cover image Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives

Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives

Mary Laura Philpott. Atria, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-982160-78-4

Philpott (I Miss You When I Blink) explores life’s pleasures and uncertainties in this wry if meandering collection of essays. She searches for meaning in the noteworthy and the mundane, sleekly juxtaposing lamentations about her herniated discs (an injury caused by “too many years hunched over a laptop”) with deeply affecting reflections on such life-altering experiences as her son’s first seizure. She also humorously investigates her own contradictory nature, as a person who’s both immensely anxious and overly cheerful: “Am I here to tell you we’re all going to die? Yes. Am I here to give you a pep talk along the way? Also yes!” Occasionally, though, she wanders down a winding path of tangential thoughts and unrelated asides; for instance, the surprising news that her dad worked at Raven Rock, a secret underground military bunker, zigzags her to the moment when she learned, after two decades of living with her husband, that he could juggle. While the scattershot narration can distract, Philpott draws readers back in with her philosophical and witty musings—from wondering about her place in the universe to remembering a family dog that would only eat to the music of Kanye West. Rambling tendencies aside, this quirky work has a lot of heart. (Apr.)