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-in-essays that tackles the big questions of life, death, and existential fear with humor and hope — or as she puts it: “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!” 

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 readers “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. 

“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

“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

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

“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

“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

“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

“Philpott reckons with how we manage to exist when there’s always some unknown threat lurking nearby. Bomb Shelter is the literary equivalent of a therapy session.” – Washington Post, “The Books to Read in 2022


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