If you’re looking for the next book to make you laugh out loud one minute and weep the next, then Nora McInerny Purmort’s memoir It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) is the perfect fit for you. In 271 pages, Purmort offers advice, anecdotes, and glimpses into her past to help those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or for those who have watched someone grieve and might not have known what to say or do. Purmort does not claim to be an expert on grief, but she does offer her own story of losing her husband, father, and baby within weeks of each other and how she’s working on getting through it.
Nora’s boyfriend Aaron is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer for which there is no cure. In the subsequent weeks and years following his diagnosis, Nora and Aaron decide to get married and have a baby. In the memoir, Nora emphasizes how important it is to live in the moment because we never know what is coming around the corner. She only got three years to be Aaron’s wife but, as she reiterates throughout the memoir, there is nothing she would have changed, not even the petty parts. It is important to remember that we are all imperfect humans who do and say imperfect things, especially in times of great sadness and loss.
Purmort constantly surprises the reader throughout the memoir by cutting through the thick sadness that surrounds the deaths of those she loves with humorous stories and vignettes into her own life. Rather than focusing her memoir on the respective deaths of her father and husband, Purmort instead offers memories and stories of her loved ones as she chooses to remember them in life. She is a gifted storyteller who can make her readers laugh one sentence, cry the next, and then laugh hysterically again in the next paragraph. Purmort manages to make her readers feel like an old friend in the way that she bares her thoughts and feelings, both good and bad.
This memoir is kind of like an unofficial guidebook for dealing with grief or how to approach a situation in which someone else is grieving and not knowing what to say or do. Nora McInerny Purmort is incredibly snarky, sassy, sarcastic, serious, and sad all in one book. Even if you aren’t experiencing the immense grief that comes with the loss of a loved one, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) is a must-read for the fall.