Over the last two decades, Mary Schmich’s bi-weekly column in the Chicago Tribune has offered advice, humor, and discerning commentary on a broad array of topics including family, milestones, mental illness, writing, and life in Chicago. Schmich won the 2012 Pulitzer for Commentary for her down-to-earth columns that reflect the character and capture the culture of her famed city.”
This collection brings together her ten Pulitzer-winning columns along with 154 others, creating a compelling collection that reflects Schmich’s thoughtful and insightful sensibility. The book is divided into 13 sections, with topics focused on loss and survival, relationships, Chicago, travel, holidays, reading and writing, and more. Schmich’s 1997 Wear Sunscreen” column (which has had a life of its own as a falsely attributed Kurt Vonnegut commencement speech) is included, as well as her columns focusing on the demolition of Chicago’s infamous Cabrini-Green housing project. One of the most moving sections is her twelve-part series with U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, as the latter reflected on rebuilding her life after the horrific murders of her mother and husband.
Schmich’s columns are both universal and deeply personal. The first section of The Best of Mary Schmich is dedicated to columns about her mother, and her stories of coping with her mother’s aging and eventual death. Throughout the book, Schmich reflects wisely and wryly on the world we live in, and her fond observances of Chicago life bring the city in all its varied character to warm, vivid life.