I Miss You When I Blink: Essays (Hardcover)
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One of 2019’s Most Anticipated Books: BuzzFeed, Bustle, HelloGiggles, LitHub, She Reads
Acclaimed essayist and bookseller Mary Laura Philpott presents a charmingly relatable and wise memoir-in-essays about what happened after she checked off all the boxes on her successful life’s to-do list and realized she might need to reinvent the list—and herself.
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 memoir-in-essays 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?
Like a pep talk from a sister, I Miss You When I Blink is the funny, poignant, and deeply affecting book you’ll want to share with all your friends, as you learn what Philpott has figured out along the way: that multiple things can be true of us at once—and that sometimes doing things wrong is the way to do life right.
About the Author
Mary Laura Philpott writes essays that examine the overlap of the absurd and the profound in everyday life. 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 magazine 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.
"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 a Happy Marriage and Commonwealth
"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
"Infinitely relatable. Beautifully written. I'm ready to read it again."
— Jenny Lawson, author of Let's Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy
“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 forty close on the horizon. Mary Laura is a generous and funny guide to the midlife conundrums.”
— Emma Straub, author of Modern Lovers
“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
"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
“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. Mary Laura Philpott shows us her real, flawed self in these pages, sharing when she's made mistakes, when she’s been less than charitable, or when she wasn't sure who she was 'supposed' to be. It's easy to connect with her honesty, and damn fun to laugh at her jokes. This book is totally irresistible!"
— Edan Lepucki, author of California and Woman No. 17
"Her collection of essays reads like a brutally honest conversation with your most relatable friend. It’ll make you feel infinitely less alone."
"In her memoir-in-essays, acclaimed writer Mary Laura Philpott addresses the conflicting pressures of modern adulthood and that inevitable "stuck" feeling so many of us become familiar with. Part confessional, part pep talk, I Miss You When I Blink is a reassuring read about learning how to accept that doing things wrong can be the way to do life right."
"A funny and self-effacing memoir-in-essays from a bookseller who thought she had her whole life figured out (and had done everything right and gotten everything she wanted) only to wake up one day and realize that . . . she hadn’t. Relatable!"
"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
“Heartwarming… Philpott’s prose is conversational and easy to settle into....Comforting and reassuring."
“Warm, candid, and wise, Philpott’s book is both an extended reflection on the pressures of being female and a survivor’s tale about finding contentment by looking within and learning to be herself. Delightfully bighearted reading.”
“A mosaic of a life changing in subtle rather than radical ways . . . Readers with their own sets of anxieties should be charmed by the author's friendly tone, warm sense of humor, and relatable experiences.”