When Lauren mentioned her commitment to reading 17 books in 2017, I jumped right into the challenge. I read more than that in a given year, but they are usually business related. I save novels for the rare beach bum vacation. So this year, my commitment is to read 17 non-business related books in the next 12 months. Each month, we’ll feature a book selection. I’d love for you to join along, comment, and make your own recommendations.
It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) is the painful and hilarious memoir of Nora McInerny Purmort. The book goes back and forth in time, from her childhood to current time, acting as bookends to the three months where Nora loses her second baby through miscarriage, and both her father and beloved husband to cancer. At 31, she is a window and young mother to her little boy Ralph and has one heck of a story to tell.
Within the first two pages, I knew that Nora and I were going to be friends. She writes the way I think. Her internal stream of consciousness reads like a text chain between my closets girlfriend and me. Have you ever wonder if you are the only weirdo who thinks the things you do? So does Nora. Chances are you, and Nora think the same way, which I found refreshing and reassuring.
I was fortunate to get upgraded on my flight out to LA last week. Like any overworked, exhausted mother, those 6 hours and 20 minutes in the air, with plenty of room and a lovely flight attendant who offered me wine was a tiny slice of heaven, made even better by the company of this book. I laughed out load with quiet tears streaming down my face. Nora’s ability to let humor mix into her profound grief highlights the beautiful complexity of love and loss.
It doesn’t hurt, either, that Nora was raised Irish Catholic with siblings that “communicate almost entirely in movie quotes.” As an Irish Catholic myself, I appreciate our unique level of crazy. For example, at 15 Nora decides she needs to take a pregnancy test. Not because she’s had sex because she never has, but because she has convinced herself that if The Blessed Virgin Mary was able to conceive immaculately, surely it could happen to someone else. To avoid the shame of being potentially caught buying a pregnancy test by a neighbor, she goes to a different part of town to make her purchase. After she takes it, she needs to dispose of the obviously negative stick, so she goes to a dumpster in a different part of the town for fear that DNA testing would be able to trace it somehow back to her.
This might sound insane, because it is, but my fears at her age were not so far off.
This kind of antidotal story fills the book. When I landed I felt like I spent my flight getting caught up with a hilarious, old high school girlfriend. I wanted to hug my babies, kiss my husband and at the same time, felt a little better about all the seemingly odd thoughts that fill my head on a daily basis.
Bonus Book: The Princess Diarist
A quick read by the late and great Carrie Fisher documenting her time filming the first Star Wars movie. In true Carrie Fisher fashion, it’s irreverent, funny and poignant. A good portion of the book details her on set affair with Harrison Ford, who, at the time sounds like a moody, cranky elusive pill of man, who’s also insanely handsome and charming. For the 20-year-old, naive, doe-eyed actress, he is downright irresistible. I can’t say I blame her. He would have been right up my alley too. It’s a fun book, more like a magazine read, perfect when you don’t want to invest in something too heavy.