Nora McInerny is what at least one stranger would call “a tall glass of milk.” She was voted Most Humorous by the Annunciation Catholic School Class of 1998. It was mostly downhill after that, but she did get to spend three glorious years married to Aaron Joseph Purmort (aka Spider-Man), and she also pushed a live human being out of her body once.
Like most women in their 20s, McInerny bounced from boyfriend to boyfriend and job to job. Then one day she met Aaron, a charismatic Art Director in New York City. They were kindred spirits, making mix tapes (and pancakes) into the wee hours of the morning, finishing each other’s sentences. They just knew. When Aaron was diagnosed with a serious form of brain cancer, they didn’t let that hinder their courtship. They got engaged in Aaron’s hospital bed and married right after his first brain surgery. They had a baby when he was on chemo and they shared an amazing summer filled with happiness and laughter. A few months later, Aaron died in her arms in another hospital bed. Aaron’s wildly creative obituary, which they wrote together, touched the world.
In her debut book, It’s Okay to Laugh (Dey Street Books), McInerny shares hysterical, moving, and painfully honest stories about her journey with Aaron. McInerny explores universal themes of love, marriage, work, (single) motherhood, and depression through her refreshingly frank viewpoint. A love letter to life, in all of its messy glory, and what it’s like to still be kickin’, It’s Okay to Laugh is like a long chat with a close friend over a cup of coffee (or chardonnay).
McInerny is a humorist, essayist, and the founder of the Hot Young Widows Club and non-profit organization Still Kickin. She lives in Minneapolis with her son Ralph, but swears every winter that she’s going to move somewhere warm. She is very tall and wishes more people cared about her college GPA (3.9).
Praise for It's Okay to Laugh:
"This story will compel you to both laugh and cry, just as the title promises. May we all bring Nora’s honesty, passion and hope to our lives.”
"An emotional rollercoaster of the highest order...It’s Okay to Laugh is that rare gem of a read, equal parts heartwarming and hysterical, that’ll make you laugh out loud, only to leave you tearing up a few pages later. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
--Lincoln Thompson, Buzzfeed
"This gorgeous and insightful memoir holds up the lens to mortality and leaves us with a reminder to make every moment count and value what is truly precious: time-and laughter."
“It’s Okay to Laugh is...an unapologetic tale of heartbreak and loss that is devoid of platitudes. I found myself laughing through my tears, but that’s the real experience of profound morning, and she nails it. Nora is the Anne Lamott for the emoji generation.”
--Rebecca Soffer, writer, Modern Loss co-founder
"A natural storyteller, Nora’s words will make you laugh and cry all in the same paragraph. She transforms what would be a heart-breaking memoir into a life-affirming anthem."
--David Gallaher, author of The Only Living Boy Series