Behind The Audio: I Can Barely Take Care of Myself

Adam Boretz -- May 31st, 2013


This week in Behind the Audio, we take a look at comedian, actress, and author Jen Kirkman’s debut memoir, I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids.

The audio edition, available from Tantor Media, is narrated by Kirkman herself. Here’s what she had to tell us about the project:

When I found out that Tantor wanted me to record an audio version of my book I was ecstatic. I thought, “This kind of counts as another comedy album and now I won’t have to record one of those this year.” As a stand-up comedian, it meant a lot to be able to read my own book — not that Morgan Freeman wouldn’t have given a respectable performance, but I don’t think he can impersonate my mom as well as I can.

While reading my book into a microphone, I remembered a game a teacher of mine used to play. The class would gather in a circle and one of us would read aloud until we screwed up and then pass the book to the next person — I excelled at not screwing up. It was a dream come true to finally make a living at this very specific skill!

Ever since the age of five, I have sounded like a two-pack-a-day smoker with a sinus infection. I sat in the audio booth with about three cups of hot water and honey. What I remember most about the experience is how often my bladder got exercised and my skin had a healthy glow from drinking a gallon of warm water a day. Some people may buy my audio book for the laughs and stay for the sexy vocal fry.

Once my book was on your favorite store bookcases or Amazon warehouse shelves — the way people read it is up to the voices in their head. That takes some surrender on the part of the author. I found great satisfaction in narrating the audio version of my book so that I could give certain sentences the inflection I feel they needed. Thank you Tantor, for giving me the opportunity to soothe my inner control freak.

For an audio excerpt from I Can Barely Take Care of Myself, check out the following SoundCloud clip:

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