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It's Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  8,538 ratings  ·  866 reviews
Joining the ranks of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Carry On, Warrior, a fierce, hysterically funny memoir that reminds us that comedy equals tragedy plus time.

Twentysomething Nora McInerny bounced from boyfriend to boyfriend and job to job. Then she met Aaron, a charismatic art director and her kindred spirit. They made mix tapes (and pancakes) into the wee hours o
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 24th 2016 by Dey Street Books (first published May 17th 2016)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  8,538 ratings  ·  866 reviews

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megan weisenberger
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful motherfucker of a book that will make you laugh as much as it makes you cry, and will make you want to fiercely hug every single one of your humans to tell them you're so very glad they're in your life.

Ten thousand gold stars to Nora for being vulnerable and open and giving their big love the gloriously-written tribute it deserves.

<3 <3 <3
Julio Ojeda-Zapata
Ralph the Toddler and I crossed paths for the first (and, so far, only) time at a Minneapolis backyard party last summer.

The little dude was impossible to miss: He nonchalantly picked up a garden hose, engaged the trigger, and proceeded to spray the adult attendees for several seconds until someone intervened.

It was awesome.

Now think about an entire book filled with such awesomeness. Such a book exists … by the Mother of Ralph herself, Nora McInerny Purmort.

That book has been much anticipated he
Elizabeth Jackson
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
AUGH, everyone else loved this...I did not. I just wanted her to calm down and tell her story and all the jumping around and grand pronouncements out of nowhere and the glib life lessons inserted at the end of every chapter drove me nuts. I couldn't connect emotionally with it even though I really wanted to. Probably I'm just a robot who is dead inside. ...more
Dec 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
This was an incredibly intimate and vulnerable book so it is hard to write a negative review of it without it seeming like a personal attack on Nora. This one star feels like kicking someone who is already down but I am not going to change my honest review because of potential hurt feelings. Nora admits to reading comment sections about herself and taking them personally. So, Nora, if you are reading this, I'm really sorry that you lost your husband and father and had a miscarriage. Death fuckin ...more
Book Riot Community
I picked up this collection of essays after listening to the first episode of a new podcast from American Public Media, “Terrible, Thanks for Asking.” A couple years ago, McInerny Purmort had a miscarriage, lost her father to cancer, and lost her husband to cancer within just a few months. This book, written after that time, is about grief, family, and survival in the face of really awful life experiences that I found weirdly uplifting and comforting to read during my own season of loss.

— Kim U
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is a deeply felt and not especially well-written memoir. The author deals with the miscarriage of her second child and the death of her husband and father, all within weeks of each other.

While no one would gainsay the words of any person who has survived such crippling tragedies, I was struck by her gallows humor. Her father, on his deathbed, asked her to come closer so he could tell her something, and when she gets near, he tells her she was adopted. Evidently his idea of a great dying jok
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Never gonna be a Nora key chain, I understand completely (someone find a carissa anything i dare you). This novel was hilarious and made my life seem well not like a cake walk but less shitty then it actually is. Her father, dead. Her husband, dead. Her soon to be born child, dead. Now i know i just said this book is hilarious and then said her life is screwed up and everyone important in her life died but they way she writes her story made me love this story. Death, love, friendship and all.
(3.5) “Being an adult is doing everything before you are ready.” Purmort was hit by a triple whammy of loss: within a matter of weeks of miscarrying her second child, both her father and her husband were dead of cancer. She and Aaron knew what they were up against: after a seizure revealed his Stage IV brain cancer, they got engaged on his hospital bed and went through fertility treatment to have their son, Ralphie. All in all they got three years together, after which the Minneapolis-based auth ...more
Gianina Bellamy
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
There is no wrong place to read this book. Unless you’re uncomfortable crying or laughing uncontrollably in public. Then you might want to stay home for this one. The feelings hit early and often, and don't let up until your faith in humanity has been restored.

Nora's writing is honest, hilarious and full of life. You won’t want to put it down, but if you do, it’s only because you don’t want the book to end.
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Imagine losing your husband, father and unborn child all in the span of a year when you are 31 years old. Now imagine writing a book about it not long after and still managing to be funny and open about it all. Nora McInerny Purmort is an unapologetic, sassy woman, who went through hell and still made me snort-laugh while reading. She's got a ton of opinions, not all of which I agree with, but I had a hard time putting this down. I really enjoyed this! ...more
Wendy Bunnell
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I was able to. I wanted to draw inspiration and humor from a local author (we both live in Minnesota), a woman who has been through quite a bit and still maintains a sense of humor. I wanted to feel like the author and I could go have a beer and shoot the breeze some day. Maybe that will happen. Who knows. We both live in the Twin Cities.

But, I didn't connect with the material as much as I had hoped. I'm giving this memoir two stars because according to the
Sara Mutchler
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book on a Tuesday morning, with my coffee. By the time I got halfway through I decided I needed something stronger and so I finished the book on a Friday night, with a glass (or 2) of white wine.

If you don’t know the premise of the book, here it is in a nutshell: Nora experienced the loss of her unborn baby, her father, and her husband, all within weeks of each other. This book reads like a series of essays that jumps around a bit but all fits together perfectly in the end
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have a friend who just had a double mastectomy and when I expressed to her, "My heart hurts for you." Her response back was, "It's okay. I have learned in my life that if we were all to take our problems out and put on the table for all to see, we would gladly keep our own." This book expresses just that idea. Her losses are greater than mine. However, how she felt feels the same. I was glad I read this book. It was good timing for me. She kept it real. And it had a nice balance of funny and s ...more
Lindsi Gish
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In typical Nora fashion, this lovely collection of essays will have you crying with laughter, then of sadness, then of questioning everything, then from sheer gratitude and light. Over and over again. I will read this 100 times over if it keeps me mindful about love and life, and appreciating and accepting each other while we're here. Because none of us, not one, is here for long. ...more
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review was originally posted on lovepersonalive It's Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort is a poignant look at young love tempered by the ever present shadow of death. Nora loses a pregnancy, her father and her husband within a six week time frame. What should be an emotional juggernaut is instead a celebration of love, family and strength. Nora and Aaron marry soon after his diagnosis with a rare form of brain cancer and conceive while he is undergoing chemo. ...more
Amanda Oleson
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book should be on a required reading list for all living humans. It's a beautifully written account of what happens when shit really hits the fan. It will have you laughing on one page, then weeping on the next. Nora's style of writing is utterly human and easy to relate to - it's like you're sitting and having coffee with your best friend, even if you don't know Nora. (If you don't know Nora, consider knowing her. She's amazing.) Her story is one of epic loss and grief, while clearly demon ...more
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
Nora's husband is dx with an inoperable brain tumor and then wile he's on chemo they decide to conceive a child. A blurb says this book is a hysterically funny memoir. I never laughed. I don't if it says more about me or the book. I just kept saying to myself...really? Now?
Note: I received a free review copy of this book and was not compensated for it.
David Gallaher
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too) [REVIEW] I’ve known Nora McInerny Purmort for a long time*. As co-workers, we would pal around the office, hang out by the coffee maker, and occasionally gossip. You know — the shit people typically do when they work in confined spaces together 40 some hours a week. Back then, she was sharp, witty, and goofy-in-all-the-right-ways. [She was also the first person to ever tell me about Facebook] After I quit advertising and long after Nora moved out of New Y ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
I'm actually writing this with 31 minutes and 35 seconds left because I have finally given up that this book will give any insight deeper than a Buzzfeed listicle. I bought this book with the hopeful intention of a sneak peak into a woman's grief that maybe could guide my own impending grief. Instead I got a book about this woman's dating life, her wardrobe choices, a litany of pop culture references and jokes that fell short. I feel like I got to know Ralphie better than I got to know Aaron. I ...more
Ericka Clou
This book is wonderful. It's honest, raw, and hilarious. The next thing I'm going to say is going to sound like it's not that hilarious, but I swear it is. In rapid succession she had a miscarriage, her father died, and her husband died of cancer. Having been through something similar with both of my parents dying of cancer (they were in their early 60s, I was in my 30s), I could relate to a lot of her feelings and appreciate the sometimes dark humor. Obviously, that's still totally different th ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had never heard of Nora McInerny Purmort prior to receiving this advance copy of her memoir to review. For those of you who also aren’t familiar with Nora’s story, she also writes a blog titled My Husband’s Tumor that gained national attention for it’s honest and endearing writing during her husband’s battle with cancer (glioblastoma to be more exact - and terrifying). After her husband passed away, she quit her full-time job and started writing what would become It’s Okay to Laugh: Crying Is ...more
Natasha Niezgoda
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
5 stars all day every day!

YES. My God. I know others have said this in their reviews, but this book is perfectly pertinent to anyone at any stage in life. It’s 100% honest, raw, real, open and vulnerable. It’s charming and harsh, just like life.

Nora is a conversational author. Reading the book feels like sitting on the sofa, drinking wine with your closest girlfriend and just sharing your heart.

I laughed. A lot. Which is odd because the book is about hardship, utter hardship. But Nora is gifte
Lindsay Nixon
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I appreciate Nora's honesty (though I feel this way about all memoirs) and I think for a lot of people reading this memoir can be therapeutic and validating. There were times I felt relief that someone else had the thoughts I did, but there wasn't anything helpful, insightful, or actionable. It's not necessarily entertaining either--I didn't laugh or cry? I hope it was cathartic for her to write it. It may be cathartic for you to read it. I don't know how I'd recommend this or to whom. ...more
Mary Norris
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway
This book is like reminiscing with a good friend over glasses of wine. Nora has weaved stories of unbelievable heartbreak with relatable stories of growing up and finding independence. The result is a book that very elegantly details the harsh balance of the joys and heartbreak of the lived experience.
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ok - I think partially why I loved this book is because of the New York and Minnesota connections. They both just felt like such familiar worlds (and the author and I are of the same generation, like one that understands how hot Casper the ghost is) that I couldn't help but appreciate the detail of it all. ...more
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
It’s funny, raw, and immensely readable. I am certainly looking forward to whatever is next from Purmort. Read my full review here ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved every page with laughter and tears.
Witty, charming and so real.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tricia by: Kathleen
so many tears
Christine (Queen of Books)
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, own
This is a good book. At times it's a bit repetitive - it feels like an editor could have done a better job melding Nora's stand-alone essays into this collection. It's sometimes funny, sometimes entertaining, and sometimes just plain sad.

But I have to give it five stars, because it/Nora has changed me. I am a better friend and daughter when someone's sick or grieving. I now know, truly, that it's better to say something, even if my words might come out clumsily ("You’re thankful for the kind thi
Brooke Buonauro
Apr 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this! Nora is relatable as hell. I laughed and cried.
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