Book Review: I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott – 3.5 stars

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott came highly recommended by several friends and, as a short, easy to carry paperback, is a book that I decided to read in paper form while sunning in the backyard and in bed at night before sleep. I definitely don’t regret having read it…as another recovering perfectionist, I definitely found some tidbits that resonated with me. I wasn’t completely knocked-out though…I was expecting more of a ‘hit you in the heart or funny bone’-type of essay collection (think Glennon Doyle) and these essays were a bit more cerebral (and neurotic) than I had imagined.

Nonetheless, Philpott paints a picture of her life growing up that is both charming and anxiety-ridden. She was clearly a little girl that grew up with very high expectations for herself and they show. I’m not sure she’s disabused herself of this tendency as an adult. In full disclosure, I must say that, as someone who also has those tendencies, I may have been uncomfortable because they hit too close to home but engaging in someone else’s anxiety and dissatisfaction in their life isn’t where I like to spend my time. I found the parts of the book where she wasn’t taking herself quite so seriously (see ‘lobsterman’) most enjoyable.

As I mentioned, I read this book in paperback but I think the audiobook may have been interesting. My understanding is that Philpott reads it herself and those audiobooks often appeal to me just because they are so authentic. Perhaps hearin Philpott convey her own story would have made me feel a bit more empathy for her situation.

Overall, if you are looking for a shorter book (288 pages) and/or love essays and/or really want to dig into what perfectionism feels like from the inside…this may be your book! If you’re looking for a ‘laugh out loud’ funny romp or a ‘hit you in the feels’ kind of read, you may want to take a pass.

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