With Mother and Daughter Apart, Emotional Baggage Begins

There are the books that pull you in and haunt you long after you’ve put them down, like Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, and the ones you revisit again and again, like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

Then there are those books for the time-crunched, people who enjoy reading but don’t have an extra hour in their day to read more than a few pages over a cup of coffee or before bed. This is where Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim “claims” its niche.

A successful mother-daughter writing team, Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella are the Gilmore Girls of short stories, having previously co-written Best Friends, Occasional Enemies; My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space; and Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog.

In their fourth non-fiction book together, Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim consists of daily tales from mother and daughter, never more than a few pages per chapter—some simple, some serious, but always entertaining to the reader.

Young adult daughters will be able to identify with Seritella’s need for independence from her mother while living by herself in New York City, yet still remaining close to her, both personally and professionally. Middle-age mothers, meanwhile, empathize with Scottoline—a 55-year-old New York Times Best-Selling Author, twice divorced, caring for her elderly mother and trying to let go (and simultaneously hold onto!) her 25-year-old daughter.

Both women hit just the right notes of intelligence, self-depreciation, and hilarity in this resonating compilation of short stories. Their scenarios range from everything you can think of—and many things you couldn’t dream up— including an apartment robbery, to finding a fawn in the garage, prepping for bunion surgery, and Scottoline taking her 90-year-old mother to an R-rated movie with subtitles.

There’s also a delightful intimacy with these stories. When repeatedly reading about “Thing One” and “Thing Two,” we know we’re not  missing part of a grocery list, but are instead in on the short-hand reference to Scottoline’s two ex-husbands. And Seritella’s run-ins with a New York City flasher become so frequent that, like her, we start believing she really does live in “the smallest big city in the world.”

Amidst these seemingly disparate stories is the overlying importance of family, the guilt and worry that occurs when you’re apart from loved ones, and specifically how distance can affect the bond between mothers and daughters rings throughout. What you learn from them, how it’s used in your daily life, and what lessons pass between generations is key—mostly good, some bad, and ultimately being able to grow into your own person, no matter what age you are in life.

Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim makes a great stocking stuffer for your mother, daughter or best friend who loves to read, but simply doesn’t have the time to finish a book. With each chapter like a mini-book, it’s a leisurely read sure to bring your spirits up while you eagerly anticipate the next anecdote of witty amusements.

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