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What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  14,560 ratings  ·  1,482 reviews
A funny, sexy, and ultimately poignant memoir about mastering the art of the "vacationship."

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 e
Paperback, 291 pages
Published May 20th 2014 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  14,560 ratings  ·  1,482 reviews

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Kristin Newman
Jan 14, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)
It makes me smile to imagine this book being read by nervous solo travelers, pretty girls on a plane by themselves for the first time, unscrewing their tiny bottles of wine and curling up to read about some of the many kinds of fun they might be about to have. I imagine it read by mommies, at home, after their kids go to sleep, where they can imagine in a “Sliding Doors” sort of way what their lives might have looked like if they had chosen my kind of adventure instead of their own family-making ...more
May 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Received a free advance copy from publisher.

I'm a sucker for a witty title.

I wanted this book to be more than what it was. Instead of a book of female empowerment or taking your own path, it was a long list of exotic locales and sex partners spread out across the globe. No "slut shaming" here but listing off the number of dudes you bedded in different countries just doesn't do anything for me. The book is well-written and has its moments of humor, don't get me wrong. I guess I was looking for
Jun 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir-biography, arc
I received this book free for an honest review.

The thing is, I really expected to like this. I'm unmarried (though not single), have no children, and I love to travel. I thought it would be funny and that it would be more about being independent, that the author would at least be an interesting person.

She's pretty much not any of those things or at least she doesn't come across that way in her book. Instead it's just a long account of self indulgence and sex with lots of men in other countries
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I had such high hopes - what a great title. It's a title that I might have used for my own memoir. But I can only give it 2 stars. "It was OK."

And perhaps that was my problem with this book. I've lived my own version of a single-woman-traveling-and-having-adventures-of-all-sorts life, so this wasn't exactly a titillating story. Just a long accounting/brag about her travels and her relationship mistakes. It had some high points and held my interest for about the first 100 pages, and then it was j
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding had been on my TBR list for more than 3 years. Perhaps due to the length of time that elapsed between adding it and reading it, but I expected a much different book. From the title alone, I envisioned an exciting journey detailing thriving career progression and some fun in several places around the world. Well, it sounded like Kristin Newman had fun, though this book is a reminder that fulfillment and fun are indeed, subjective ideas — Happily Ever After ...more
This book easily skyrocketed to one of my favorite reads; it's irreverent, laugh-out-out-funny, hopeful, desperate, and most of all, deeply courageous. Kristin Newman shares the details of her life that most of us would be too shameful to ever confess while simultaneously capturing the feeling of sacrifice in order to "have it all." I found Newman's insight that we all end up envying the life we decided not to live wondering it all would have been life if we chose the alternate path. So few wome ...more
Kalu Davies
Jul 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book was complete and utter rubbish, very disappointing with few redeeming features. Kristin frames her journey of self discovery and sex under the guise of 'flaunting the norm' and is proud of not subscribing to entrenched ideals of female morality. Yet she describes herself as a "slut" only when away from America-when at home, she behaves like a "lady" should and before she's even started the book she spoils the ending in the dedication-in case you were under any illusions that she really ...more
I gave this 2.5 stars.

Similar to Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, this book is packaged as a travel memoir about a woman who's gone off the beaten path for "self-discovery," but instead ends up really just being 200+ pages of one woman's persistent pursuit of an orgasm. Now, I love a good romance/ "take charge of your love life (née sex life)" book just as much as the next girl. However, when I pick up a travel memoir, I want to hear about the places the au
Mindy Lawrence
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
I received an ARC of this book and oh I wanted to like it so badly. The title is so good and I love a good travel memoir. But it wasn't to be. The problem I guess for me was that the I just couldn't get past the fact that this is a long winded brag about all of the men Newman bedded in foreign countries. That's great for her and I'm all about empowering women to take what ever it is that they want, but I'm not sure there's a lesson or message here other than feel free to get busy when you're abr ...more
How disappointing this one was. I was expecting and hoping for a book that told a different story - a story of how some women choose paths other then marriage and motherhood because they want to and how that is also a valid option. Instead, this read like the story of someone who desperately wanted those things but was just a bit too emotionally immature to hold on to them - until one day she finally did. To top it off, the writing was not even that clever. Someone compared her writing to David ...more
Melissa Yuan-Innes
Nov 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
Ruined by racism

Some other reviewers complained that they couldn't relate to how she'd travel on a whim, or that it was too high a hookup:travel ratio. Not me. It's not a travel book if you can't afford to travel, and I like that she's not afraid to have sex (and uses a condom).

But in chapter 7, while on Ambien, she messages an Asian guy to tell him she's not attracted to Asians and swears she's not racist because she dates every other race.

Every other race? How many does she think there are?

Diana Band
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
Wow, wow, wow. Kristin Newman’s memoir is funny, poignant, and very relatable – even for those of us who fall more squarely into the “breeder” category.

I’ll admit – I was hesitant to pick this one up at first on the title alone. I’m 27, recently married, and while I don’t have any kids yet, there’s a strong possibility for some in the future. I tend to get all bristly and defensive when someone – especially other women – try to invoke a high and mighty attitude over one life path or another. Bu
Sandy Hall
Jan 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
I received this as an early review via NetGalley. I found this to be well written, but boring. While the author may have found that analyzing her seemingly never-ending sexual encounters to be equal to meaningful insights, I did not. In the end, she did not so much gain wisdom as simply gaining a modicum of maturity.
Deborah Ideiosepius
This book was such fun!

Tagged as 'a memoir' this is a first person description by the author of how she spent her 20's - 40's(?) escaping from her job as a sitcom writer by traveling the world, often alone.

All Kirsten's friends were settling down, getting married and breeding/ having kids. While Kirsten was interested in those things, it was always 'one day' and in the meantime she jetted around the world, having adventures with effervescent enthusiasm and sex in exotic locations with all the j
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Disclaimer: I got a review copy of this from the publisher, but I was actively looking for a copy after reading about it somewhere online. Hooray!

Kristin Newman is best known as a sitcom writer - That 70's Show, How I Met Your Mother, and the Neighbors, and also branching out into shows like Chuck, which was funny but no laugh track. Of that list of shows, I loved The Neighbors, a show I was apparently the only person watching, since it has now been cancelled.

Television writers have very intens
Jul 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
I feel like the title was a little misleading. I was expecting some great stories about being a proud single girl, living a life that her married friends might be jealous of.

Instead it was a book about sleeping with men around the world. And the whining. I thought there was a lot of whining.

I actually skimmed most of this book because I didn't need to hear about getting drunk and sleeping with one more guy. Or her hang up withs Father Jaun.

To me this book was a waste of time and money. I didn'
May 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: no-no-please-no
Laugh out loud stupid, if you can even get through the whole thing. Starts with the arrogant insecurity of the title and goes straight downhill from there.

I might have thought this was a fun, exotic read when I was about 13, but as a grown up this book is just ludicrously one dimensional.

May 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was a fast read: funny, and ultimately somewhat disappointing. Newman's travel stories focus on self-deprecating and bodily humor while occasionally touching on issues of self-esteem, commitment, and the narrowing availability of choices we face as we age. I wasn't looking for a political tract or a self-help novel, and this is my first foray into the modern travel memoir -- I've happily managed to avoid Eat, Pray, Love so far -- but I was surprised by how shallow I found this to be.

The ne
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished
I received What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding for free at my desk one day. (The beauty of working in publishing, right?) And I immediately got a good chuckle at the title. Oh, Ms. Newman--you clearly get me. I am a twentysomething woman with no foreseeable plans for reproduction. A quick flip between the front and back cover's reviews also sold me: "David Sedaris, but with more joy." "If Eat, Pray, Love were written by your funniest friend." And Kristin Newman, sitcom-writer, would seem to ...more
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
What I Was Doing While You Were Breading reminded me of Sex and the City and Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea. Told through shirt stories, the book gave me the confidence to travel alone. The writing had the same biting humor that Chelsea Handler's book had, but the author's pride for her life decisions made her come across as overconfident, and not in a good way. I expected the story to be more of a travel diary enhanced with her romances with men all over the world. Instead, this book was ...more
Lisa Shoro
Aug 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
I bought this book in an airport bookstore, seems apt. I was breeding while this woman was touring the bedrooms and hotel rooms of the world and I thought it would be fun to live vicariously through her adventures. About a dozen lovers in, I lost interest and just can't bring myself to finish. I'll never really know if there was a point to this book or not. ...more
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I have to admit, despite being a single childless 30-something solo traveler and that I will read travel memoirs any time I get the chance, I hesitated to pick up this book. The title just really rubbed me the wrong way. I got the impression it was going to be about a privileged woman jet-setting while bragging about how much fun she was having instead of settling down.

And it is about that *a little* but not in the overbearing way you might think. She's humble in her experiences and honest to a
Rainy Rose
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
A bit "meh" for me. I had hard time finishing this book and I'm not sure why. Maybe the stories are repetitive? She traveled, met men, do the "thing", come back home, repeat? I love the stories of her adventures though, when she's not just meeting men or partying. ...more
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
What I Was doing While You Were Breeding, an attractive title for any unmarried person but it would seem to me a bit combative and accusatory for those who are hitched up while fumbling with a car seat and a puking toddler. Basically the author tells about her adventures in travel as a single woman. I’m sure the author doesn’t mind that men read her book but it’s meant for women, kind of like Sex and the City which women love but I hated, but I didn’t hate this book. What I can say is that I wis ...more
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017: Read a travel memoir. 3.5 stars. This book inspired mixed feelings for me. It's certainly a travelogue, but it's also a relationship memoir: Kristin travels not just because her friends are settling down and she isn't (as implied by the title), but because (view spoiler) ...more
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Kristin Newman lived a moderate life in America as a sitcom writer – a career which gave her the time and money to indulge her love of travel and, possibly, her ability to run away from home and not face her problems. Her main problem seemed to be her fear of committing to the expected role of wife and mother, as long term relationships became serious. I found Kristin to be a witty and self effacing writer and, although it is clear that her humour often masks a real sense of confusion – e ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it liked it
If this book was a movie, it would NOT pass the Bechdel Test.

Part of me absolutely LOVED it, to the point where it's almost as though this book was written specifically for me. Her philosophy on doing ALL THE THINGS is exactly what I have been saying for years, after all! I also believe in the healing powers of seeing as much of the world as possible, and her list of what makes a perfect travel companion was like I wrote it myself. I'm also impressed that she did so much traveling alone, and the
May 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
I am wondering if either in the last 6-7 years intersectional discourse has advanced in such a way that this book and its depiction of people who are not American, white, and thin was considered okay? She literally used the phrase "a busload of Chinese" in this book. Like, really? Was that acceptable 6 years ago? I mean I guess maybe it's still acceptable. But -- jesus christ. This book made me think again about the experiences I've had as a white American abroad, how I've held a position of pow ...more
Annette Thompson
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite travelogue of all time! Her writing is colorful and hilarious. I highly recommend it to any fun-loving woman who enjoys traveling or think she might.
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