I’ve known Nora McInerny Purmort for a long time*. As co-workers, we would pal around the office, hang out by the coffee maker, and occasionally gossip. You know — the shit people typically do when they work in confined spaces together 40 some hours a week. Back then, she was sharp, witty, and goofy-in-all-the-right-way
After I quit advertising and long after Nora moved out of New York, I’d still randomly see her pop up on the streets of New York. She’d say flattering things to her friends about me. She’d talk about how ‘cool’ I was for quitting my job and for writing comics full time. She said very nice things, very kind things, and very encouraging things that made me blush. She was cool like that. She still is.
So, flash forward a bunch of years… and here I am reviewing an advanced copy of HER new book: It's Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too). Completely unprompted, I had nice things to say about it. Also, you should buy it when it hits stores on May 24th.
“Bad stuff is just like good stuff: it just happens”
It's Okay to Laugh recounts the loss of Nora’s husband, the death of her father and the miscarriage of her second child all in the span of weeks. With infinite grace, irresistible prose and enduring honesty, Nora transforms what would be a heart-breaking memoir into a life-affirming anthem. A natural storyteller, Nora’s words will make you laugh and cry all in the same paragraph, often in the same sentence. Her spell-binding essays on depression, cancer, death, motherhood, and familyhood have a gust of self-determination, even in the face of harrowing adversity. With a cheerful pragmatism that one might find in the works of Anne Lamott or Elizabeth Gilbert, Nora captures the highs and lows of simply living one’s life — pointing out that life is harder than it looks for everyone, but in the end, things are going to be okay, sorta. Losing someone you love isn’t easy. Reading this book won’t make it easier. This isn’t a Guide Book for Grief. It won’t magically heal the hole in your heart. What it will do though is offer you profound empathy, companionship, and friendship. With radiant generosity, It’s Okay to Laugh is love letter to life and a profound reminder that we are not alone in this world… even when we feel like we are.
* Before Twitter was a thing; before Tumblr was founded.