This book found me at exactly the right time and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. With a mug of tea and these essays in hand, my experience with this book was that of having a no-holds-barred conversation with an old friend I knew would never judge me. Philpott explores what it means to miss yourself, what it means to feel like you need an escape hatch, what it means to live with and recognize the hundreds of yous you've been, and all the yous you've yet to become. I truly fell in love with this collection, and it reinforced the idea that we really do contain multitudes. I can't recommend it enough. Recommended By Carrie K., Powells.com
Philpott’s delightful essay collection, which explores the terrain between the adult life she anticipated and the one she inhabits, reads like a long chat with a close, funny friend, offering solace to those of us (all of us?) who wonder if we’re doing it right, and more than a few laughs. Recommended By Tove H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
One of Esquire's Best Nonfiction Books of the Year
One of NPR's Favorite Books of the Year
One of the Year's Most Anticipated Books: BuzzFeed, Bustle, HelloGiggles, Literary Hub, 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.
"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." Kirkus Reviews
"Mary Laura Philpott is a writer, artist, and creator of singular spark and delight. I adore her, and I love her work... 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
“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 a love letter to type-A people everywhere and a gentle reminder that it's okay (necessary, even) to change, this full-hearted book is a warm embrace of a life lived imperfectly." Esquire
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.