I've Tried Being Nice: Essays (Hardcover)

I've Tried Being Nice: Essays By Ann Leary Cover Image
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June 2024 Indie Next List

“Snarky, honest, and thoughtful — maybe Ann should be the more famous spouse! This brilliant collection will have you smiling, wiping away a tear, and staring into the distance. A wonderful jaunt with an author you should get to know better!”
— Hilary Kotecki, The Doylestown & Lahaska Bookshops, Doylestown, PA


New York Times bestselling author Ann Leary offers a literary feast of humor and wisdom told from the perspective of a recovering people pleaser.

Having arrived at a certain age (her prime), Ann Leary casts a wry backward glance at a life spent trying—and often failing—to be nice. With wit and surprising candor, Leary recounts the bedlam of home bat invasions, an obsession with online personality tests, and the mortification of taking ballroom dance lessons with her actor husband. She describes hilarious red-carpet fiascos and other observations from the sidelines of fame, while also touching upon her more poignant struggles with alcoholism, her love for her family, her dogs, and so much more.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe and revel in the comically relatable chaos of Ann Leary’s life as revealed in this delightful collection of essays.

About the Author

Ann Leary is the New York Times bestselling author of a memoir and four novels including The Good House. Her work has been translated into eighteen languages, and she has written for The New York Times, Ploughshares, NPR, Redbook, and Real Simple, among other publications. Her essay, “Rallying to Keep the Game Alive,” was adapted for Prime Video’s television series, Modern Love. Her novel The Good House was adapted as a motion picture starring Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline. She lives with her husband in New York. Visit her online at AnnLeary.com.

Praise For…

“A collection of sardonic, touching essays [that] form a composite portrait of a likeable, self-aware, and complicated human being and writer.” —Booklist

“In funny and unpretentious essays on topics that include selling a beloved house, interacting with fans of her famous husband, Denis, becoming an empty nester and recovering from alcoholism, Leary shares stories from a lifetime of wanting to be liked.”

The Washington Post, "10 Noteworthy Books for June"

"Everyday struggles, from marital discord to feuds with neighbors, provide rich material for novelist Leary’s thoughtful, humorous, and brutally honest essays. As relatable and refreshing as a good talk with your wisest friend."

The Boston Globe, "75 Books We're Most Excited to Read This Summer"

"In this zany, relatable essay collection, Ann Leary explores her recent midlife epiphany: She had spent most of her life bending over backward to please others. With humor and expert storytelling, Leary looks back on her younger years to recount awkward run-ins with fans of her famous husband, recovering from alcoholism, and that time a bat (yes) latched onto her pajama pants. Her self-portrait is equal parts light-hearted and moving—an ode to agreeable personality types everywhere.” —Oprah Daily

“[A] winning essay collection…The humor lands and the lithe prose elevates Leary’s musings on life’s mundanities. This is a gem.” Publisher's Weekly (starred)

“[Leary’s] candid essays invite readers to laugh and cry along with her… She fluidly guides us through her thought processes, while finding humor and displaying a refreshing vulnerability. A humorous and honest tale of a woman and her struggle as a people-pleaser.” —Kirkus

"Ann Leary is a damn delight. Reading this book was like curling up on the couch with an honest, hilarious, sane friend. Not too sane, though - just the perfect amount. Leary’s stories made me feel absolutely desperate to get out of my forties and into my fifties. I tried being nice, too, Ann. Thanks for being honest instead. Read this book!"

—Glennon Doyle, author of #1 New York Times Bestseller Untamed, Founder of Together Rising

Product Details
ISBN: 9781982120344
ISBN-10: 1982120347
Publisher: S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English