Book Review – It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too)

If nothing else positive happens from me starting this blogging journey, I came across a blog, “My Husbands Tumor” by Nora Purmort and thoroughly enjoyed what I read from the very start. The blog chronicles Nora’s life with her husband Aaron Joseph Purmort during his battle with brain cancer. Here’s how they met:

2006: Boy meets girl. Girl doesn’t remember this.

– I can relate. At some point or another J (initial for privacy reasons- the woman that I fell for in 2013) and I met in 2007 at I’ve narrowed it down to a greek event (I was not in a fraternity, but a lot of the guys I hung around in my grad years were and she was in a sorority and so was my girlfriend at the time). We were also in the same picture during a design conference in NOLA in 2009 (same picture but hanging with different GA Tech crowds). Neither of us remember meeting.

2008: Boy and girl become Facebook friends. She still doesn’t know who he is, but what the hell, why not accept a digital friendship from a stranger who lives in another time zone?

– J and I became Facebook friends at some point in 2007 but no communication took place for 6 years. We had a handful of mutual friends who all attended GA Tech as well. I randomly saw a post of her arriving back in Atlanta from a recent Chicago trip (I resided in Chicago at the time) and I just so happened to comment on the photo. There was a flirty reply back and forth but it ceased. She returned to Chicago some months later and this time I sent her a message asking her if she was still in Chicago. It didn’t amount to anything as it was really late when our replies were real-time and she was attempting to stay awake through the night to make her AM flight back to ATL.

2009: Boy and girl begin to circle each other on the Internet. Girl moves back to Minnesota.

– random posts led to a few in-depth conversations and the rest…well, I’ll let that be our mystery but the above is what pulled me into the blog by Nora and is directly responsible for me purchasing her book today.

– taken from Nora’s Tumblr (not my image)

Her story is very inspiring as I too have been through quite a bit in such a short span of time. The author, Nora Purmort, lost her husband, a pregnancy, and father within a few weeks of each other. I’m so glad her and husband Aaron were able to conceive prior to her miscarriage and she now has a part of Aaron for life, Ralph (and he is one cool little human, see here).

This is her memoir:



After finishing up her blog today I found myself eagerly excited for the excuse to head up to Barnes & Noble (without question its my favorite retail store) to pick up this book. Do you geek out over books like I do? It’s quite embarrassing. I finished the book in a few hours. I’m guilty of Netflix binges but I do believe this was my very first book binge. If there is such a thing.

I’m not here to make this about me, but I will admit that it was very refreshing to read about someone else who experienced a lot of personal trauma in such a short time period and put it out there for me to read. Everyone’s story deserves to be heard. If you’ve never heard of Nora, I strongly suggest you head over to her blog and check it out.

Shes raw, brutally honest, and vulnerable – all relatable.

The book’s title says it all really and it covers a lot of ground. You’ll grow up with Nora as you read about her childhood and how she once thought she was pregnant at sixteen. It turns out, she was a virgin …but she was convinced that she was somehow pregnant. Because yes, Nora… you can become pregnant without having sex. You’ll read about her family and the relationships with each of them – the relationships with her siblings really made me appreciate my two older sisters a lot more as I reflect back on our childhood and now adulthood (I ordered them both a copy of this book and overnight shipping – who’s the best brother? – not this guy I can assure you). And then…there’s Aaron. Most of us has one person who changes the way we think and impacts our life in ways we never imagined possible. For Nora, it was Aaron. One of my favorite things about the couple was that each night they would ask one another to reveal something about themselves that the other person didn’t know about yet. Nora thought that one day they would run out of things to discover, but once Aaron’s prognosis was fatal, she yearned to know everything, now.

“Tell me something I don’t know about you yet,” he whispers.

You also read about her life post Aaron’s death and all of the grief, uncertainty and horniness that follows. What the fuck do I do now? – she asked herself as Aaron laid lifeless on his deathbed. The best part about the book for me? The raw truth answer to that question that all of us can apply to our daily lives. Life is work, real work …

“Nobody knows what to do when bad things happen…we make it up as we go”

Nora proclaims that she is trying everyday to get better at life. She appears to have everything together but she wants the reader to understand, she doesn’t wake up all together. It’s a work in progress and that’s ok. Life isn’t what you see on the latest Facebook post or Twitter feed. Who’s honest enough to put out what is really happening? Everyone has a social media facade, really…they do. But Nora gives it to her readers like it really is, brutally honest.

The book is quite often hilarious, and Nora does a great job in bringing you in and making you feel her emotions. It’s filled with good fun honest humor, and to no surprise, sadness. I’m sure there are a lot of readers who will want to cry. There are times when a certain sentence made me think about those in my life, and those who have passed. I lost both of my parents by the age of thirty-two.

“People don’t know what to do with me. It’s hard to see someone suffer, so some people don’t see me at all…”

For the most part, I often found myself with moments of real laughter. Something that doesn’t happen so often for me these days. Whether it was Nora talking about the “little bombs of bitchiness folded into perfect squares” – she was referencing passing notes in grade school. Or the post-breakup box of goodies she received from a long-time boyfriend, Graham in which she had to herself pay to retrieve the box from post office jail because he didn’t purchase enough postage. Who knew there was a post office jail where packages go that don’t have enough postage? (Hmmm, maybe that’s where a “Whale you be mine?” Valentine’s card for J ended up that one time in ATL. Good to know – it’s ok world, I got her another one).  Then there’s the email she drafted to a recruiter who extended a job offer to Aaron two month’s after his death – it’s hilarious and Nora, you should definitely still send it.

We are all doing a good job, if you’re reading this…you’re doing a good job. You’re alive.

“The only reason nobody else has told you how good of a job you’re doing is because they’re all so nervous they’re not doing a good job that they can’t even see what a good job you’re doing”

I’m hesitating  to say more about the book because I do not want to ruin it for you. I know I may have put a lot out there, but just read it. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Oh, did I mention she quotes Stepbrothers, sings R. Kelly’s “ignition” with her husband,  and attended an Explosions in the Sky concert – this combination without any of the rest makes her an interesting lady – “cool girl” (just kidding).

P.S. Nora (the author) is the host of an upcoming podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking. Give it a listen (starts in November) if you’re into raw honest truth.

2 thoughts on “Book Review – It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too)

  1. Chris, I came across your site by googling architect and bipolar. I’m an architectur le student and I was recently diagnosed with mood and personality disorder. I struggle a lot since that time wondering how will I ever succeed as an architect. You give me hope. Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ryan, thanks for your response. Unfortunately, I am still going through the same process that you are and trying to make sense of things and make my life work again. I encourage you to do things that bring you comfort. For me, it’s cooking, gardening, music, sketching, and photography. I try to keep my mind occupied because when it’s not occupied, all the hopelessness and sulking takes over and I feel like I start over again. I hope that you have at least one person in your life for support, you need that. Good luck, Ryan.


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