... a smart, thoughtful, sometimes vulnerable, always witty collection of essays. Some are new, some previously published, and together they offer an overview of a very special life so far ... Lippman is aware of and thankful for said specialness, and she acknowledges her good fortune often ... With its 'gleefully honest' hits of humor and willingness to take a close look at some discomfiting truths, it will come as no surprise to Lippman’s fans that My Life as a Villainess is an engaging read—an intrepid investigation of the author’s inner landscape and a raucous, no-holds-barred visit with that friend you admire for her candor, passion and unabashed nostalgia for 1980s fashion.
In first person, Lippman is funny and sharp at her best; she can sling a hell of a one-liner ... At times, however, she’s mundane in her insistence that actually, she’s very troublesome. The book’s title suggests someone who’s living her whole life as a villain; the reality is, Lippman is someone who got in trouble with her daughter’s principal for one lousy tweet. (It involved a revenge fantasy involving aforementioned schoolmates.) The rebellion that Lippman seems to want to convince the reader of is sort of tedious — her writing on menopause, though cheeky, isn’t really risky in the time of writers like Samantha Irby or Patricia Lockwood, women who bare themselves in their books. Some of her writing includes strange pronouncements, like her argument that she and her husband are 'solidly middle-class people no matter what our tax return says.' (Strange for many reasons, including the fact that her husband wrote and created The Wire along with a few other successful television shows, and thus is likely not actually middle-class) ... Regrettably, you leave My Life as a Villainess wanting more of something. More introspection on her role as an 'old' mom, more vulnerability when she talks about her body or her father, more detail, more heart, more heft. It’s not enough to just enjoy the lilt of her writing (though the chapter titled Men Explain ‘The Wire’ to Me made me laugh). Essay writing requires that you be not just a gifted writer — which Lippman is — but that you have a point, a purpose, an insight, or at least a memorable conclusion ... Essay writing is, indeed, the most accessible kind of writing around. But just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
These are personal essays, witty and poignant and thoughtful, about Lippman’s life ... both entertaining and universal ... Lippman is self-deprecatingly funny about motherhood, and age brings with it a confidence that serves her well ... Her confidence also shines.
For all of Lippman’s success as a best-selling novelist and crime writer, she examines her life in pithy personal essays with a strong shot of ruefulness and not a shred of self-congratulation. In her first nonfiction title, she is confiding, sharply funny, and disarmingly candid about both her struggles and her privilege ... She revels in confession and connection, surprise and provocation, and she performs all with panache, wisdom, wit, and courage. Lippman asserts: 'I’m a tough old bird,' and readers will declare: and one helluva true-tale teller.
Mining personal experiences for material, Lippman provides humorous insights into her life as a writer, mother, and wife to acclaimed TV writer and producer David Simon ... Candid and quirky, this book will have special appeal to fans of her crime fiction ... A wryly observed collection from a reliably good writer.
Self-awareness, a knack for observation, and a dose of snark fuel the uneven but occasionally potent debut collection from Edgar Award–winning crime novelist Lippman ... Rightfully asking to be judged on her own terms, not on those of the women she cites as inevitable comparisons for a female essayist—Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Susan Sontag—Lippman contributes an appealingly candid voice to the literary conversation.