... a cornucopia of treats. Witty and warm, the essays succeed because of Patchett’s inimitable, endearing voice. Sincere but never simplistic, generous without being cloying, and accessible rather than anodyne, These Precious Days feels at once bracing and comforting ... Aspiring and experienced writers alike will find many nuggets of wisdom, helpful advice, and fascinating backstage stories here ... She brings us inside her admittedly charmed life and makes it feel, almost, normal. She also uncovers the alignments between her creative work and her real life and the crucial role of surprise in both ... It is her somber awareness of life’s precariousness and her ardent appreciation of its preciousness that makes Patchett an at once sobering and authentically uplifting writer. She looks unflinchingly at the things that thwart or cripple us, she resists easy explanations, she insists on the randomness of much 'good fortune' ... She punctures feel-good bromides with both brisk efficiency and moral passion.
... excellent ... Patchett has a talent for friendship and celebrates many of those friends here. She writes with pure love for her mother, and with humor and some good-natured exasperation at Karl, who is such a great character he warrants a book of his own. Patchett’s account of his feigned offer to buy a woman’s newly adopted baby when she expresses unwarranted doubts is priceless ... The days that Patchett refers to are precious indeed, but her writing is anything but. She describes deftly, with a line or a look, and I considered the absence of paragraphs freighted with adjectives to be a mercy. I don’t care about the hue of the sky or the shade of the couch. That’s not writing; it’s decorating. Or hiding. Patchett’s heart, smarts and 40 years of craft create an economy that delivers her perfectly understated stories emotionally whole. Her writing style is most gloriously her own.
Read as a whole, it’s clear that Patchett is at her best when given the opportunity to write beyond the maximum word count dictated by most newspapers and magazines ... Patchett’s prose is as welcoming and comforting as the chickpea stew Sooki cooks for her ... Part of what’s refreshing in reading Patchett’s nonfiction is having a window into her discipline as a writer and her deep understanding of herself ... Whether she turns her gaze to her three fathers, her beautiful mother, her husband’s delight in piloting a plane, or her friendships, there’s a generosity in the way she not only looks at the world but invites the reader in to stay for a while.