It. Goes. So. Fast. - Mary Louise Kelly

It. Goes. So. Fast.

By Mary Louise Kelly

  • Release Date: 2023-04-11
  • Genre: Parenting
Score: 4
From 47 Ratings


An Instant New York Times Bestseller

“This voice-driven, relatable, heartfelt and emotional story will make any parent tear up.”
—Good Morning America, “15 Delightful Books Perfect for Spring Reading”

Operating Instructions
meets Glennon Doyle in this new book by famed NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly that is destined to become a classic—about the year before her son goes to college—and the joys, losses and surprises that happen along the way.

The time for do-overs is over.

Ever since she became a parent, Mary Louise Kelly has said “next year.” Next year will be the year she makes it to her son James’s soccer games (which are on weekdays at 4 p.m., right when she is on the air on NPR’s All Things Considered, talking to millions of listeners). Drive carpool for her son Alexander? Not if she wants to do that story about Ukraine and interview the secretary of state. Like millions of parents who wrestle with raising children while pursuing a career, she has never been cavalier about these decisions. The bargain she has always made with herself is this: this time I’ll get on the plane, and next year I’ll find a way to be there for the mom stuff.

Well, James and Alexander are now seventeen and fifteen, and a realization has overtaken Mary Louise: her older son will be leaving soon for college. There used to be years to make good on her promises; now, there are months, weeks, minutes. And with the devastating death of her beloved father, Mary Louise is facing act three of her life head-on.

Mary Louise is coming to grips with the reality every parent faces. Childhood has a definite expiration date. You have only so many years with your kids before they leave your house to build their own lives. It’s what every parent is supposed to want, what they raise their children to do. But it is bittersweet. Mary Louise is also dealing with the realities of having aging parents. This pivotal time brings with it the enormous questions of what you did right and what you did wrong.

This chronicle of her eldest child’s final year at home, of losing her father, as well as other curve balls thrown at her, is not a definitive answer―not for herself and certainly not for any other parent. But her questions, her issues, will resonate with every parent. And, yes, especially with mothers, who are judged more harshly by society and, more important, judge themselves more harshly. What would she do if she had to decide all over again?

Mary Louise’s thoughts as she faces the coming year will speak to anyone who has ever cared about a child or a parent. It. Goes. So. Fast. is honest, funny, poignant, revelatory, and immensely relatable.


  • Fantastic read

    By bookgirl71
    This is a moving memoir that should touch the heart of every working mom out there. Great work stories, too! The person that gave it one star must not understand. I could not put this down. I’ve raised three boys and this book will remain in my heart forever. Please keep writing!
  • Compelling and relatable

    By poohmom
    When I like a story, maybe the style or characters but it has some faults like grammar, I read it quickly. This book slowed me down. Allowed me to savor it. Reflect on the similarities in our lives, and learn things about journalism I never knew. Kelly and I have some things in common - my only son went off to college not too long ago but I am reminded of the feelings when we first dropped him at school and every time he comes home to visit before returning to school. Thank you.
  • I mean…

    By Sara.Mom.Of.2
    I mean…the first chapter is great, it pulls you into the book and seems like an amazing read. I started with a sample, and decided it was worth the purchase. But I feel duped, like that was the author’s plan. After the first chapter. it’s just a rambling brain dump. Like a personal diary, with a full run down of all of the author’s feelings about her 12 minutes of fame. I’ve read a lot of parenting books, and unfortunately this is not one I would recommend.