Elinor Lipman has populated her fictional universe with characters so utterly real that we feel like they're old friends. Now she shares an even more intimate world with us - her own - in essays that offer a candid, charming take on modern life. Looking back and forging ahead, she considers the subjects that matter most: childhood and condiments, long marriage and solo living, career and politics. Here you'll find the lighthearted: a celebration of four decades of All My Children, a reflection on being Jewish in heavily Irish-Catholic Lowell on St. Patrick's Day, a hilariously unflinching account of her tiptoe into online dating. But she also tackles the serious and profound in eloquent stories of unexpected widowhood and caring for elderly parents that use her struggles to illuminate ours.