Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light: Essays

Helen Ellis. Doubleday, $23 (192p) ISBN 978-0-385-54615-7
Novelist Ellis (Southern Lady Code) shines in this collection of essays that lovingly underscores the importance of having a circle of close friends. Ellis begins the collection with “Grown Ass Ladies Gone Mild,” an account of a trip to Panama City, Fla., with four of her childhood friends. Though they have been through a lot, when they get together the years fade away: “we see each other like we first saw each other: young.” Charming and frank life lessons ensue: “Are You There, Menopause? It’s Me, Helen” sees her using humor to laugh through the discomforts of hot flashes and weight gain with a group of friends she calls “The Bridge Ladies.” “I Feel Better About My Neck” covers Ellis’s experience getting a neck lift after tagging along as a friend got Botox at what seemed like a back-alley operation, while in “She’s a Character,” she dishes on what it means to be the life of the party. Ellis balances intimacy, humor, and directness: “I was not put on this earth to make strangers take me seriously.” The result is a candid, funny reminder that one need not take life too seriously. Agent: Brettne Bloom, the Book Group. (July)
Reviewed on : 03/16/2021
Release date: 07/13/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-593-08168-6
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-385-54616-4
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-593-41410-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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