My Life as a Villainess: Essays

Morrow. May 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780063007154. $27.99. LIT
Beloved crime fiction writer and avid tweetmeister Lippman makes an unconvincing case for her villainy in this collection. The essays, some new, some previously published, are overall a delight. She opens strong with “The Whole 60,” in which she revels in her power and glory as she hits a milestone birthday. Following pieces meander through her life and times: her first career, as a journalist in Texas and in her hometown of Baltimore; an unsuccessful first marriage; a second successful marriage and motherhood at fiftysomething; ruminations on family and friends; her tendency to let down friends (readers may not be wholly convinced that she is “a shitty friend”); that time she was called in to the principal’s office for subtweeting about mean girls who made her daughter miserable. In the final piece, “Men Explain The Wire to Me,” Lippman deftly skewers the male fans of her husband David Simon’s revered Baltimore-based TV show. A piece about how she helped Simon make friends with the late TV personality/chef Anthony Bourdain is moving and humorous as well.
VERDICT Fans of Lippman’s novels (The Lady in the Lake) and her Twitter followers will gobble up this short collection and beg for more nonfiction from this gifted storyteller. [See Prepub Alert, 11/11/19.]
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