A review by em_reads_books
Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids, by Meghan Daum


I had mixed feelings about whether to read this or not - I'd seen great excerpts from it and interviews with the authors, but on the other hand, how much exploration of this topic did I REALLY want to read? And that pretty much held true for my experience reading it; there were some great bits, a couple of terrible bits, but most of it just had me going "the writing is great but I'm not that excited about it."

The essays in order of how much I enjoyed them:

1. Lionel Shriver's big steaming pile of racist garbage, complete with straw-man "PC consensus" argument about how unfair it is that those racist opinions get labeled as such
2. The handful of personal essays by people much like me - still young enough to have kids, in a monogamous hetero relationship, who've just always known they don't want kids - fine, but I got nothing out of them
3. The couple of essays that do some social or literary critique and made me think or mentally argue with them and the couple of less serious ones that made me laugh
4. The personal essays from a totally different perspective from my own - the people in queer relationships, the people reckoning with abusive childhoods, the older people - where the good writing was combined with a story I'd never heard before. Paul Lisicky's in particular, about being a gay man of parenting age during the AIDS crisis, blew me away.