Saturday, July 20, 2013

I Can't Complain: (all too) personal essays

by Elinor Lipman
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Ever since I read The Inn at Lake Devine in 2009, Elinor Lipman has been one of my "go to" authors when I need some light and fun fiction. So when I saw she'd come out with a book of essays - many of them previously published in various newspapers/periodicals - I had to check it out.

These thirty-one essays composed of broad subjects - family, writing, love & marriage - are truly delightful reading. She's funny one moment and making a thoughtful point the next, and even though she's in a different season of life than I am, her observations made me laugh and cry. I could completely relate to "No Thank You, I Think," in which she talks about why she now says "no" to some invitations. I, too, sometimes want to say "no" just to sit at home and read, and it was nice to know that someone else can not only admit it, but says so with aplomb. In one section, she talks about many aspects of being a writer, from looking for (and providing) blurbs, to the anxieties and frustrations involved in being the author at an event. Her essays about her husband, from a Coupling column she wrote regularly as the "long married" woman, were funny and heartwarming. A highly enjoyable read for anyone who enjoys humorous essays or getting to know a favorite author.

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