Sometimes it’s so strange seeing oneself inside the pages of a book that someone else wrote. How could they know your life? How could they be a part of the way things were in your history? Did they follow you around and see exactly how your life was unfolding, or is it that their experiences as a mother, wife, and worker in life, that make their experiences so much like yours? Jan and I saw ourselves reflected in this book and all the things we thought were only ours turned out to be theirs.
I knew the author and I were simpatico when, in her first essay, she tells the story of having no sense of direction and she loses her car in a parking garage. This is my life and I’m totally stealing her tip to start taking pictures as a bread crumb trail.
And then there’s her to-do list. I thought I was the only crazy person who had a post-it note addiction. Like the author, If it’s not on my list and I complete a task I will write it down just to have the satisfaction of crossing it off. Hello Type A Personality, I get you!
Plus she loves animals. How can you not love someone who loves animals?
I’m not going through a career crisis or depression, and I’m on the other side of raising children and suffering career angst. But, I still related to many of her thoughts and feelings as she reflects on her life and re-invents herself. I think all women, young or old, single or married, working or retired, with children or childless, will find much that resonates. In other words, women of all ages and stages of life will find something in this collection that speaks to them.
I highly recommend listening to this book on audio, as the narrator is the author telling her own story in her own words. Although, I’m glad I also have a hard copy so I can re-read it with my tin of book darts at my side.
Another terrific buddy read with Marialyce and one we both recommend! My only complaint? I wanted more.
How can we sum up our life’s experiences? Does it boil down to a word, to a moment, to an event that defines us and makes us who we are? In this collection of essays, one might find oneself totally depicted as a wife, a mother, a person so trying to achieve that excellence that our mothers so ingrained in us. Is this a revelation that happens at a certain age, a time when we feel the years speeding up so much that you want to yell “stop”. I want this day, this hour, this minute, to hold still, to never leave, to always be the moment I am living through. Unfortunately, as the author so wonderfully tells us these moments are fleeting, yet they so define the person you are.
We are products of our upbringing and we become, perish the thought, but it happens, what our mothers were. How many times have I said while growing up, I would never do or say that? And yet, here I am doing and saying exactly that. Have I wanted my children to be perfect? A definite yes because my mother required I be perfect. However, as I grew into parenthood, I found that all the things I thought were perfection were allusions for my kids were people not little robots that I could program with the result I so desired. As I read more of these essays, I realized that Mary Philpott was on the very same journey as I, as all mothers, and wives find themselves on. Looking back at the mistakes, finding fun in the life of family, and making lots of decisions that perhaps might not work out the way we wanted them to. After all that’s life, is it not?
and here’s the author
Mary Laura Philpott is the author of the memoir-in-essays I Miss You When I Blink. Her writing has been featured in print or online by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, and other publications. She’s the founding editor of Musing, the online publication of Parnassus Books, as well as an Emmy-winning cohost of the show A Word on Words on Nashville Public Television. She also wrote and illustrated the humor book Penguins with People Problems, a quirky look at the embarrassments of being human. Mary Laura lives in Nashville with her family.