“Her new masterwork” —The New York Times Book Review
“A beautifully wrought ode to life” —The Washington Post

New York Times Editors’ Choice

An NPR Best Book of the Year
Notable New Nonfiction by PEOPLE Magazine
Excerpted in the Atlantic and the Washington Post

IndieNext Pick selected by booksellers nationwide
Amazon Editors’ Choice

Most Anticipated or Best of Spring by The Washington Post, Read With Jenna / TODAY.com, BookPageParade, LitHubThe Millions

From Mary Laura Philpott, “writer of singular spark and delight” (Elizabeth Gilbert) and 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 — not to mention the lessons of an inscrutable backyard turtle — with hope, humor, and joy. 

As a daughter, mother, and friend, Mary Laura Philpott considered herself an “anxious optimist” — a natural worrier with a stubborn sense of good cheer. And while she didn’t really think she had any sort of magical protective powers, she believed in her heart that as long as she loved her people enough, she could keep them safe. Then, in the early hours of one dark morning at home, her belief was upended. In the months that followed, she turned to poignant memories, priceless stories, and a medley of coping mechanisms (with comically mixed success) to regain her equilibrium and find meaning in everyday wonders.

Bomb Shelter “reveals, page after page, that the love that makes us vulnerable is the same force that makes us powerful” (Maggie Smith, bestselling author of Moving On and Goldenrod), making it a modern classic that “deserves pride of place alongside Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Joan Didion’s The White Album, and Nora Ephron’s Crazy Salad” (Garrett M. Graff, bestselling author of the The Only Plane in the Sky).

Described 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. 


Read the story behind the book cover.

Read an excerpt of Bomb Shelter in The Atlantic — and another in the Washington Post.

Signed and/or personalized copies available from Parnassus Books!
Or order from your local indie bookshop, Bookshop.org, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Apple Books, or anywhere else that sells books.
Also available as an audiobook, narrated by the author!


“An unforgettable memoir about holding it together when it’s time to let go, Bomb Shelter met me exactly where I am and gently walked me towards humor and hope. This book is a must read—a treasure to savor now and save for always. I loved it.” —Glennon Doyle, Author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Untamed and Founder of Together Rising

“Bomb Shelter is a gorgeous, gut-wrenching memoir that drew me in immediately. Mary Laura Philpott puts words to the human condition in a life-affirming, joyful, and surprisingly funny way — even as she leaves readers in tears. I’m blown away.” —Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

“If you’ve ever loved someone or been loved by someone, Bomb Shelter will have resonance for you. This book deserves pride of place alongside Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Joan Didion’s The White Album, and Nora Ephron’s Crazy Salad.”Garrett M. Graff, New York Times bestselling author of Watergate and The Only Plane in the Sky

“I was struck to my core by Mary Laura Philpott, or more precisely, by her new masterwork, Bomb Shelter.” – Judith Warner, The New York Times Book Review

“A beautifully wrought ode to life. Nora Ephron would approve. Her love affair with life… is a precious gift to the world.” – Katie Hafner, The Washington Post

“From a lifelong worrier who’s also a reveler in the joys of human existence, engrossing essays on living with both.” – PEOPLE

“Each of these powerful, beautifully written essays is like a tiny grenade aimed straight at the heart. Mary Laura Philpott is a trustworthy guide, ushering us through the magnificent, harrowing terrain of being human. Trust me: You will laugh, you will cry. You will fall in love with her voice.” – Dani Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Inheritance

“Witty, inspiring, and piercingly honest, this book will pull you in and it won’t let go. Mary Laura Philpott has the gift of making the ordinary extraordinary as she invites you to reflect and laugh. You’ll leave these pages with a deeper appreciation for this exceptional and explosive thing we call life.” – Tembi Locke, author of New York Times bestseller and Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection From Scratch

“At the heart of Bomb Shelter is a truth parents know deeply: ‘I felt the universe had entrusted me with so much more than I could possibly keep safe.’ I put this book down feeling less anxious as a mother and more inspired as a writer. Why? Philpott reveals, page after page, that the love that makes us vulnerable is the same force that makes us powerful.” Maggie Smith, bestselling author of Keep Moving and Goldenrod

“One reason we read is to know that burst of recognition when someone supplies new language for that which we once found indescribable. Mary Laura Philpott finds words for [an] intense experience known to so many—and she’s consistently hilarious, too, even when discussing all the terrifying things in life that we can neither predict nor prevent… This book has felt like a comfort even when cutting close to the bone.” – Nicole Chung, “I Have Notes,” The Atlantic

“I have never met Mary Laura Philpott, but reading Bomb Shelter felt like sitting up all night talking with a dear friend who saved up all her best secrets to share with me. Delicious.” — Duchess Goldblatt, author of Becoming Duchess Goldblatt

“Bomb Shelter is the literary equivalent of a therapy session.” – Washington Post, “The Books to Read in 2022

“How do we keep living when the unexpected can happen at any moment?” TODAY.com, 22 Books the Read with Jenna Community Can’t Wait to Read in 2022

“Smart and compassionate, tender and incisive, Bomb Shelter examines the way love is always braided through with fear. I read it with my heart in my throat, gripped especially by its account of the worry and awe in raising children. ‘The pain came with the territory, but the territory was so glorious that the pain didn’t matter.'” – Flynn Berry, New York Times bestselling author of Northern Spy

“This quirky work has a lot of heart.” —Publishers Weekly

“Beautifully written…eloquent…offers pleasure and comfort to anyone who has ever worried about someone they love.” —Booklist

“Philpott’s greatest gift as a writer is her ability to tell a story as if she is simply sharing the events of her day with a friend… A master of the timely digression, Philpott is as skilled at handling painful subjects as she is offering hilarious glimpses inside her life and mind, and she often intersperses the two with great effect.” – The Nashville Scene / Chapter 16

“Philpott’s newest explores the extraordinary and the mundane with humor, anxiety, and hope.” – The Millions

“Philpott’s openhearted joy and fear is relatable regardless of your parenting status—a reminder that, even amid the most frightening challenges, we are rarely alone.” – BookPage, starred review