere (even as some sort of weird rebellious act) because holy moly that stuff HURTS and then the CRUSTINESS around the piercing as you turn the earrings so the holes don't close ... I feel mildly vertiginous just thinking about it. So, I decided that I would never have children.

Now I am a children's librarian (okay, technically Youth Services Librarian), so I am around babies and toddlers and quasi-toddlers and elementary school kids all day long. And ... I like them. I guess I wouldn't mind eventually having one ... maybe. But I wouldn't be devastated if I didn't have kids.

So now that you, dear reader, know all about my thoughts on kiddos, here are my thoughts on I Can Barely Take Care of Myself. I feel for Kirkman--it is super-irritating when people impose their own ideas of When To Get Married or When To Have Children on you in innocuous social spaces. However, although I know that a lot of people think I should be married by now, I haven't written a book about it. For me, it's a bit hard to fathom an entire book about "Why I don't want to have kids and that's okay." 

Actually, I felt so bored during the first five or so chapters of the book that at that point, I didn't really care about the kid-thing. Okay. You don't want kids. People are jerks. Fin Kirkman spends far too much time detailing pointless encounters, flings, vacations, and conversations that really have nothing to do with the theme of this book. It's like the editor said, "More filler! Mooooore filler!" so we have these odd passages about how she lived in New York City for four days and how she dated a string of losers. We also have to weather constant references to the copious amounts of therapy Kirkman went through--I'm not sure if the reader is meant to empathize with Kirkman or laugh at her. Loads of people go to therapists. 

There's another vignette where Jen and her buddy go to Hawaii to relax and despite both of them being childless, they choose to go to a family-oriented resort. The rest of the chapter details Jen's anger at the small people invading her "adult pool." *tiny violin*

In fact, the only mildly intriguing figure in this book is Jen's mother, mostly because she has a funny accent. Alas, Mama Kirkman doesn't make as many appearances as I'd have liked.

I'm giving this two stars because a) some parts did make me laugh and b) I didn't finish it, so it could have rallied a bit. 

A solid dose of "meh."


I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

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