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Terrible Things Seem Beautiful In Schmich's Latest Book

By Jaclyn Bauer in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 25, 2014 9:20PM

2014_07_24_schmich.jpg Mary Schmich, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune, recently published a collection of some of her most intriguing and rousing pieces: Even the Terrible Things Seem Beautiful Now. The 415-page collection of newspaper articles spans the course of over a decade of Schmich’s writing career with the Tribune and is organized thematically rather than sequentially.

The book is divided into 13 sections, each relating to a different topic, allowing the reader to zip across the field of time in order to see how the subjects Schmich often wrote about connect through the years. From columns about her mother, to personal advice, to musings on authors and writing, each section reads like a novel unto itself.

Relatable, polemical and often burgeoning with the persistent reminder that life could always be a little bit worse, Schmich’s work is animated by what is tangible and true. Capturing the lives of families from Cabrini Green in the wake of the neighborhood’s destruction, or following in the shadow of Joan Lefkow in the aftermath of her husband’s and mother’s murders, Schmich has the inimitable ability to remove herself from a scene in such a way that the reader feels transposed in her stead.

Though not all of her pieces are as heavy as those described above, they are all dripping with the succulence of a story perfectly ripe for telling. Some are lighthearted, some are thought provoking and some are just plain funny, but each of her pieces is a beautifully composed chronicle of humanity.