Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives

Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives


Among the finest—perhaps THE finest—memoir-in-essays I’ve ever read. This intimate look at family life is like sitting down with a trusted friend to talk about what matters most in life. Philpott’s leaping-off point is her teenage son’s middle-of-the-night medical emergency. She never sees it coming, but later wondered, Should I have known? He stabilized, but nothing is the same after that pivotal moment. In the aftermath, Philpott explores her long-held desire to keep those she loves safe through sheer will or worrying—but if that doesn’t work, what can we do instead? She wrestles through the answers in these pages. Witty and candid, deeply relatable, humorous and heartstopping, with tales of hypothetical disaster balanced with restful interludes featuring Frank the Turtle and the Philpott family dogs. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll text all your friends. For fans of Kelly Corrigan’s The Middle Place, with interesting parallels to Nicki Erlick’s The Measure.

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About the Book

“A beautifully wrought ode to life.” —The Washington Post
“Her new masterwork.” —
The New York Times Book Review

New York Times Editors’ Choice, Most Anticipated by Read With Jenna, BookPage, LitHub, The Millions

From the bestselling author of I Miss You When I Blink comes a poignant and powerful new memoir that tackles the big questions of life, death, and existential fear with humor and hope.

A lifelong worrier, Philpott always kept an eye out for danger, a habit that only intensified when she became a parent. But she looked on the bright side, too, believing that as long as she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe.

Then, in the dark of one quiet, pre-dawn morning, she woke abruptly to a terrible sound—and found her teenage son unconscious on the floor. In the aftermath of a crisis that darkened her signature sunny spirit, she wondered: If this happened, what else could happen? And how do any of us keep going when we can’t know for sure what’s coming next?

Leave it to the writer whose critically acclaimed debut had us “laughing and crying on the same page” (NPR) to illuminate what it means to move through life with a soul made of equal parts anxiety and optimism (and while she’s at it, to ponder the mysteries of backyard turtles and the challenges of spatchcocking a turkey).

Hailed by TheWashington Post as “Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Jean Kerr, and Laurie Colwin all rolled into one,” Philpott returns in her distinctive voice to explore our protective instincts, the ways we continue to grow up long after we’re grown, and the limits—both tragic and hilarious—of the human body and mind.

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