I can pinpoint pretty much to the day I really got into the travel memoir genre: it wasn't long after March 25, 2009, when I was laid off from my job at a local business newspaper following an acquisition by a larger publishing company. I hadn't been earning much to begin with, and once I lost my job, well, forget about it. For six months, until I found a new job, the library was pretty much the only place I could go, because it's the only place where you can leave with a gigantic armload of goodies without having to pay a cent.
It was a cruel irony during my period of unemployment that I had all this time on my hands, free of vacation day restrictions and all that crap, but no money to go anywhere. So I did what I've always done, my entire life, when faced with a challenge: I turned to the books. And I fell in love with the travel memoir genre.
"What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding" is a great addition to that category. My first impression, after reading the prologue and chapter 1, was that this was going to go fast. You can tell that Kristin Newman is a writer - a sitcom writer, at that - by trade, not just a person who traveled and decided to write a book about it. Her writing is concise but witty - she makes her words count, and man, do I love that.
Because each chapter deals with a different travel adventure (and man...or two!), it's a great book to read if you think you "don't have enough time to read." You can stop at the end of a chapter and not feel like you're losing the narrative flow. I finished the second half of this book poolside with my new cousins-in-law at Seabrook Island, and it was easy to take a break to grab a new drink, take a dip in the pool, or have lunch with our golf-playing men, and still pick up where I left off.
I liked hearing about all the different places she went and it was especially intriguing because the typical "20/30-something traveling to find herself" winds up in Italy or France. This is a little hypocritical since I'M a 30-year-old who is OBSESSED with Italy and France, and who wrote my first novel about a girl going to Italy, but whatever. You're drawn to what you're drawn to. And while I lap up memoirs about folks heading to those two countries, it was interesting and engaging to read about some different ones, even if I never make it there in my lifetime.
As for "downsides," there weren't many, but I did have a little tiny bit of difficulty relating to her many, MANY sexual conquests and her aversion to settling down and getting married. I just don't identify with that at ALL. But this book was honest, captivating, and very funny, so I really can't fault her for that.
The verdict: I give this one 4 out of 5 stars. It's a funny, easy summer read, perfect for the pool, beach, or an airplane to a foreign country to have your own foreign fling.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.