“A beautifully wrought ode to life.” —The Washington Post
“Her new masterwork.” —The New York Times Book Review
New York Times Editors’ Choice, Most Anticipated by Read With Jenna, BookPage, LitHub, The Millions
From the bestselling author of I Miss You When I Blink comes a poignant and powerful new memoir that tackles the big questions of life, death, and existential fear with humor and hope.
A lifelong worrier, Philpott always kept an eye out for danger, a habit that only intensified when she became a parent. But she looked on the bright side, too, believing that as long as she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe.
Then, in the dark of one quiet, pre-dawn morning, she woke abruptly to a terrible sound—and found her teenage son unconscious on the floor. In the aftermath of a crisis that darkened her signature sunny spirit, she wondered: If this happened, what else could happen? And how do any of us keep going when we can’t know for sure what’s coming next?
Leave it to the writer whose critically acclaimed debut had us “laughing and crying on the same page” (NPR) to illuminate what it means to move through life with a soul made of equal parts anxiety and optimism (and while she’s at it, to ponder the mysteries of backyard turtles and the challenges of spatchcocking a turkey).
Hailed by The Washington Post as “Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Jean Kerr, and Laurie Colwin all rolled into one,” Philpott returns in her distinctive voice to explore our protective instincts, the ways we continue to grow up long after we’re grown, and the limits—both tragic and hilarious—of the human body and mind.
Philpott (I Miss You When I Blink) explores life's pleasures and uncertainties in this wry if meandering collection of essays. She searches for meaning in the noteworthy and the mundane, sleekly juxtaposing lamentations about her herniated discs (an injury caused by "too many years hunched over a laptop") with deeply affecting reflections on such life-altering experiences as her son's first seizure. She also humorously investigates her own contradictory nature, as a person who's both immensely anxious and overly cheerful: "Am I here to tell you we're all going to die? Yes. Am I here to give you a pep talk along the way? Also yes!" Occasionally, though, she wanders down a winding path of tangential thoughts and unrelated asides; for instance, the surprising news that her dad worked at Raven Rock, a secret underground military bunker, zigzags her to the moment when she learned, after two decades of living with her husband, that he could juggle. While the scattershot narration can distract, Philpott draws readers back in with her philosophical and witty musings from wondering about her place in the universe to remembering a family dog that would only eat to the music of Kanye West. Rambling tendencies aside, this quirky work has a lot of heart.