"Spike Gillespie is beautiful, charming, and funny. She told me to write that. It's also true, especially the funny part. Some of us are just a lot more alive than others, and Spike is one of those people who lives at 90 m.p.h. while experiencing everything that happens to her with an intensity that is either painful or hilarious, but usually both. If you can imagine Anne Lamott as a working-class kid from Jersey with a penchant for losers, you have an idea of Spike. She's a woman grown now and signs of wisdom are setting in, not that many years but a lot of mileage on the woman. As a writer, what she brings to the mountains of baggage in her life is not only humor but incurable honesty. I think of her as a voice of the younger generation, even though she's approaching forty, because she has no protective layer on her nerve endings, no cynicism, no been there/done that, no ability to dismiss anything as too freaking strange to bother with. She experiences it all wide open and then reports back.?Molly Ivins, nationally syndicated political columnist and author of Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?"Spike Gillespie's voice is highly idiosyncratic, extremely charming, and deeply personal. . . . She is such a winning heroine that you root for her, for her son. You want to smooth the way for them a bit through the hardships they endure with such great good humor."?Sarah Bird, author of The Yokota Officers Club, Virgin of the Rodeo, and The Mommy ClubSpike Gillespie tells it like it is. Whether she's writing about men, mothering or money, she cuts to the chase, unabashedly recounting the exhilaration and uncertainty she is forever encountering along the odd path that is her life. Gillespie approaches her subjects with a keen eye for curious details and a readiness to ask hard questions and give honest, even brutal, answers. Her willingness to "put it all down?the painful, the funny, the mundane, the embarrassing" has won legions of readers for her print and online columns.Surrender (But Don't Give Yourself Away) collects forty-six essays, which initially appeared in such publications as the Washington Post, Austin Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, Bust, Gargoyle, and thecommonspace.org. As Gillespie describes them, "There are odes to my good days and bad, to trips I've taken?both real and metaphorical, to holiness found in unexpected places, to men I have not slept with, to learning to live sober. Too, there are miscellaneous ruminations on my alter-ego, my inner-teen, the floor mat in my car, a dead squirrel in the road." Binding these pieces is the thread of hope: there are moments the thread slips out of view only to resurface in some unexpected location. Sometimes it takes awhile, but Gillespie always relocates hope, discovering even in her darkest times that life is full of an embarrassment of riches.