Nora McInerny talks life after life in new memoir: "Life never stops dazzling us and destroying us at random"

Nora McInerny

Nora McInerny Promo image

A lot has happened to Nora McInerny since her last book, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too), was released in 2016.

She had a baby, got remarried, started a very successful podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking, and helped others through the nonprofit she started, Still Kickin. But just because a lot of good things have happened in her life, that doesn’t mean she has shut the door on her past.

“It’s easy for people to look at me today and say, ‘That terrible thing that happened is over! Now you’re on to a happier thing!’ But what they don’t realize is that it’s just life after life. It’s rebuilding after life falls apart, and it’s a never-ending process.”

This weekend, she’ll commemorate the continuation of that process with a release party at the Parkway Theater for her sophomore book, No Happy Endings.

While her first book was lauded for its no-holds-barred look into the roller-coaster ride of emotions she experienced in meeting, falling in love with, and, ultimately, losing her husband to cancer, according to McInerny, it was less of a full story and more of a beginning for her.

“I turned in the first book six months after Aaron died,” she recalls. “I didn’t even know enough about how to grieve at that point.”

Soon after, she began dating her now-husband, Matthew, and got pregnant just as the book was being released.

“I was really afraid that people would judge me for that,” she says. “And honestly, some of them did. Then there were other people who looked at it like this happy ending. They’d be like, ‘He’s divorced, you’re widowed, you both have kids—it’s perfect!’ The reality, though, was that for anyone who hadn’t been there, they didn’t understand that it was basically like holding two truths and trying to figure out how to reconcile them. It was trying to hold two things at the same time.”

Reconciling those truths is the story of her new book, which she says is less of a sequel and more of a new story.

“It stands on its own,” she says. “If you read the first book then you’ll know some of the characters, but it’s really a story of its own.”

Next month, McInerny will release another book, Hot Young Widows Club. Unlike No Happy Endings, this one, she says, is more of a survival guide for anyone dealing with grief.

“[Hot Young Widows Club] is all of the stuff people ask me about when they have something terrible happen and they’re trying to find their way through it,” she explains. “It’s more of a how-to book for grief.”

Because having a houseful of kids and writing two books is basically a part-time job, McInerny is also hitting the road for and bringing a live version of her podcast to several stops across the country (and one in Canada), along with book signings and in-store readings along the way.

But this weekend it’s all about the home team. The event at the Parkway, she says, is going to be as much a party as it is a book launch.

“It’s a reading, it’s a party, it’s a Q&A,” she says. “It’s going to be comfortable and it’s going to be fun.”

Each ticket includes a copy of her new book (two days before it gets released to the public), as well as the chance to chat with McInerny, snap a photo, and celebrate what a magnificent and fucked-up thing life can be.

“Life never stops dazzling us and destroying us at random.”


No Happy Endings Launch Party
Parkway Theater
Doors are at 2 p.m.; the event is at 3 p.m.
$35 (includes a copy of the book, while supplies last)
Click here for details