In her plucky new memoir, award-winning journalist Susan Orlins embraces her hang ups and faces life's imperfections with wit and grit.
While her friends smoke marijuana or drink to get high, Orlins becomes intoxicated by therapy visits. Eavesdrop on her confessions as she goes through psychiatrists the same way she goes through boyfriends.
Orlins takes readers on a rocky but riotous journey from her starter marriage during college to her second marriage in 1979, after which she moves to Beijing.
Her years in Beijing and her effort to adopt a baby there provide a fascinating portrait of an era in which "eating bitterness" was a way of life for Chinese people. She worries: Will I locate a child? Will I convince the Communist government to go along with a foreign adoption?
In the chapter "'I May Have Ruined the Marriage, But You're Ruining the Divorce," Orlins explores her separation with wry, wrenching self-awareness. She rebounds with a divorce party and then vibrantly portrays a cast of Mr. Wrongs, like one who--whenever he feels blue--swallows a pinch of his father's ashes.
During a solo bicycle trip in Paris, Orlins tracks down a boyfriend from 42 years earlier. No one could have anticipated the crisis that occurs an hour into their reunion. With her knack for stumbling into drama, it's no wonder she worries.
As Orlins ages, she misses her younger self and pictures paying her a visit. This imaginary encounter changes Orlins forever.
Readers of all ages will relate to this deeply personal story, told with comical sensibility by a quirky, startlingly honest mother, daughter, ex-wife, and dog lover, who--à la Nora Ephron--will feel like a dear friend. Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
"A first-rate personal essayist, Susan Orlins delivers the goods time and again. Underneath her self-mocking voice, her abundant humor, her brio, there is the serious candor of a moralist who worries the problems that won't go away."
-PHILLIP LOPATE, author and editor of The Art of the Personal Essay
"Susan Orlins is America's funniest neurotic since Woody Allen. Just be careful you don't crack a rib reading Confessions of a Worrywart."
-PATRICIA VOLK, author of Stuffed
"Susan Orlins combines the practical with the comical. A multi-tasking mom, she knows how to show and hide her feelings simultaneously. When you have the time (the kids are out of the house and your mom is in a home), read this book! You will identify and laugh."
-SYBIL SAGE, writer for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Growing Pains, Magnum P.I., Northern Exposure
"Toxic chemicals. Tomatoes. Getting the bed by the window in her future nursing home. What's NOT to worry about? Just ask Susan Orlins, America's funniest worrywart-not because you want to wring your hands, but because you want to laugh out loud. Her offbeat take on all challenges, great and small, is a delight."
- DIANE MACEACHERN, Author of Big Green Purse
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About the Author
Orlins has published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Pennsylvania Gazette, and The Washington Post Magazine. For several years, she was a contributing editor at Moment Magazine, where she received a Rockower Award for her profile of sociolinguist Deborah Tannen.
After adopting an infant in China in 1986, Orlins wrote a letter home that appears in Women's Letters: from the Revolutionary War to the Present. Chicken Soup for the Soul published her essay "Marathon Women" in Like Mother, Like Daughter, Our 101 Best Stories.
In addition to her roles of worrywart, writer and mother, Orlins identifies most strongly as a bicycle rider. But don't mistake her for a sleek, zippy cyclist hunched over racing-style handlebars. She is none of that. Rather, she plods along high and upright, arms spread wide, more Mary Poppins than Lance Armstrong.
Worrywarts can be versatile, so Orlins' anxiety casts a wide net. Her blog post "White Girl Worries" addresses her worry that she will appear frivolous and insensitive to those with real worries.
Orlins is the divorced mother of three daughters in their twenties and thirties, who are what she worries about most. She leads a nonfiction workshop for homeless people in Washington, D.C., where she lives with her aging pound hound, Casey, about whom she also worries.
Visit her at susanorlins.com.