... sharply funny essays ... Ellis has clearly found her stride—or, in her case, her strut ... noticeably unbridled and self-assured ... The spirit of Nora Ephron—who wrote about such intimate topics as vaginal deodorants back in 1973 and her sagging neck 30 years later—hovers over this book ... Ellis' prose is filled with so many laugh lines, you might want to go ahead and book the Botox...Some of her best lines catch the tone of Ephron's bold pronouncements ... Ellis is a hoot. She's also a force.
Ellis is a humorist, a writer with a sharp eye for finding the funny in any situation ... Ellis is clearly an entertainer looking for an audience, both in the moment and afterward when writing about those events. She offers the kind of humor where she can joke about butt plugs yet still sound like a classy Southern belle ... If there is anything that defines Ellis’s writing, it is a keen ability to add levity to serious topics. We also see what a model of good friendship looks like ... Ellis writes bluntly about these women in her life. It isn’t just mastectomies, but their sex lives and pursuit of botox as well ... those secrets are exactly what make Ellis’s essay collection fun. She doesn’t hold back ... The charm of Ellis’ essays is her willingness to debase herself ... There also is a wholesome quality to Ellis, even when she is casually gossiping about her friends’ fetishes. The dissonance between the earnest, Southern charm and the occasional potty humor creates tension, and when Ellis cuts the tension, we as readers end up laughing. Ellis isn’t ever mean or cruel, and that distinguishes her from so many humor writers who laugh at others’ expense ... what emerges feels real and genuine.
Imagine your funniest friend—the one who can take make you laugh with little more than a sideways glance. The one who can make light of even the direst of situations. Now imagine that friend sitting you down and regaling you with 12 of her trademark wonderful stories. That’s pretty much what it’s like to read Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light ... Conversational, witty and often poignant, the collection is one you’ll blow through while ear-marking pages to send to your group chat with your friends ... Above all else, Ellis is an absolute joy to read.