It Takes a Worried Woman


Title Details

Pages: 192

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 10/15/2022

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6308-0

List Price: $19.95


Pub Date: 10/15/2022

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6309-7

List Price: $19.95


Pub Date: 10/15/2022

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6927-3

List Price: $19.95

It Takes a Worried Woman


Vivid, urgent, lyrical essays with a nearly improbable sense of humor

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Debra Monroe has always written about the source of trouble, “that one incident you zero down to and everything bad that happens afterward happens because of it.” The illusion that every problem has a clear-cut cause and discernible solution is apparently her gateway drug. It Takes a Worried Woman explores the outer limits of her faith that all past hardship could have been prevented and all future hardship might still be.

Yet one person’s trouble is often a small eddy in the outflow of history, and this book becomes a meditation on the price of effort exerted against fixed circumstances. Dense with history, lyrical, at times darkly funny, these essays explore sexism, racism, hate speech, violence, Monroe’s grief about dwindling access to the natural world, and her fears as her daughter’s adult life unfolds. Whether depicting the ubiquitous pressure to marry, the search for a shape-shifting familiar old enough to be her mother, or childcare as a game of risk, Monroe takes a measured look at problems that could be solved, problems that may never be, and at all the ways that trouble is big but hope, new strategies, fresh patience, and endurance are eventually big enough.

Debra Monroe sings a worried song with fierce, introspective honesty about sex and love, marriage, parenting, violence, acquaintance rape, hate crimes, the COVID pandemic, and worry itself, its value and its cost. These essays have the qualities that have made me a longtime fan of her fiction—scalpel-sharp prose that is poetic without calling undue attention to itself; vividly drawn scenes and characters; and the kind of intelligence that never loses contact with the heart and deserves to be called wisdom.

—David Jauss, author of Glossolalia: New and Selected Stories

An astonishingly refreshing collection of honest writing. Reading it is like spending time with a friend whose wisdom might be just the thing you need.

—Camille T. Dungy, author of Guidebook to Relative Strangers

If humanity’s defining feature is consciousness, then worry is its sidekick. Debra Monroe’s It Takes a Worried Woman embraces this most human activity and rides with it across worlds: worry can be 'precaution,' generator of 'outlandish solutions.' By turns funny, exhausted, sensual, outraged, always wise. Monroe describes her life as 'like a house you’d built yourself out of odds and ends, creaking and shaking and shuddering at every unexpected gust.' I give Monroe the great compliment of wanting to sit in this house with her, endlessly.

—Susanne Paola Antonetta, author of The Terrible Unlikelihood of Our Being Here

Even deeply injurious events are integrated by the courage and intelligence of this writer.

—Richard Hoffman, author of Half the House and Love & Fury

A collection of essays in the biggest sense—a gathering of pieces in conversation with one another. Monroe is generous, acute, nuanced, a writer with a complicated heart.

—David Ulin, author of Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles

With her characteristic insight and wit, Debra Monroe’s new essay collection tackles the big issues of what it means to be a woman in this time and place, and in the times and places that have brought her here. The combination of a life lived in ways sometimes difficult but always moving toward the better and the insight to be able to map that journey create a narrative arc through these individual pieces of a woman coming into her own. If it is clichéd, it is because it’s also true, that the personal is political, and this collection exemplifies what an examined life can tell us about the larger world.

—Sarah Einstein, author of Mot: A Memoir

While each essay has its own focal point, each also builds on what came before, thus deepening the theme and content from beginning to end. . . .The beauty of the prose, the keen intellect behind the words, and the level of reflection all make this book a true stand-out.

—Sue William Silverman, author of How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences

I have admired Debra Monroe’s voice for a long time—still, these essays are a revelation. That she manages to meld thoughts and images of motherhood, nature, and contemporary politics is impressive; that she does it all with such heart and soul is extraordinary.

—Sara Nelson, best-selling author of So Many Books, So Little Time

It Takes a Worried Woman is wandering and wise, worldly and wry. Read this book wrought from wonder.

—Tomás Q. Morín, author or Machete and Let Me Count the Ways

About the Author/Editor

DEBRA MONROE is the author of The Source of Trouble, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. She is also the author of the short story collection A Wild, Cold State; two novels, Newfangled and Shambles; two memoirs, On the Outskirts of Normal and My Unsentimental Education (both Georgia); and the essay collection It Takes a Worried Woman (Georgia). She is the editor of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction. She lives in Austin, Texas, and teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University.