What happens after you check off all the boxes on your successful life’s to-do list and realize you might need to reinvent the list—and yourself?
I Miss You When I Blink was named one of NPR’s Favorite Books of 2019, Esquire’s Best Nonfiction Books of the Year, and #1 on the Indie Next List by booksellers nationwide. A finalist for the Southern Book Prize, it has also been highlighted on must-read lists from Newsweek, BuzzFeed, Town & Country, theSkimm, ELLE Australia, Lit Hub, Southern Living, Bustle, The Millions, BookRiot, Garden & Gun, and the Chicago Review of Books, among others. Real Simple magazine called it “the one book you should read right now.” (Get a short snippet of it in The New York Times, listen to a conversation about it on NPR’s All Things Considered, or read the The Washington Post review in which Elisabeth Egan calls Philpott “the modern day reincarnation of my favorite authors — Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Jean Kerr and Laurie Colwin — all rolled into one.”)
Mary Laura Philpott thought she’d cracked the code: Always be right, and you’ll always be happy.
But once she’d completed her life’s to-do list (job, spouse, house, babies—check!), she found that instead of feeling content and successful, she felt anxious. Lost. Stuck in a daily grind of overflowing calendars, grueling small talk, and sprawling traffic. She’d done everything “right,” but she felt all wrong. What’s the worse failure, she wondered: smiling and staying the course, or blowing it all up and running away? And are those the only options?
In this collection full of spot-on observations about home, work, and creative life, Philpott takes on the conflicting pressures of modern adulthood with wit and heart. She offers up her own stories to show that identity crises don’t happen just once or only at midlife; reassures us that small, recurring personal re-inventions are both normal and necessary; and advises that if you’re going to faint, you should get low to the ground first. Most of all, Philpott shows that when you stop feeling satisfied with your life, you don’t have to burn it all down and set off on a transcontinental hike (unless you want to, of course). You can call upon your many selves to figure out who you are, who you’re not, and where you belong. Who among us isn’t trying to do that?
“Mary Laura Philpott is a writer, artist, and creator of singular spark and delight. I adore her, and I love her work. Thank God she has finally written a memoir! By offering these dispatches from her own life experience, she leaves us thinking about ourselves — where we’ve been, where we’re going, and who we really want to be.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic
“Mary Laura Philpott is relentlessly funny, self-effacing and charming as she tells the story of living as a triple-A-plus perfectionist. Everything in her life is done on time and exactly right, until, of course, it all starts to fall apart. In her willingness to tell her own story, she taps into a universal truth for so many women: we plan to do it all until we find we can’t do anything anymore. I Miss You When I Blink made me laugh, it made me cry. I miss it already.”
— Ann Patchett, author of This Is the Story of Happy Marriage and Commonwealth
“At once rueful, hilarious, brave, and inspiring, I Miss You When I Blink is beautifully relatable and reassuring, even as it makes you pause and think. This marvelous collection of essays belongs on the bookshelf sandwiched between Anne Lamott and Nora Ephron. Mary Laura Philpott is going to make a whole lot of readers feel seen and understood.”
— Dani Shapiro, author of Hourglass and Inheritance
“What I love most about Mary Laura Philpott and her wonderful book is that she—self-proclaimed type A, obsessive achiever—gives herself permission to change. This book is inspiring for those of us with small children underfoot and 40 close on the horizon. Mary Laura is a generous and funny guide to the midlife conundrums.”
— Emma Straub, author of The Vacationers and Modern Lovers
“Mary Laura Philpott is the friend you call when you want to cry but need to laugh. What a treat to spend time with her distinctive voice as she plumbs life’s quotidian moments to unearth deeper, universal truths. Wry, intelligent, and searingly honest, this book is a joy.”
— Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest
“Infinitely relatable. Beautifully written. I’m ready to read it again.” – Jenny Lawson, author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy
“It feels like we are sitting at a table together and having the best conversation about all the things that truly matter. The tone is so perfect — calibrated and balanced — and I don’t know how she pulled that off. The result is a kind of wisdom in these essays that comes from making so many wrong turns they strangely add up to something that is exactly right.” – Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal
“I Miss You When I Blink is a delightful, thought-provoking collection of essays, written with such spark and vulnerability that I was alternately laughing out loud and gasp-sighing at its poignancy. This book is totally irresistible!” — Edan Lepucki, author of California and Woman No. 17