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Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids (Hardcover)

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By Meghan Daum (Introduction by), Meghan Daum, Meghan Daum (Editor)
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Staff Reviews

I’ve never wanted children, and I’m not alone, as these sixteen authors prove with their deeply personal, impassioned essays on their decision to remain child-free. Some of the many reasons to opt out of parenthood are explored in these smart, eloquent, and often funny essays. I hope this book gives skeptics a better understanding of chosen childlessness, and provides those of us who have made that choice with a greater sense of community.

— Flannery

As baby boomers retire, Gen X fades into the Millenial and now the Gen Z generations, our definitions of family and adulthood have become more fluid than they once were. One of the most marked differences is the changing priority regarding having children. Meghan Daum gathers 16 authors to talk about their decision not to have children and what that decision has meant to them. A fascinating exploration of an ongoing discussion for our society.  —Jocelyn


One of the main topics of cultural conversation during the last decade was the supposed "fertility crisis," and whether modern women could figure out a way to way to have it all-a successful, demanding career and the required 2.3 children-before their biological clock stopped ticking. Now, however, conversation has turned to whether it's necessary to have it all (see Anne-Marie Slaughter) or, perhaps more controversial, whether children are really a requirement for a fulfilling life. The idea that some women and men prefer not to have children is often met with sharp criticism and incredulity by the public and mainstream media.

In this provocative and controversial collection of essays, curated by writer Meghan Daum, thirteen acclaimed female writers explain why they have chosen to eschew motherhood. Contributors include Lionel Shriver, Sigrid Nunez, Kate Christensen, Elliott Holt, Geoff Dyer, and Tim Kreider, among others, who will give a unique perspective on the overwhelming cultural pressure of parenthood.

This collection makes a smart and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path to a happy, productive life, and takes our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. In this book, that shadowy faction known as the childless-by-choice comes out into the light.

For readers of Brigid Schulte and Debora Spar

About the Author

MEGHAN DAUM is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, the author of The Unspeakable, My Misspent Youth, Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House, The Quality of Life Report, and the editor of Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, The New York Times Book Review, Vogue, and other publications.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250052933
ISBN-10: 1250052939
Publisher: Picador USA
Publication Date: March 31st, 2015
Pages: 288
Language: English


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