Book review: What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

Sometimes, you pick up a book because you love the title. This is one of those books.

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir is pretty much the best title ever for a memoir about being single when all of your peers are coupled off and having babies. As someone who was in a similar situation, I appreciate this title very, very much.

However … I guess I did the whole “single in my 30s” thing wrong. Because author Kristin Newman spent her time traveling the world and sleeping with different flavors of international lovahs. I, on the other hand, mostly kept it in my pants. Like a loser.

Anyway. If you want a first-hand account of traveling with no particular plan and making friends with interesting people along the way and changing your return flights so you can keep chillin’ with your new Latin lovah, this is the book for you. If you’re looking for perhaps a more traditional view of navigating the “but I’m not like any of my friends” waters of 30s singledom, this is not the book for you.

Also? I feel like the author paid as little attention as possible to the real story. She became estranged from her dad for several years, due to a little stepmother situation … and then she ended up taking care of that stepmother. This is the real story. While Kristin touches on it, she even admits that she can barely talk about it, much less write honestly. But I’d love to read a book about it when she’s ready to dig in – she’s a lovely writer, and an authentic look at the situation could be gratifying and useful.

Of course, it’s also none of my damned business, and if she doesn’t want to write about it, more power to her.

I give What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding 2 labradoodles who are kind of over it. No breeding here.

Is there a book that made your inner big-city book editor think the author should go in a different direction?

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  • Reply Patti September 16, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Yes. Thank you for asking. The Circle by Dave Eggers. I was actually angry when I read that book. I wanted to punch him (and all the characters) in the face when I finished it and ask for some remuneration for my wasted time. The plot was so predictable and . the characters were ridiculous and not even remotely fully developed or interesting. The symbolism used was paper thin and so fucking obvious. That dude just phoned it in. So, yeah. I didn't like the book and it may be good that I am not an editor. I would be sued for assault.

  • Reply Becky September 17, 2015 at 12:47 am

    I do like that title, so I'm sorry to hear it was disappointing. There's been a few books that disappoint me, nothing really popping to mind besides "Confessions of a Slacker Mom" which had all the best points listed on the jacket. I still bought the follow up "Confessions of a Slacker Wife" which was a wee better, in that the first chapter nailed it, but the rest of the book was meh. Oh, and there was that memoir by JD Salinger's daughter that I regret reading that screamed for an editor as well as loads more therapy for her. I hope that book bought it for her.

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