Middle age is not for the faint of heart. But as these smart, wry essays make clear it’s also a glorious time of leaving others’ expectations behind.”People Magazine
“Wise and very funny… a tender but not treacly meditation on family and how we spend our time.”Time Magazine
“Van Ogtrop takes a humorous look at middle age in this insightful outing. Written 'for the woman who has perhaps stopped caring about things,' van Ogtrop’s essays are eminently relatable…Nearly every topic is fair game—droopy breasts, losing friends, and trying to keep up with her children as they jump from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram—and van Ogtrop’s tone is casual and welcoming. This thoughtful, quirky mix of meditations hits the spot.” Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Full of hilarious thoughts, anecdotes and insights from that time in life where you can manage to be highly satisfied by life — while simultaneously outraged by everything.”New York Post
“One pearl of wisdom in veteran magazine editor Kristin van Ogtrop’s ultra-relatable memoir, Did I Say That Out Loud?, is our unofficial 2021 motto: 'Let’s just be happy to be here.' She bobs through midlife’s low points—swallowing a mysterious object and getting emergency surgery (check your salads, folks); leaving her job and losing a beloved black Lab—and comes up for air laughing.”Martha Stewart Living
“This truly laugh-out-loud collection of essays from the former editor-in-chief of Real Simple tackles aging, motherhood, her love of dogs, a medical odyssey, the demise of the magazine industry, and more."Zibby Owens, KatieCouric.com
“Did I Say That Out Loud? had me laughing out loud as I devoured these utterly relatable tales of work, family, love, and the sometimes tragic-comic mishaps that seem to happen more frequently as we reach a certain age. Each chapter is like a letter from a great friend—the cool, relatable friend who not only worked for Anna Wintour but also swallows household objects by accident. Kristin Van Ogtrop finds the perfect blend of humor and poignant honesty in this wonderfully original collection of essays.”Ann Leary, author of The Good House
“Mourning the demise of a high-flying career, dear old friends, and her younger body, Kristin van Ogtrop explores the secrets and delights of life at fifty-six with humor and candor—reassuring us that, however distressing it may be, getting older is way better than the alternative.”Ada Calhoun, author of Why We Can't Sleep
“Okay, yeah, maybe the lady-parts party is over, but this book is the funnier, more fun after party, and my old crone-womb breathed a sigh of relief (inaudibly I hope). Kristin van Ogtrop is so brisk and hilarious, so trustworthy and grateful and delightfully done with all the same things I'm done with that I kept saying, out loud, ‘Exactly!' and ‘THANK YOU.’”Catherine Newman, author of How to Be a Person
“Reading Did I Say That Out Loud? is like sitting down with a bottle of wine and your best girlfriends, talking and laughing long into the night. Toenails, insomnia, pets, parenting, careers, Botox, bosses—all the hard won pain and joy of making it to middle age are here. Thankfully, Kristin van Ogtrop holds nothing back. Read this book and give copies to all your friends.”Ann Hood, author of Kitchen Yarns and Comfort
“Like a long-awaited coffee with your smartest, savviest friend, Did I Say That Out Loud? offers comfort, connection, and cackles of the best kind of laughter—the kind that makes you feel not just understood, but seen.”KJ Dell’Antonia, New York Times bestselling author of The Chicken Sisters
"When I saw the tagline of this new book of personal essays—‘midlife indignities and how to survive them’—it rose to the top of my nightstand book pile. I felt comforted, self-forgiving, and highly amused in equal measure.”Carol Brooks, Editorial Director, First For Women
“This book abounds with wisdom and humor, poignancy and warmth. Whether exploring the midlife fall from corporate (or corporeal) grace, the tragic loss of a family dog, or the literal if beloved mess of raising three sons in the suburbs, Kristin van Ogtrop is candid, inspired, and a pure pleasure to read.” Cathi Hanauer, New York Times bestselling author of Gone and The Bitch Is Back
"Full of humor, heart, and humility, Kristin Van Ogtrop’s essays capture the mantra of the first piece in this perfect collection of meditations on middle age: Just happy to be here. I loved this book."Laura Zigman, author of Separation Anxiety
“Smart, funny, and unfailingly honest, Kristin van Ogtrop is the ideal companion for traversing the bumpy roads of midlife. Whether chronicling the rollercoaster of insomnia, the challenge of parenting people who inexplicably consider themselves adults, the experience of walking away from a career no longer worth salvaging, or the disappearance of a beloved dog, Kristin van Ogtrop finds meaning in the mayhem. Did I Say That Out Loud? is not only beautifully written, but is grounded in gratitude, which makes this collection both a comfort and a delight.” Karen Dukess, author of The Last Book Party
The second collection of breezy essays from the former editor-in-chief of Real Simple, who is now a literary agent.
For years, at Real Simple and as a columnist for Time (where many of these essays were previously published), van Ogtrop offered American women practical guidance on how to order their lives, careers, and homes. Like Just Let Me Lie Down, her latest does the same, dispensing advice in chapters with titles like “How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Roomba,” “The Shalom Ambulette, or How To Know If Your Career Is Over,” and “My Own Style of She Shed: More Vodka, Less Gingerbread Trim.” The collection is a mix of personal anecdotes, humor, and self-help bromides, much of which is either glib or strained. For example: “Your friends keep you level and help you remain anchored when you feel like you are slipping….They illuminate the path before you.” The author is at her best when she stops trying to be overly clever and writes in a straightforward, genuine voice. “Rebel Love,” about the loss of a family dog, is particularly moving, as is “Aging Parents and the Long Goodbye,” which the title perfectly describes. If van Ogtrop has the tendency to cast clichés as life lessons, she is also willing to admit that she doesn’t have all the answers. “My father has opinions on everything,” she writes in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” (an overused title if there ever was one). “And yet when I e-mailed to ask him the secret to a long marriage, he never responded. I don’t quite understand why. But I also haven’t pressed him on it. And I don’t understand that either.” The author has her moments, but if she had spent more time honing her craft and admitting to what she doesn’t understand, there would have been a lot more.
A mixed-results platter of humor and life lessons.