No Happy Endings
The author of It’s Okay to Laugh and host of the popular podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking—interviews that are “a gift to be able to listen [to]” (New York Times)—returns with more hilarious meditations on her messy, wonderful, bittersweet, and unconventional life.Life has a million different ways to kick you right in the chops. We lose love, lose jobs, lose our sense of self. For Nora McInerny, it was losing her husband, her father, and her unborn second child in one catastrophic year.But in the wake of loss, we get to assemble something new from whatever is left behind. Some circles call finding happiness after loss “Chapter 2”—the continuation of something else. Today, Nora is remarried and mothers four children aged 16 months to 16 years. While her new circumstances bring her extraordinary joy, they are also tinged with sadness over the loved ones she’s lost.Life has made Nora a reluctant expert in hard conversations. On her wildly popular podcast, she talks about painful experiences we inevitably face, and exposes the absurdity of the question “how are you?” that people often ask when we’re coping with the aftermath of emotional catastrophe. She knows intimately that when your life falls apart, there’s a mad rush to be okay—to find a silver lining, to get to the happy ending. In this, her second memoir, Nora offers a tragicomic exploration of the tension between finding happiness and holding space for the unhappy experiences that have shaped us.No Happy Endings is a book for people living life after life has fallen apart. It’s a book for people who know that they’re moving forward, not moving on. It’s a book for people who know life isn’t always happy, but it isn’t the end: there will be unimaginable joy and incomprehensible tragedy. As Nora reminds us, there will be no happy endings—but there will be new beginnings.

No Happy Endings Details

TitleNo Happy Endings
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 26th, 2019
PublisherDey Street Books
ISBN-139780062792402
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Audiobook

No Happy Endings Review

  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    It's amazing how sometimes a book can just hit you at the right time. No Happy Endings did that for me. This is a book I needed to be reading tonight, and I was reading it because Nora mailed me a copy and maybe I also needed that surprise act of genuine kindness. (Honestly, it's going to take me months to stop being excited that I own a book signed by #ralphiegrams. Note this wasn't in exchange for review, literally just a super nice gift.)This book is about persisting, and loving, and people. It's amazing how sometimes a book can just hit you at the right time. No Happy Endings did that for me. This is a book I needed to be reading tonight, and I was reading it because Nora mailed me a copy and maybe I also needed that surprise act of genuine kindness. (Honestly, it's going to take me months to stop being excited that I own a book signed by #ralphiegrams. Note this wasn't in exchange for review, literally just a super nice gift.)This book is about persisting, and loving, and people. It's about religion and feminism. But it's also funny? And entertaining? Except then you might cry. Basically: this book covers some ground. I think it's similar in feel to It's Okay to Laugh, while perhaps more often taking a big picture view of things (e.g., dating, gender norms, grieving). I did find No Happy Endings to be a bit better written (which feels like a slam on the first book, though it's not! Read that one too). Both these books hit me. It's like if Oprah were 3 decades younger; lost her baby, dad, and husband in short succession; and had a tendency to ramble. (Yes, that's absolutely a high compliment.)There's a lot packed into this one (< 300-page) book but I hope what really cuts through is that loss is not something to "get over." Like, when someone dies, it's not as if they never existed. And if you're happy a year later, it's not as if you're no longer sad they died. As Nora puts it, there are "multitudes included in all our experiences." (She says a lot more, but I don't want to ruin the reading experience for you.) This memoir comforted me, made me reflect, and taught me - all while being engaging. Highly recommend.
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  • Katelyn
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Nora McInery's writing style is hilarious and real. She bravely bares it all in this book, going through the many mixed emotions she felt after falling in love again a little over 6 months after her first husband died of brain cancer at 35. After dating her soon to be second husband, Matthew, for a few months, she becomes pregnant, and they merge their families--his 14 and 9 year olds with her 3 year old. I can't overstate how much I enjoyed McInery's writing. This book is about sad, tough Wow. Nora McInery's writing style is hilarious and real. She bravely bares it all in this book, going through the many mixed emotions she felt after falling in love again a little over 6 months after her first husband died of brain cancer at 35. After dating her soon to be second husband, Matthew, for a few months, she becomes pregnant, and they merge their families--his 14 and 9 year olds with her 3 year old. I can't overstate how much I enjoyed McInery's writing. This book is about sad, tough things (as well as happy things), and it is super readable. She also has quite a few chapters in here that feel like separate essays (I'm assuming they were previously written as such then collected here), but I was so charmed by her style that I didn't mind. Interesting thoughts on feminism, parenting, and how you live when people close to you have died.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    “Everything good in my life had a sad aftertaste. Everything good in my life had come from loss. Everything sweet was just a little bitter.” I didn’t appreciate this as much as It’s Okay to Laugh, McInerny’s first memoir, although it’s in the same style: lots of short, witty but bittersweet essays reflecting on life’s losses. In this follow-up, she writes about what happened next for her after she became a reluctant grief expert when her father, first husband and unborn baby all died in a matter “Everything good in my life had a sad aftertaste. Everything good in my life had come from loss. Everything sweet was just a little bitter.” I didn’t appreciate this as much as It’s Okay to Laugh, McInerny’s first memoir, although it’s in the same style: lots of short, witty but bittersweet essays reflecting on life’s losses. In this follow-up, she writes about what happened next for her after she became a reluctant grief expert when her father, first husband and unborn baby all died in a matter of weeks. Within a year of becoming a widow, she’d met a new partner and soon was – surprise! – pregnant with his baby. Together they formed a blended family of four children ranging from 0 to 15 and two wounded adults (Matthew had gone through a bitter divorce). She also writes about her newfound spirituality and feminism. The problem with the essay format, however, is that the author cycles through aspects of the same stories multiple times, such that the introduction’s tongue-in-cheek question (is this whole book going to be her complaining that she got to fall in love twice?!) is rather apt. [She also couldn’t figure out the lay/lie distinction to save her life!] My sister has been greatly helped by the Hot Young Widows Club, so I’m grateful to McInerny for her writing and her charitable work, but would direct readers to her first book over this one.
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  • Kaloyana
    January 1, 1970
    Between 3 and 4 stars. Mostly I like it, but also I see it like Nora McInerny is actually more confident in giving advices that she should be. And this is not an accusation for her, it is a setback of the book. Because if she wants to be someone who advices people, who have been and still are grieving after a big loss, she should try to talk to people who didn't find another best husband and family and friends and everything so soon. Of course, I am sure it is disguised under the mask of this-is Between 3 and 4 stars. Mostly I like it, but also I see it like Nora McInerny is actually more confident in giving advices that she should be. And this is not an accusation for her, it is a setback of the book. Because if she wants to be someone who advices people, who have been and still are grieving after a big loss, she should try to talk to people who didn't find another best husband and family and friends and everything so soon. Of course, I am sure it is disguised under the mask of this-is-my-kind-of experience-that-I-share, but also OK, so what? And by the way, the thing that looks like she most fears is that people are going to say that she doesn't love her first dead now husband, if she found love again so soon. But actually she might be surprised that people don't give so much thought on that. It gets you thinking - if she doesn't feel guilty, why she has to say it so many times in so many ways? No one cares.Anyway, I like her writing style, and also some ideas, but there is this notion like somehow she is trying too hard convince her/me? in what exactly? Don't know. It wasn't necessary to repeat so many times that her husband, the person she loves most, died of cancer/brain tumor so many times in the book.Besides that I love those kind of books that share true experience that might be helpful to read for other people.
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  • KP
    January 1, 1970
    I love her sense of humor, and think her resilience is amazing, so my rating of this book doesn't reflect how I feel about the material as a whole. I just felt that several of the chapters were somewhat repetitive, and could have been condensed into one chapter, or perhaps more focused. I still appreciated reading this follow up to her first book, however, and think she's a wonderful writer.
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  • Fishgirl
    January 1, 1970
    I WILL be back because I have so much to say about this book. I wish I knew how I came to it - was it a "Goodreads" recommendation? I think the librarian who is my friend maybe put it on hold for me. I'll ask her next time I see her. Yeah, I have a lot to say about this. I'll be backkkkkkkk...Okay, I'm back. Tea at hend. I'd never heard of NOra McInerny before reading this memoir. I kind of think I saw it here in the list on "Goodreads" that says something akin to "you might like this because yo I WILL be back because I have so much to say about this book. I wish I knew how I came to it - was it a "Goodreads" recommendation? I think the librarian who is my friend maybe put it on hold for me. I'll ask her next time I see her. Yeah, I have a lot to say about this. I'll be backkkkkkkk...Okay, I'm back. Tea at hend. I'd never heard of NOra McInerny before reading this memoir. I kind of think I saw it here in the list on "Goodreads" that says something akin to "you might like this because you liked that." However it happened, I had the book.You know how I always am going ON AND ON about right book, right time? Well, it's still probably number one song on my playlist. Right book, right time. Also, it occurred to me that my five stars may have readers feeling a bit "fighgirl who cried wolf" phenomenon. I ponder that. I was going to give this a four but no, five. I finished it in a hotel room while my granddaughter slept in the next bed (dance competition) and it was the wee hours of the morning and I was reading it under the covers (new dimensions to menopausal sweating) so as not to wake her and crying because the writing was very moving to me.Are there a few glitches in this memoir? Oh, sure. Yes. Not many, but a few. But really, if I am reading and crying at 6 AM, writer, you have done your job. Yep. Memoir, it's a brave format. Oh yeah. Is she telling us what to do, how to feel? No. Not at all. She's not. I mean, if it sounds like she is I think it's only because she feels things really strongly and writing is how she makes sense of the world in front of her. She started two non-profits. I looked at them last night. And I'm sure (haters gonna hate) there are people who could piss all over some aspect of that but I think she did it out of a place of love and caring so I'm not reading any negative stuff. I am not reading the one star reviews of this book. No. I like her. Obviously. And even though we are a whole different generation and her experiences are starkly different from my experiences, there is a commonality of respecting the power of language and the huge world-shifting power of love. I agree with. her. I agree with Nora. Yes. Nodding.Disclaimer - I worked for six years in palliative care and I am not a stranger to losing people I love in my life so I think that does make me nod more at this book than maybe someone for whom the thought of losing people you love dearly is an abstract notion. The banana muffins are going to burn, I have to go now. Love up the people you love. Love them up big. See the incredible beauty in the world, even when it breaks your heart.Still kicking,Pam/Fishgirl
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    Nevertheless She Persisted!Life has a way of knocking you to your knees, dusting off, and going another merry go round.How you choose to enter the arena is your choice but the exit may not be what you hoped but in some ways was exactly what you needed.Look nobody enjoys having to say goodbye. Our lives are on a time clock as I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Some wonder if the person who is about to pass knows as in my case with my niece at 12yo when she gave a friend a heart cryi Nevertheless She Persisted!Life has a way of knocking you to your knees, dusting off, and going another merry go round.How you choose to enter the arena is your choice but the exit may not be what you hoped but in some ways was exactly what you needed.Look nobody enjoys having to say goodbye. Our lives are on a time clock as I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Some wonder if the person who is about to pass knows as in my case with my niece at 12yo when she gave a friend a heart crying with tears and a few days later passed away in a car accident.I do wonder but I also know those that pass are with loved ones and so I hope they are comfortable and enjoying the hell out of themselves.Nora is a woman I'd love to meet because she truly has had her share of experiences both good and bad.It's often said we envy those who have more and I honestly envy the love she shared with her spouse before he died. "He spent the last 4 years of his life finding ways to make me smile."Aaron was always considering me -keeping me top of mind.How could you regret this experience, this shared emotion, this LOVE!I could only dream of such a blessing from above.While I have three gorgeous kids I married a man who was a womanizer, multiple affairs, love children given up for adoption hidden from me his wife of 11 yrs.Having been left bankrupt, homeless, and long term unemployed with a med disabled son and three high risk pregnancies and now living in extreme poverty I can't fathom the same experience of Nora.However what I can relate too was the putting yourself back out there and dusting off to try again.Whether or not I'd ever remarry is probably not likely unless he's really special but that's a choice we all can make.I love the idea of her new found feminism and how she mentioned herself as "self sufficient machine"So many feel they need to be in relationships to be somebody.Wrong!I love this book and hope everyone has a chance to read and enjoy the message because it truly is a crazy, messed up, beautiful ride...
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  • Gina
    January 1, 1970
    I just love Nora. I took the long way to work when I downloaded the book and found myself laughing till there were tears, then sitting in my car crying till I was laughing. It took me two days to finish. ❤ I just love Nora. I took the long way to work when I downloaded the book and found myself laughing till there were tears, then sitting in my car crying till I was laughing. It took me two days to finish. ❤️
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a big fan of Nora's podcast (Terrible, Thanks for Asking), a source that helped me confront my own grief after a number of losses in a short period of time. I'll admit that I've always had a hard time accepting that I "enjoy" work like this because in order for it to exist someone has had to suffer deeply, but it's reality that we don't live in a perfect world and life can be difficult and thank god for writers who share their stories with us. This isn't a manual on how to grieve or even wha I'm a big fan of Nora's podcast (Terrible, Thanks for Asking), a source that helped me confront my own grief after a number of losses in a short period of time. I'll admit that I've always had a hard time accepting that I "enjoy" work like this because in order for it to exist someone has had to suffer deeply, but it's reality that we don't live in a perfect world and life can be difficult and thank god for writers who share their stories with us. This isn't a manual on how to grieve or even what to expect when someone you love dies, although it's definitely info you can glean throughout, but more a collection of honest memories and reflections on her life before and after losing her father, a pregnancy, and her husband, Aaron, in a short period of time. This memoir is filled with sorrow, I cried more than I ever have while reading, but Nora's humor also shines. I just really appreciated her honesty with grief and her openness to share this story with the world. I loved that she added bits about all the little things that characterized her relationship with her husband, the things that made them such a great team. It's really something to witness someone's dearest memories and be able to honor that love. Would definitely recommend to any reader.Some of the excerpts that spoke to me:The author's uncle on sorrow: "It simply has to be gone through. When I come to in the morning, before I'm fully awake, I have this vague, weighty sense of unease, as if there is something radically wrong with the world, and I don't quite know what it is. Then I remember."McInerny: "The years will roll on. More joy. More pain. More possibility. More yes. More and. More."
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  • Kelly Hager
    January 1, 1970
    This book is exactly what I needed. It's sad---heartbreakingly so---in parts. But it's also hopeful and warm, and it's so, so funny.Nora is my imaginary best friend, and she's very real in this. There are a lot of emotions (not all of them sad ones although obviously when you lose a baby, your dad and your husband in back to back losses, there are plenty of sad ones) and we feel them all with her. I believe this will be on a lot of Best Of lists this year and it deserves its space on all of them This book is exactly what I needed. It's sad---heartbreakingly so---in parts. But it's also hopeful and warm, and it's so, so funny.Nora is my imaginary best friend, and she's very real in this. There are a lot of emotions (not all of them sad ones although obviously when you lose a baby, your dad and your husband in back to back losses, there are plenty of sad ones) and we feel them all with her. I believe this will be on a lot of Best Of lists this year and it deserves its space on all of them.Highly recommended.
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  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    I love everything Nora has to say. I could listen to her tell her stories of love and loss all day long.
  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    I will read anything Nora McInerny writes. She has a way with humor and honesty, that I dream of. Nora makes me feel like even the worst of the absolute worst happens, you can fall apart, and figure out your own timeline to pick yourself back up. And when you pick yourself back up, to know that you will look totally different.
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  • Cori
    January 1, 1970
    I always hate reviewing a memoir since it feels wrong. I love love love her podcast & I feel like I know her a little from listening to all the episodes. While reading this book it was her voice I could hear reading it. Some of these stories I already knew from her podcast. I love her style & personality. And I don’t know why it bugs me so much but I really want to know what Baby’s name is!! Can’t wait to meet her in a few weeks!!
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  • Jenna
    January 1, 1970
    One of my guilty pleasures is watching the latest season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Rachel Lindsay, one of the former Bachelorettes, always used this line with her guys - and it was about being honest and open with her..."keep it 100." I think that is why I am such a big fan of Nora McInerny - she keeps it 100.It takes a lot of courage and strength to throw your most vulnerable thoughts and feelings out into the world, but that's what she has done with No Happy Endings. Her words are One of my guilty pleasures is watching the latest season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Rachel Lindsay, one of the former Bachelorettes, always used this line with her guys - and it was about being honest and open with her..."keep it 100." I think that is why I am such a big fan of Nora McInerny - she keeps it 100.It takes a lot of courage and strength to throw your most vulnerable thoughts and feelings out into the world, but that's what she has done with No Happy Endings. Her words are beautiful and thoughtful, sometimes funny, sometimes heart-wrenching. One of the most important lessons I took is that feelings are not mutually exclusive. Feeling happy about something does not negate your ability to feel sad about another thing. Loving one person does not erase your ability to give love to others. I feel some sort of connection to the author because we're both from Minnesota and we're both middle children with birthdays right after Christmas and we've both been in or around the Rum River and we both had no idea what feminism really was. I got to hear Nora read a few chapters of her book and if I could, I'd hire her to read me the rest. I am a big fan and this is so much more than a sad story.
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  • Jessica Knutson
    January 1, 1970
    Nora has a way of making you want to shed tears and laugh all in the same breath, and this memoir is no different. I was lucky enough to see Nora during her book reading last week and she's just as charming in person as she writes in her book. We all have hard things, and Nora is phenomenal at making you feel like your own things are okay, and that there's no timeline to any feelings you have, there's no need to conform to social norms, and there's no reason you need to be ashamed of anything yo Nora has a way of making you want to shed tears and laugh all in the same breath, and this memoir is no different. I was lucky enough to see Nora during her book reading last week and she's just as charming in person as she writes in her book. We all have hard things, and Nora is phenomenal at making you feel like your own things are okay, and that there's no timeline to any feelings you have, there's no need to conform to social norms, and there's no reason you need to be ashamed of anything you're feeling. The story of Nora's life is heart wrenching, but she's turned her grief and heartache into something so beautiful.
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  • Anna Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Memoirs are not something I usually but the story was compelling and at times made me laugh
  • Katie Pelton
    January 1, 1970
    This book made a direct, immediate impact on my life. Not because I've had any major losses specifically but I got the message that life is short and you should tell people you love them when you feel it. You should tell them you're glad you found them. She's witty, smart, transparent, vulnerable, all in a very digestible way. I'm sorry she had to experience such loss to share her light so publicly but we're all lucky to see it.
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  • Rebekah Frank
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book because I really enjoy Nora’s podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking. I enjoy her sense of humor and the way she can bring levity and gravity to a situation at the same time which I never thought was possible. There were some chapters that I thought weren’t completely necessary but at the same time someone probably needed to read those words and maybe chapters that spoke to me were not necessary for other people. Anyway, Nora is a voice on grief that we so desperately need and i a I read this book because I really enjoy Nora’s podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking. I enjoy her sense of humor and the way she can bring levity and gravity to a situation at the same time which I never thought was possible. There were some chapters that I thought weren’t completely necessary but at the same time someone probably needed to read those words and maybe chapters that spoke to me were not necessary for other people. Anyway, Nora is a voice on grief that we so desperately need and i am so thankful to her for doing this work of putting such hard experiences into words. I am certain she helps tons of people feel less alone.
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    I am a religious listener of Nora McInerney's podcast. The great insights and compassion she shows her interviewees and the way she tells their complex stories is the podcast's highlight. The low-light (for me - this might not be everyone's experience) is hearing Nora carry on about herself and make her own story 1) somehow part of everyone else's and 2) saccharine and melodramatic. I'm not sure why I thought a whole 7 hours of listening to her talk about herself was a good idea. I'll keep up wi I am a religious listener of Nora McInerney's podcast. The great insights and compassion she shows her interviewees and the way she tells their complex stories is the podcast's highlight. The low-light (for me - this might not be everyone's experience) is hearing Nora carry on about herself and make her own story 1) somehow part of everyone else's and 2) saccharine and melodramatic. I'm not sure why I thought a whole 7 hours of listening to her talk about herself was a good idea. I'll keep up with the podcast because her intelligence and compassion shines when she focuses on others - but it doesn't work for me when it's all about her.
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  • Bethany
    January 1, 1970
    I knew of Nora because we have a mutual friend in common, and her story (and that of her late husband) were local news at the time of his passing. She's a wry and intelligent writer, who's taken up the mantle of being genuine in the face of grief and life after a traumatic experience.This book made me laugh, and want to cry a little, and nod along at many moments. The book meanders its way through the lessons and moments that marked Nora's life since Aaron's passing in delicately shaped chapters I knew of Nora because we have a mutual friend in common, and her story (and that of her late husband) were local news at the time of his passing. She's a wry and intelligent writer, who's taken up the mantle of being genuine in the face of grief and life after a traumatic experience.This book made me laugh, and want to cry a little, and nod along at many moments. The book meanders its way through the lessons and moments that marked Nora's life since Aaron's passing in delicately shaped chapters that read like vignettes.
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  • Michele
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve followed Nora for a long time, and I liked her first book, and I listen to her podcast, so I was probably always going to like this book. But I *loved* this book. Nora’s essays are crisp, and funny, and sad, and honest. And her footnotes are gold. Yes, this book deals in some heavy stuff. Read it still. Hell, read it because it deals in heavy stuff, and as Nora points out, none of us gets out of a full life without it.
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  • Zaynab
    January 1, 1970
    Nora McInerny is a fantastic writer. I was afraid that this book would somehow be less relatable than her first book, but it proved to be worthwhile even for someone who has been fortunate enough not to have experienced much in the way of grief. All the feels with this book. True stories and outlooks like these remind me of all the good that exists in this world.
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    3.5, although I give Nora five stars bc of my huge girl crush. Much like her last book, this reads more like a series of essays or blog posts. have no problem with that, and I love her podcast and Instagram presence but for some reason this style in her book format always leaves me wanting more. Still found it a great read, still love Nora!
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it. Lots of wisdom and humor here.
  • Claire Gibson
    January 1, 1970
    Nora puts words to things I've felt and I love the experience of reading, but feeling like she's talking to me. Way to go Nora. This is awesome.
  • Kate Gillett
    January 1, 1970
    I love this woman and her words. SO DANG GOOD! I laughed out loud and ugly cried. Keep writing, Nora.
  • Sarah Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Broke my audiobook virginity to listen to Nora read this, since I listen to her podcast and her voice is so...calming? Relatable? Of course it was beautifully written (and spoken) with SO MANY HARD TRUTHS. ALL THE TRUTHS. PUT THEM ON A BILLBOARD or maybe just a ted talk. Oh wait..
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  • Emily Q.
    January 1, 1970
    Nora McInerny is a genius.
  • Kricket
    January 1, 1970
    A very extremely enjoyable memoir about very extremely difficult situations. I think that Nora and I have a similar sense of humor because the story about Matthew's chair the night she met him made me cry laughing.
  • Abbey
    January 1, 1970
    when i heard nora mcinerny's story, i knew i needed to hear more. i so appreciate the honesty of multiple (and often opposing) emotions happening simultaneously. i really enjoyed this audiobook!
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