I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

I Miss You When I Blink.jpg

I Miss You When I Blink
by Mary Laura Philpott
Hardcover, 288 pages
Atria (April 2, 2019)
Advance copy provided by publisher

Author Mary Laura Philpott is highly entertaining; she has a wonderful online presence, via social media and her work for numerous publications, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to read an early copy of her memoir-in-essays. Shortly after I received a copy of I Miss You When I Blink, I discovered that she would be presenting at the 2019 Arkansas Literary Festival which moved her title to the front of my reading list.

When I feel pressure to do the one exactly right thing - which I feel all the time because I am a human and a perfectionist - I remember all the selves I simultaneously have been, am, and will be. I miss you when I blink means I know all my selves are here with me, and I know we can do this.

While reading the first few essays, I found myself highlighting multiple passages, nodding my head and smiling (or smirking) to myself; Philpott’s tendencies toward perfectionism, lack of cardinal direction understanding (north, south, east, west…people, please give me some landmarks!) and anxiety attacks about the future were highly relatable. Even though Philpott frequently uses her identity as a mother to inform many of her stories, which can often present a challenge for me since I am childless, she also shares thoughtful reflections on other relationships that I enjoyed.

One of my favorites in this collection is titled “Sports Radio;” in it, she discusses her aversion to small talk after a gathering with several other women; she’d been looking forward to an evening of discussion about the challenges of life as a mother, wife, professional, and left feeling unfulfilled. I, too, have an aversion to small talk; it could be an occupational hazard, but why not be real and share the limited time we have with friends to support one another?

I hate it when people give directions using phrases like, ‘Drive south for two miles,’ or ‘Go east on the highway.’ How the hell do you people know which way south and east are?

My one complaint about this collection, which Philpott makes an effort to address, is the overwhelming presence of her privilege; many of us would not be able to afford the options she explores for handling difficult situations. For some, this will not be an issue; others, like me, may notice it more significantly; I could certainly use an opportunity to escape from my life every once in awhile but, alas, I doubt anyone is willing to financially subsidize that fantasy.

Overall, I Miss You When I Blink is a great read when you need a break, a good laugh, an escape…and it’s not so expensive that you can’t afford to get away. I’m happy that I took the time to read her latest work and will continue to follow her writing career.

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