cover image I Can’t Complain: (All Too) Personal Essays

I Can’t Complain: (All Too) Personal Essays

Elinor Lipman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $20 (176p) ISBN 978-0-547-57620-6

In charming and often self-deprecating fashion, novelist Lipman (The View from Penthouse B) has penned an engaging and moving series of essays about her life—some previously published in the Boston Globe (“Boy Meets Girl,” “I Want to Know”), others in Good Housekeeping (“Good Grudgekeeping”) and the New York Times (“Confessions of a Blurb Slut”). The most touching is Lipman’s tribute to her late husband, Bob Austin, in “This Is for You,” and the loving treatment of her son, Benjamin, in the same essay, lauding him for his help during his father’s last days. (Earlier in the collection, the laugh-filled “Sex Ed” provides a hysterical look at the author and her doctor husband trying to explain the reproductive process to their fifth-grader son.) “No Outline? Is That Any Way to Write a Novel?” offers a fascinating glimpse into Lipman’s creative process. Whether or not one is a Lipman fan before reading this collection, he or she most certainly will be by the time the final page is turned. (Apr.)