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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Thank you for the perfect blend of nostalgia-drenched humor, wit, and heartbreak, Nora.” — Mandy Moore

comedy = tragedy + time/rosé

Twenty-seven-year-old Nora McInerny Purmort bounced from boyfriend to dopey “boyfriend” until she met Aaron—a charismatic art director and comic-book nerd who once made Nora laugh so hard she pulled a muscle. When Aaron was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, they refused to let it limit their love. They got engaged on Aaron’s hospital bed and had a baby boy while he was on chemo. In the period that followed, Nora and Aaron packed fifty years of marriage into the three they got, spending their time on what really matters: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, each other, and Beyoncé. A few months later, Aaron died in Nora’s arms. The obituary they wrote during Aaron’s hospice care revealing his true identity as Spider-Man touched the nation. With It’s Okay to Laugh, Nora puts a young, fresh twist on the subjects of mortality and resilience. What does it actually mean to live your “one wild and precious life” to the fullest? How can a joyful marriage contain more sickness than health? How do you keep going when life kicks you in the junk? In this deeply felt and deeply funny memoir, Nora gives her readers a true gift—permission to struggle, permission to laugh, permission to tell the truth and know that everything will be okay. It’s Okay to Laugh is a love letter to life, in all its messy glory; it reads like a conversation with a close friend, and leaves a trail of glitter in its wake.

This book is for people who have been through some shit.

This is for people who aren’t sure if they’re saying or doing the right thing (you’re not, but nobody is). This is for people who had their life turned upside down and just learned to live that way. For people who have laughed at a funeral or cried in a grocery store. This is for everyone who wondered what exactly they’re supposed to be doing with their one wild and precious life. I don’t actually have the answer, but if you find out, will you text me?

Review

“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.” -- Lena Dunham

“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

“Deeply moving yet refreshingly funny” -- PopSugar

“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.” -- Refinery29

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.” -- Rebecca Soffer, writer, Modern Loss co-founder

“Nora is Anne Lamott for the emoji generation...one of the best books you’ll read this year.” -- MSP Magazine

“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

“It is funny, and it is sad, and it is real, and if you’ve ever been through anything in your life…you are going to love this book.” -- Jennifer Weiner, New York Times Bestselling author of Who Do You Love

From the Back Cover

Terrible, thanks for asking. That’s how it feels to be a widowed mother at age thirty-one. But before Nora McInerny started the Hot Young Widows Club, she bounced from boyfriend to dopey “boyfriend” until she met Aaron—a funny and charismatic art director and comic-book nerd. When Aaron was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, they refused to let it limit their love. They got engaged on Aaron’s hospital bed, had a baby boy while he was on chemo, and packed a lifetime of marriage into three short years. All too soon, Aaron died in Nora’s arms. The obituary they wrote while in hospice touched the nation (and revealed his true Spider-Man identity). With It’s Okay to Laugh, Nora puts a young, fresh twist on the subjects of mortality and resilience. What does it actually mean to live your “one wild and precious life” to the fullest? 

About the Author

Nora McInerny Purmort  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). Her work has appeared on TIME, Cosmopolitan.com, Elle.com, the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Slate, and in the Star Tribune. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her son, Ralph. They really like it there.

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
679 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

carilynp
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
(CRYING IS COOL TOO) is one smart (and funny) lady as she ...
Reviewed in the United States on September 7, 2016
I just read two back-to-back memoirs written by two women who experienced profound loss but managed to write about their experiences with humor and such thoughtfulness at the same time. How do they do it. I cannot even imagine. Clearly, Nora McInerny Purmort, the author of... See more
I just read two back-to-back memoirs written by two women who experienced profound loss but managed to write about their experiences with humor and such thoughtfulness at the same time. How do they do it. I cannot even imagine. Clearly, Nora McInerny Purmort, the author of IT’S OK TO LAUGH: (CRYING IS COOL TOO) is one smart (and funny) lady as she not only shares the intimate details of her husband’s death due to brain cancer, just months after her father passed away, and as if that weren’t enough, she has just suffered a miscarriage. She is young, her marriage was young, she has a loving, supportive family and a baby as well. She copes on some days and not so much on others. She talks about the raw truth about how she winces when friends betray her because they simply can’t deal with illness and others who rally to help.

I learned so much from Purmort. About what it means to do what you need to do. How to treat others in their time of need, as while I have been there, clearly not in her same situation, and now looking back, I am not proud of how I might have handled other’s grief before I truly understood it or experienced it myself. Maybe I was one of those friends who turned away for fear of hospitals or how to handle the dark times. There are things that we hear others say that are so inappropriate and just not comforting. She writes about the things people say in these dark times and when you read them, it is laughable, but if you were on the receiving end, not so much.

Chapter 37 is everything.

This is not a book about death. It is a book filled with love and great humor, keen observations, an openness that is refreshing.  

To Nora, I say I am sorry for that you no longer have your kind father who loved you in the sweetest of ways. I know it hurts big time, that the love of your life was taken from you, there are no words. I am also sorry for the baby that you lost who never got to meet the incredible parents that he/she would have had.
27 people found this helpful
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Steven S.
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Relatable memoir for 20 to 30 year olds
Reviewed in the United States on August 9, 2016
I''m a guy and I fell in love with Nora while reading this book - not in a creepy way - but I fell in love with the real person she is as she navigates her life with such grace, humor, and humility under really disparaging circumstances. I also had the unfortunate experience... See more
I''m a guy and I fell in love with Nora while reading this book - not in a creepy way - but I fell in love with the real person she is as she navigates her life with such grace, humor, and humility under really disparaging circumstances. I also had the unfortunate experience over the past few years to watch my wife battle a difficult illness that ultimately took her life at a young age leaving me with two little boys to raise on my own. Nora''s stories, thoughts, and feelings were all very relatable and helped me to come to terms with the idea that it is okay to laugh and cry a little too. Thanks Nora!
22 people found this helpful
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Dawn
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This is exactly what I needed to read right now.
Reviewed in the United States on March 2, 2018
Nora, I can''t put into words the way I have been feeling since I lost my husband last April, but you... you have the words. You were able to articulate so much of how I have been feeling in this book, I couldn''t put it down. I found myself laughing out loud and crying in... See more
Nora, I can''t put into words the way I have been feeling since I lost my husband last April, but you... you have the words. You were able to articulate so much of how I have been feeling in this book, I couldn''t put it down. I found myself laughing out loud and crying in places I typically try to avoid crying in like my workplace on my lunch break or restaurants in the town where I teach. Thank you for your words and your stories and sharing your grief and your joy. I recommend this to everyone dealing with a loss or even if you have not experienced loss in this way read this to help better understand those who have.
9 people found this helpful
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Kara Nesvig
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Heart & humor
Reviewed in the United States on May 24, 2016
Nora writes with heart, with humor and with her real voice - when you read her book, it feels like she''s in the room chatting with you and telling you about her life. That''s a rare quality in a memoir/essay collection, but Nora''s got it. Her book will make you laugh, cry... See more
Nora writes with heart, with humor and with her real voice - when you read her book, it feels like she''s in the room chatting with you and telling you about her life. That''s a rare quality in a memoir/essay collection, but Nora''s got it. Her book will make you laugh, cry and squirm along with her. It''s a beautiful testament to her past and a hopeful look at her future.
11 people found this helpful
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Ashley Miravalle
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent read
Reviewed in the United States on March 10, 2017
I''ve been following Nora''s journey since finding her Tumblr blog, the very day her husband died. Nora tackles the hardest of hard things with vulnerability, honesty, and humor. She''s an excellent writer. I peeled through the first 100 pages the night it was... See more
I''ve been following Nora''s journey since finding her Tumblr blog, the very day her husband died.

Nora tackles the hardest of hard things with vulnerability, honesty, and humor. She''s an excellent writer. I peeled through the first 100 pages the night it was delivered. I only put it down because I needed to get up for work in the morning.

Even if you''re not personally dealing with a death, the way she writes about grief (or parenting or relationships or surviving decisions you made in your early 20s) can be made applicable to handling other tough things. She makes it OK to be human and to feel things and to tell other people what you need.
4 people found this helpful
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alda
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Heartfelt without being overwhelmingly sad
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2020
I resonated with many of her points, and there were some scenes where my heart was clawed in a tight grip, such as one scene towards the end of the book, where Aaron waits for her to come back from her workout. I wish she had included more such scenes with Aaron and her... See more
I resonated with many of her points, and there were some scenes where my heart was clawed in a tight grip, such as one scene towards the end of the book, where Aaron waits for her to come back from her workout. I wish she had included more such scenes with Aaron and her son. There are, many of them, and many poignant ones, but somehow their potency is lost in the jagged flow of the -- non-chronological -- book. I wish the book had been tightened up, with transitions between the various time frames and topics, instead of being split so harshly into blog-post-like chapters.
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ktsue22
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Cry, laugh, repeat
Reviewed in the United States on September 9, 2019
Wow, this woman is a gifted storyteller. The chapters were just long enough to make a point and easy to pick back up. I cried on page one, but I kept going and I could feel her imperfect resilience rubbing off on me as the book (and her life) marched on. I would HIGHLY... See more
Wow, this woman is a gifted storyteller. The chapters were just long enough to make a point and easy to pick back up. I cried on page one, but I kept going and I could feel her imperfect resilience rubbing off on me as the book (and her life) marched on. I would HIGHLY recommend this to book to anyone with a sense of humor, not just those that find themselves in a state of grief. It teaches you that however you cope with grief is okay. All of it. I can''t wait to read her other two books!
One person found this helpful
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Becca
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
You will cry a lot, but you''ll also shout YES NORA YES!
Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2017
I truly can''t say enough good about this book. Nora is brilliant. I''m hooked on her podcast now and her way of real world storytelling had me highlighting non stop, shouting YES ME TOO at the book, etc. My husband went through a very scary cancer diagnosis this year and... See more
I truly can''t say enough good about this book. Nora is brilliant. I''m hooked on her podcast now and her way of real world storytelling had me highlighting non stop, shouting YES ME TOO at the book, etc. My husband went through a very scary cancer diagnosis this year and hearing a story from another caretaker was a breath of fresh air that I needed. Nora made me feel less alone during the scariest and most isolating experiences of my life this year. Nora is everything I would want to be in a writer. She hits you in the feels and brings a dose of reality to the whole situation.
4 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Sunbeam
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Thank you for understanding what it''s really like!!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 26, 2019
I bought his book a while ago looking for something, anything, grief related that I could, as a younger widow, relate to. Lordy did I ever!! Nora is a normally floored human who loved greatly too. Thank you for giving me something other than the meaningless platitudes that...See more
I bought his book a while ago looking for something, anything, grief related that I could, as a younger widow, relate to. Lordy did I ever!! Nora is a normally floored human who loved greatly too. Thank you for giving me something other than the meaningless platitudes that those who have not loved that way and have that love die long before their time. There are hundreds of things that will make you laugh and cry - quite often on the same page. It''s been a BAD day today and I picked it up again after a few weeks break and read the last third in one go because I''m not up to working today. I don''t doubt for a moment that I will read this infinity raw and beautiful and real book while I need it, then I will pass it on to the next person who will need it. Thank you Nora
5 people found this helpful
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Kristen P
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Well worth a read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 18, 2019
A book that will have you intends and a little further on laughing or smiling. It''s not at all maudlin. Well worth a read
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautifully written
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 9, 2019
Heart breaking story, beautifully written. Nora makes you cry and makes you smile. She makes you want to be her friend and give her a big hug.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Crushing yet amazingly uplifting
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2018
We all go through terrible thing in life and Nora knows that better than most. Through her grief she has written an incredibly inspiring and uplifting book that doesn''t shy away from the hurt.
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Louise Pentony
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Cry and then laugh on the same page.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 10, 2019
I really enjoyed reading Nora’s journey. It will help anyone even if you haven’t experienced grief. It was funny, sad and honest. I would recommend it for something a bit different.
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