When Helen Ellis and her lifelong friends arrive for a reunion on the Redneck Riviera, they unpack more than their suitcases: stories of husbands and kids; lost parents and lost jobs; powdered onion dip and photographs you have to hold by the edges; dirty jokes and sunscreen with SPF higher than they hair-sprayed their bangs senior year; and a bad mammogram. It’s a diagnosis that scares them, but could never break their bond. Because women pushing fifty won’t be pushed around.
In these twelve gloriously comic and moving essays, Helen Ellis dishes on married middle-age sex, sobs with a theater full of women as a psychic exorcises their sorrows, gets twenty shots of stomach bile to the neck to get rid of her double chin, and gathers up the courage to ask, “Are you there, Menopause? It’s Me, Helen.”
A book that reads like the best cocktail party of your life, Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light is chockablock with fabulous characters: cat-lady plastic surgeons and waterpark Adonises; bridge ladies and poker players; platinum medallion fliers and Garage Sale Swindlers; forty-year-old divorcées; fifty-year-old new moms and still-young octogenarians. Alive with the sensational humor and ferocious love for her friends that won Helen Ellis legions of fans, this book has a raw vulnerability and an emotional generosity that takes this acclaimed author to a whole new level of accomplishment.