AuthorList-SCADA12-frameComedy writer Henriette Mantel assembles a star-studded group of child-free contributors in NO KIDDING: WOMEN WRITERS ON BYPASSING PARENTHOOD.

No Kidding is funny. I laughed out loud, but I knew with Henriette, there’d be more to it than just laughs. Choosing not to have children is unfathomable to me, making this book all the more fascinating.”
—Rosie O’Donnell

“The No Kidding essays made me laugh, made me cry, made me wanna give my kid back.”
—Teri Garr

No Kidding is a funny, unique, and sometimes brave collection of essays written by funny, unique, and—for taking on this topic—always brave women.”
—Michael Patrick King, writer/director Sex and the City

Watch this video of No Kidding writers performing at Strand Book Store in New York City!

“A candid, often funny collection of perspectives, ranging from women who never had the urge to those who were ambivalent or who accepted or were relieved by infertility.”
—Katherine Seligman, San Francisco Chronicle

“Does it sometimes seem as though everybody around you is pregnant? Are you a wee bit tired of talk about wee ones? Then you absolutely need to read No Kidding.”

—Terri Schlichenmeyer, Appeal-Democrat

“No Kidding illuminates the angles of the non-motherhood experience in a way that helped me feel less alone, and also made me feel lonelier than ever – sometimes all at once…. The essays eloquently touch on all of these realities without coming across as bitter or smug…. With elegance and aspiration, the [contributors] together give voice to the anguish, sadness, elation, joy, misery, loneliness, and confusion that remaining childless – whether by choice or by circumstance – actually is.”

“It’s a tough thing to capture with so many different opinions the voice of an experience, but in No Kidding, Mantel has brought together a selection of prose that succeeds – and succeeds exceedingly well…. Spend some time with these cool ladies. You won’t regret it.”
—Martha Kepner on Reading Around,


The “collection of humorists and comediennes converge to share their points of view on the subject in nifty, pithy essays…. The book offers some profound insight – often poignant, but always funny.”

“There is a wide range of voices and stories in No Kidding – and despite the overriding humorous tone, there are some serious moments that cut through the potentially glib attitude that some of the writers adopt…. And despite the diversity of the women’s stories, there is a consistent theme of defining life, adulthood, and womenhood on one’s own terms.”
—A Crowded Bookshelf | The Chicago Library


“Korean-American comedian Margaret Cho pens one of the collection’s finest, most disarmingly witty essays.”

“… equal parts heart, humor, and humility — a trifecta that recurs across the essays….”

“Because, after all, there are many ways to leave meaningful legacy besides childbirth.”
—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings


“… offers an honest look inside the minds of women who made a decision that is contrary to society’s concept of ‘womanhood.’ … Perfect for anyone who’s ever felt alone in their lack-of-desire to have kids, or wondered what that same feeling would be like.… Bravo to Henriette and all the other women in this book for being so honest about such an intimate topic.”
—Whynott Blog


“Humorous (sometimes darkly so) as well as poignant.”
—Zetta Brown, New York Journal of Books


Edited by Henriette Mantel
Foreword by Jennifer Coolidge
Seal Press | May 2013 | 248 pages | $16.00 | Trade paper
ISBN-13: 978-1-58005-443-0
ebook ISBN: 978-1-58005-459-1

Cover design by Daniel Pelavin | Website by KJN & HMC using WordPress. Word clouds created with Tagxedo.

9 thoughts on “

  1. I love comedy. I love women writers. I love not having kids. I think this book should sit on my shelf. I need a few comebacks and support for not breeding a demon, monster child. (My mom always said I’d have kids that were 10 times as bad as me. Choice? Nope. Fear.

  2. The essays in this book feel like the conversation I never got to have with the women in my family. The writing is often honest and authentic. Thank you.

  3. I’m sincerely grateful that publishing houses are taking a chance with books like NO KIDDING, as well as memoirs written by women like Jen Kirkman and “Savvy Auntie” Melanie Notkin. Being childfree is an integral part of who I am, and yet I’ve been hard-pressed to find books that cater to my demographic. Thank you, ladies of NO KIDDING. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Thank YOU, Lelaina. We’re happy you like it, honored to be counted with Jen Kirkman and Melanie “Savvy Auntie” Notkin, and hope there are more books like this to come! Thanks for your comment!

  4. I have worked with women for more than 20 years helping them decide whether or not to have children. There are many silent women out there not knowing which path to take and not feeling like it’s ok to say No – this book is a very welcomed addition to not enough resources out there.

  5. I just wanted to thank you for the amazing book of essays about women who don’t have children.
    I cried and laughed and for the first time ever felt like someone understood me.

    So many amazing quotes, but if I had to pick one that reads like I wrote it myself:

    “You don’t need a boyfriend to be in a relationship with another human being. And I don’t have to be a mom to gently nurture.”

    Thank you! You changed my life for the better.

    • So good to hear, Debbie. Henriette Mantel, the book’s editor, really wanted to include essays that give different perspectives on this issue. We’re happy this spoke to you. Stay tuned for fresh blog posts from the writers coming up in September. Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful comment!

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