From the bestselling author of I Miss You When I Blink and “writer of singular spark and delight” (Elizabeth Gilbert, #1 New York Times bestselling author) comes a poignant and powerful new memoir-in-essays that tackles the big questions of life, death, and existential fear with humor and hope.
A lifelong worrier, Philpott always kept an eye out for danger, a habit that only intensified when she became a parent. But she looked on the bright side, too, believing that as long as she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe.
Then, in the dark of one quiet, pre-dawn morning, she woke abruptly to a terrible sound—and found her teenage son unconscious on the floor. In the aftermath of a crisis that darkened her signature sunny spirit, she wondered: If this happened, what else could happen? And how do any of us keep going when we can’t know for sure what’s coming next?
Leave it to the writer whose critically acclaimed debut had us “laughing and crying on the same page” (NPR) to illuminate what it means to move through life with a soul made of equal parts anxiety and optimism (and while she’s at it, to ponder the mysteries of backyard turtles and the challenges of spatchcocking a turkey).
Hailed by The Washington Post as “Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Jean Kerr, and Laurie Colwin all rolled into one,” Philpott returns in her distinctive voice to explore our protective instincts, the ways we continue to grow up long after we’re grown, and the limits—both tragic and hilarious—of the human body and mind.
About the Author
Mary Laura Philpott, author of the national bestseller I Miss You When I Blink, writes essays that examine the overlap of the absurd and the profound in everyday life. Her writing has been featured frequently by The New York Times and appears in such outlets as The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Real Simple, and more. A former bookseller, she also hosted an interview program on Nashville Public Television for several years. Mary Laura lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.
"An unforgettable memoir about holding it together when it’s time to let go, Bomb Shelter met me exactly where I am and gently walked me towards humor and hope. This book is a must read—a treasure to savor now and save for always. I loved it.” —Glennon Doyle, Author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Untamed and Founder of Together Rising
"Bomb Shelter is a gorgeous, gut-wrenching memoir that drew me in immediately. Mary Laura Philpott puts words to the human condition in a life-affirming, joyful, and surprisingly funny way -- even as she leaves readers in tears. I'm blown away." —Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
“Each of these powerful, beautifully written essays is like a tiny grenade aimed straight at the heart. Mary Laura Philpott is a trustworthy guide, ushering us through the magnificent, harrowing terrain of being human. Trust me: you will laugh, you will cry. You will fall in love with her voice.” —Dani Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Inheritance
"At the heart of Bomb Shelter is a truth parents know deeply: 'I felt the universe had entrusted me with so much more than I could possibly keep safe.' I put this book down feeling less anxious as a mother and more inspired as a writer. Why? Philpott reveals, page after page, that the love that makes us vulnerable is the same force that makes us powerful." —Maggie Smith, bestselling author of Keep Moving and Goldenrod
"I have never met Mary Laura Philpott, but reading Bomb Shelter felt like sitting up all night talking with a dear friend who saved up all her best secrets to share with me. Delicious." —Duchess Goldblatt, author of Becoming Duchess Goldblatt
"Witty, inspiring, and piercingly honest, this book will pull you in and it won't let go. Mary Laura Philpott has the gift of making the ordinary extraordinary as she invites you to reflect and laugh. You'll leave these pages with a deeper appreciation for this exceptional and explosive thing we call life." —Tembi Locke, New York Times bestselling author of From Scratch
“One reason we read is to know that burst of recognition when someone supplies new language for that which we once found indescribable. Mary Laura Philpott finds words for [an] intense experience known to so many—and she’s consistently hilarious, too, even when discussing all the terrifying things in life that we can neither predict nor prevent… This book has felt like a comfort even when cutting close to the bone.” —Nicole Chung, “I Have Notes,” The Atlantic
"Philpott gently guides the reader with humor and familiarity through life’s terrain, letting her readers know if she can do it, we can do it." —LitHub's Most Anticipated Books of 2022
"This quirky work has a lot of heart." —Publishers Weekly