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What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir Paperback – May 20, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Television scribe Newman (How I Met Your Mother, The Neighbors) shares her comedic and romantic adventures abroad during the last decade-and-a-half. After spending her twenties in serious relationships yet afraid, ultimately, of settling down permanently, Newman got bit by the travel bug and discovered that the best way to battle her commitment phobia was to romance handsome strangers abroad. These brief “vacationships” satisfied Newman’s desire for excitement and passion while not making her feel trapped. She cavorted with a handsome bartender in Russia, a sexy former priest in Argentina, and an aggressive surfer in Brazil. Newman describes the exotic locales as lushly as she does her companions, taking armchair travelers to Iceland, Australia, and Israel and sharing some of her travel snafus, such as losing her passport in Buenos Aires and being deemed a potential terror suspect by Israeli authorities seemingly because she’s a single woman in her thirties traveling alone. Newman adeptly mixes humor and heart, making this the perfect read for anyone in search of love, adventures abroad, or both. --Kristine Huntley


“Kristin Newman reminds me of David Sedaris, but with more joy.” –Diablo Cody
“Kristin Newman’s tales of wanderlust are at turns hilarious, embarrassing, and then truly inspiring. Her thrilling escapades make me want to get up off the couch and book a ticket to some exotic locale for a sexy adventure of my own. But I probably won’t. And neither will you. Just read the book.” –Jane Lynch
‘Kristin Newman explodes the idea of the ‘singles scene’ into a thousand tiny fragments and scatters them globally. This is misspent youth well-spent.” –Patton Oswalt
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding is kind of like if Eat, Pray, Love were written by your funniest friend—a laugh-out-loud life guide for anyone who needs some help enjoying being single. Or for anyone who already loves being single. Or for anyone who is married. Basically, whoever you are, Newman will make you want to chuck it all and book a trip to Argentina.” –Rachel Dratch
“Spoiler alert: I am the Will who drives a car over Kristin’s foot in the Dominican Republic. After writing with Kristin at That ‘70s Show, I knew that her book would be incredibly funny, but it’s also so heartbreaking, insightful, and full of adventure, romance, and sex sex sex! Do yourself a favor and read this book! Did I mention how funny it is and how much sex is in it?" –Will Forte
"If Mark Twain was a woman and he had actually done things in the countries he traveled to, he would have been a lot more pleasant. He also would have written this book instead of The Innocents Abroad. This book is so good that, of the many I have blurbed, this is the only one I read." –Joel Stein, columnist for Time, author of Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity
"I have had the pleasure of joining Kristin on some amazing adventures and can say without question that she is as good a writer as she is a traveler. Which is to say, slightly better when she's had a few glasses of wine." –Nick Kroll
“I love my husband and kids, truly I do—but reading What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding  makes me want to buy a one-way ticket around the world, or rather two tickets—one  for me and one for her—so we could party till dawn, flirt with hairy European men and break several international laws. Kristin puts the 'lust' in wanderlust and makes adventuring and even mis-adventuring sexy, fun, and at times even inspirational.” –Jill Soloway, writer/director
“Since we can’t all sit next to Kristin Newman at a dinner party, it’s a good thing she wrote What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding so we can all enjoy her funny and unexpected tales.  Unlike the rest of us, Kristin took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference. Her sparkling wit and adventurous spirit will seduce you just as it did that guy in Argentina…and in Russia…and in Jordan…and so on...” –Nell Scovell, co-author of Lean In

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding is sly disguised as sexy. It reminded me of George Eliot mixed with a woodshop safety film... a complete delight.” –Stephen Tobolowsky, actor, author of The Dangerous Animals Club

"I wanted to read this book but my wife stole it off my nightstand, laughed at it for three nights straight and lent it to her friends." –Rodney Rothman, author Early Bird: A Memoir of Premature Retirement
"Kristin's book is such an uproarious, side-splitting, jaw-dropping-while-miraculously-somehow-also-self-reflecting page-turner, it makes me feel like I traded in my own wife and children for a time machine and a spot in her globetrotting duffel bag." –Rob Kutner, writer for Conan, author of Apocalypse How and The Future According to Me
"Riotously funny, brutally honest, and hopelessly romantic… Newman's global romps and brave takedown of the dated, divisive dichotomy between happy breeders and desperate singles is one of the most refreshing things I've read in a long time and proof that everyone has her own path to happily ever after." –Attica Locke, nationally bestselling author of The Cutting Season
"Newman’s funny and unflinchingly honest memoir reveals that even though there’s nothing quite like a great party in an exotic locale with a hot guy, true love doesn’t necessarily require a passport."  –Publishers Weekly

"You should *not* judge a book by its cover, but luckily this one's as engrossing as its top flap, which I kind of wanted to dive into on sight. There are lots of books out there about being the single girl in your crowd, but Kristin Newman's is a special one; it's truly hilarious and travel-oriented, which makes it perfect for summer." –Glamour Magazine
"If you liked Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, try What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman." –Boston Globe

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (May 20, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804137609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804137607
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (248 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 20, 2014
Format: Kindle 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 – especially about her childhood – it was refreshing to read a book written by a women which was so honest about her love of romance and, yes, sex.

In this memoir, Kristin travels to Paris, Amsterdan, Moscow (where she meets the simmering bartender, Aleg), back to Paris, Buenos Aires (often!), Rio de Janeiro (nothing profound happens, she assures us, she just had a lot of fun), New Zealand, Iceland, Tel Aviv (where she learns why she is seen as a security risk) and just about everywhere in between. During this book, the author muses on the messages she sends – usually angry or sexual - takes a lot of drugs, gets drunk often, becomes depressed and tries to come to terms with her relationship with her father and her difficult feelings about her stepmother. Women are often judged harshly with regards to behaviour that, in men, is viewed as merely letting off steam. If that is the case, it is fair to say that Kristin lets off a LOT of steam and it is pointless to read this is you are going to be prudish or moralistic about it. However, if you are willing to read this account of her travels – which is very funny, totally open and honest and, I think, extremely brave, then you will enjoy the company of this intelligent and thoughtful woman. An unusual and interesting memoir.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review purposes.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tina S on May 20, 2014
Format: Paperback
I’m fairly certain I fell in love with this author and her story just from the title and from her dedications. After all, who wouldn’t want to know more about the life that would “give dad diarrhea” and who reasoned that NOT sleeping with the Russian bartender would cause the terrorists to win?

“What I Was Doing When You Were Breeding” is a memoir written by the hilarious Kristin Newman. After suffering her first major heartbreak, she decides to give in to her wonderlust and seek the road less traveled. She takes solo and girls trips to places far and wide, including Jerusalem, Argentina, Russia, and Iceland. She does an excellent job of giving the reader just enough detail about the places to set the scene, but sprinkles in information about some of the people she met along the way to keep the story moving.

I have to say, I’ve highlighted more parts of this book than any others I’ve read in a long time. There are lessons to be learned (grown-ups don’t hold hands), but by and large this is a laugh out loud account of the past 10 or so years of her life. Some parts are downright raunchy, but I really applaud her for sharing this information because, as she pointed out, if it were a memoir written by a man, he wouldn’t think twice about how he’d be judged by the masses.

This is a must read for any woman… and I think men would get a kick out of it too. I really hope to get the chance to travel like this myself at some point in my life. But if not, this was a great way to live vicariously.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Denny on June 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
Seeking vacation romances and one-night stands, Los Angeles-based television writer Kristin Newman is brutally honest about what she is seeking and doing on her international vacations. After rebounding from a long-term relationship with a forester boy-friend that ends abruptly, Newman decides to recast herself as traveler Kristen, whom she regards as almost a separate person different from herself, American-based Kristen.

Whether alone or with one or more of her changing cast of gal-pals, wherever she goes, traveler Kristen aggressively seeks handsome hunks for short-term relationships with whom she can have sex. No serious commitments or really getting to know the non-American boyfriends she finds along the way. There is considerable of drinking and drugging, fortunately, no one overdoses or develops an addictive habit.

There is, however, one noteworthy exception to this general pattern, Father Juan of Argentina. With Father Juan, Kristen sustains an off-and-on again six-year relationship with a level of friendship and mutuality not exhibited in her other short-term flings. She clings to a deeper hope for a long-term commitment and possible marriage to the wealthy and established Father Juan, himself a scion of sorts from a "first-family of Argentina." Father Juan completed seminary with the idea of becoming a priest but changed his mind just short of ordination.

"What I was Doing while You were Breeding" is a mostly fun romp but in many ways, it is also quite sad. Newman was clearly scarred by the divorce of her parents during her teen years, made worse by the re-marriage of her father to her step-mother, whom she could not stand . Even as the step-mother is dying, Newman cannot seem to forgive and forget.
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