A 40-something stand-up comedian’s blisteringly honest and hilarious account of a life still “majorly under construction.”
As she neared the end of her 30s, Kirkman (I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids, 2013) suddenly found herself divorced. Her career was where she wanted it, and she was now “in love with [herself].” However, her failed marriage made her uncomfortably aware that her life was far from perfect. Once she realized that the libidinal lack she experienced while married had nothing to do with her hormones or undiagnosed depression, she opened herself to exploring the unknowns of adulthood. As "Jen Cougar Mellencamp,” she had a fling with a 23-year-old musician too young to remember Kurt Cobain. She also learned how to deal with her own anxieties about living alone through an attempt to set up a home alarm system that made “a creep smashing [her] window” look like less of a disaster in comparison. Kirkman came to embrace the fact that she was a renter, or, as she saw it, someone who once a month gave her money to “a nice blond lady” rather than a bank as did her married friends with mortgages. She was also able to finally admit to the liberating value of having a friendship-with-benefits relationship and of not worrying about what others thought when she stayed home on New Year’s Eve and went to bed by 9 p.m. When Kirkman broke up with the man she calls the “Ab-Master,” it was without regret for what could have been and without fear that she would find another age-appropriate partner. “I want[ed] someone to relax with…not rebuild,” she writes. Like her idol and friend, the late Joan Rivers, Kirkman offers no excuses for the freedom-loving woman she is or for her focus on building a career as a successful stand-up comic. Her life may appear chaotic and her lifestyle choices unconventional, but both are as uniquely individual as her book.
Genuine, intelligent, and candid.