The Wrong Way to Save Your Life: Essays

Megan Stielstra. Harper Perennial, $15.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-242920-9
Stielstra (Once I Was Cool) is an affable narrator in this sensitive and funny, if familiar, collection of personal essays. Perhaps best known for “Channel B,” a selection for the Best American Essays 2013 about struggling with postpartum depression, she returns with a book dedicated to a motley collection of topics, including aging, sex, race, writing, and her hometown of Chicago. Many of her essays focus on her roles as a writer and a mother, examining the joys and rigors of both. The title essay is a tender account of surviving a fire that ravaged Stielstra’s home. She has a flair for nostalgia and for cultural criticism that is never pretentious. Moreover, her take on going from her hapless 20s to her more sophisticated 40s is funny and smart. It is easy to connect with her experiences as she unabashedly relates embarrassing or discomfiting moments, whether it is digging through the trash for her retainer at Wendy’s as a teenager or sleeping with a guy during her 30s “who made me keep my socks on. He was afraid of feet.” This collection breaks no new ground, but it is a pleasant and brisk read. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, DeFiore and Company. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/15/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-5379-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5384-5380-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-269806-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-5381-0
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-242921-6
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