Book Club: It’s Okay to Laugh Review

by Taylor Vidmar

Welcome! My name is Taylor, and I like books. A lot. In this bi-weekly column I’m going to be reviewing the books I read so you can decide if you want to read them too. Some books may be old, some may be new, some may have been sitting on my bookshelf for months, collecting dust as I think “Crap, I really should have read that by now.”

You can add me on Goodreads to find out what I’m reading all year long. Now, on to the review!


Image via Harper Collins.



Title: It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too)

Author: Nora McInerny

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: HarperCollins 2016


For Nora McInerny, 2014 “sucked pretty hard.” She miscarried her second baby, then lost her father and husband to cancer all within weeks of each other (“sucked pretty hard” now seems like an understatement, right?). She gained a following from her blog My Husband’s Tumor and from her husband’s viral obituary. She currently hosts a podcast called Terrible, Thanks for Asking, which is all about embracing our terrible feelings/experiences. All things considered, Nora has become somewhat of a reluctant grief expert.    

In her memoir, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) Nora explores grief and how we move on from the worst things that happen to us. She shares her saddest, most vulnerable moments, all to remind us that these weird feelings we feel are just a part of being human. She is brutally honest about the inevitability of tragedy in our lives because, even if we haven’t yet, we will all experience painful, life-changing grief. But, like Nora, we will be able to move on. She writes, “You won’t do it because you are Superwoman, you’ll do it because it’s your life, and there is nobody who can live it for you.”

This book is not a total bummer, if you’re wondering. As the title suggests, Nora uses humor and tragedy simultaneously, weaving them together along with her immense love for Aaron (her late husband), her father, and her son. This complex blend of emotions is evident in essays like “What to Do When the Person You Love Gets Brain Cancer, which includes this gem: “There aren’t any right words to say or wrong words to say. Except for ‘God has his reasons.’ For the love of Pete, never say that unless you want to get kicked in the throat.”

It’s Okay to Laugh is sad and funny and heartwarming all at once. It’s one of those books you read and just keep thinking, God, she just gets me, you know? I think one of the reasons why I loved it so much is because of how necessary and comforting it is to remind ourselves that we are never alone in our struggles.

So, basically, I recommend this book for any of you out there who have feelings or enjoy hugs and comfort/love. Nora’s writing is the type that immediately pulls you in and makes you want to keep reading for as long as possible. Assuming she would like to write one, I would love to read another book by Nora.

Let me leave you with a nice ‘lil tidbit of wisdom from It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) that may or may not have made be cry a little. “Now I know nobody knows what they are doing in life, and nobody knows what to do when bad things happen, to themselves or to other people. We make it up as we go. […] The only thing I know for sure it that it is okay not to know everything, to try and fail and to sometimes suck at life, as long as you try to get better.” And try we will.


TW’s for It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too): Lots of frank talk about death, including some mention of suicide.


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