Book Review: I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

I Miss You When I Blink: Dispatches from a Relatively Ordinary Life…

About the Book:

Spot-on observations about domestic, professional, and creative life, taking on the conflicting pressures of modern womanhood with humour and thoughtful contemplation, from an author who is connected to highly influential writers like Elizabeth Gilbert and Ann Patchett.

In this memoir-in-essays full of spot-on observations about home, work, and creative life, Philpott takes on the conflicting pressures of modern womanhood with wit and heart. She offers up her own stories to show that identity crises don’t happen just once or only at midlife; reassures us that small, recurring personal re-inventions are both normal and necessary; and advises that if you’re going to faint, you should get low to the ground first. Most of all, Philpott shows that when you stop feeling satisfied with your life, you don’t have to burn it all down and set off on a transcontinental hike (unless you want to, of course). You can call upon your many selves to figure out who you are, who you’re not, and where you belong. Who among us isn’t trying to do that?

My Thoughts:

‘I miss you when I blink. I have felt it so many times in my life, at points where I didn’t really know who I was anymore, where I felt that when I closed my eyes, I could feel myself gone.’

I did not anticipate enjoying and being able to relate to this book quite as much as I did. A collection of memoir-in-essays, I Miss You When I Blink broke through my ‘I don’t like memoirs barrier’, but this is predominately on account of the essay style in which the book is written, and the subject matter that it’s focused on – so don’t go getting all excited, thinking I’m now a memoir fan. Just of this one! I loved Laura’s style, her wit and honesty, the way she tells a story with such inflection you can almost hear her voice and laughter, bubbling up off the page. I felt like she was a person I had so much in common with, and she made me think of things, about my own life, that are long overdue. I highly recommend this book to all women, particularly to those who may feel like they are running all over the place, chasing themselves into a corner they feel they can’t get out of. I’ll let this book speak for itself in terms of how excellent it is, by leaving you with some passages that really resonated with me.

‘I don’t want people to feel I’m judging them. I don’t want to be perceived as hostile, although I know that I sometimes am. But I’m not hostile like a crazy person punching strangers on a subway platform. I’m just hostile like a crazy person who wants to gouge her eyes out when she sees grammatical errors on billboards. LOWEST PRICE’S – I can hardly stand it.’
‘I often thought, shit, what right do I have to feel this way? It’s so stupid. I told myself to get over it, because people were depending on me. So I decided to keep going and doing the things I signed up to do, because it’s wasteful and self-indulgent to feel bad when so much is really quite good. It’s ungrateful, and I was not going to be ungrateful.’
‘I was distracted by more than the frenetic schedules of our household. All the other people I’d been and not been in my life were beginning to fight for their share of my brain space and their chance at a breath of real-life air, too. There were far more than three people crowded into my head. I felt like a human traffic jam.’
‘I used to think that if only I could make everything perfect, then I could relax and have fun. If I could just eliminate all mistakes, my life would settle into place – click! – and my mind would rest. If I’m being truthful, I have to acknowledge that on some unchangeable, deep-down level, there’s still a part of me that thinks that.’
‘But if you’re going to take just one thing from this story, let it be something much more important:
You can always start over.’


Thanks is extended to Murdoch Books for providing me with a copy of I Miss You When I Blink for review.

About the Author:

Mary Laura Philpott’s writing has been featured in print or online by New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s, Paris Review and other publications. She’s the founding editor of Musing, the online magazine of Parnassus Books, as well as an Emmy-winning co-host of the literary show A Word on Words on Nashville Public Television. She lives in Nashville with her family.

I Miss You When I Blink
Published by Murdoch Books
Released on 15th April 2019

8 thoughts on “Book Review: I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

  1. Awesome! I’m so glad you found a version of memoir that worked for you 🙂 That last extract you posted, WOW – hit me like a brick! And it’s another one with truly gorgeous cover art. I feel like 2019 has been a great year for book design! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love memoirs! Reading about other people’s lives is absolutely fascinating. I’m listening to Working Class Man by Jimmy Barnes and read by the man himself and wow, he’s just so brutally honest. I had no idea of his life. I love reading memoirs about ordinary everyday people as well.
    I must pick up this book ‘I Miss You When I Blink.’ I’ll see if my local library has it.

    Liked by 1 person

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