I can't stand blue cheese but I'm pretty sure if Leslie Jamison wrote a book about it, I would: a. read it, b. love it and c. seriously reconsider my long-standing Gorgonzola bias.

That's a shorthand way of saying that Jamison's essays — three long ones are collected in her new "Splinters" — are so compassionate and insightful that she interests you in topics you may not think you care about and shows you new ways to view topics you already do care about it.

"Splinters" is largely about motherhood, a topic Jamison addresses with her admirable ability to see things from many sides. That's demonstrated when she writes that she finally understands what mothers are saying when they claim to love their babies so much that they could eat them up but she also notes that if she did eat her baby up, she would stop crying and Jamison could get some rest.

Jamison also writes about writing and teaching, which are difficult to separate from being a new mother, as she reveals in a section where she urges students to find fresh perspectives on stories they think they know while she urgently needs to pump breast milk.

"Digging underneath the cocktail-party version of a story was like turning over a smooth stone to get at the moss and dirt below," Jamison writes. "Or perhaps it was like standing next to me at a cocktail party, when I gave you a twenty-minute reply to a perfunctory question."

As that story reveals, Jamison is hilarious, with a dry and usually self-deprecating wit in which the jokes are so graceful and surprising that you may need to read them twice: "Whenever I asked someone I trusted if I should stay in my marriage — and by trusted, I guess I mean had tacos with — it was like stumbling across a mysterious figure in the forest and asking her to point me toward the path."

Yes. The marriage. I loved Jamison's relationship with her daughter but — and this may be my own antipathy to bad boys talking — I was less dazzled by Jamison's writing about her painful relationships with men.

Sometimes, you catch her straining not to inflict her views on us about, for instance, her ex-husband (he is called C, but Googling reveals he's novelist Charles Bock). Honestly, at about the point he spits at her and belittles her eating disorder, it becomes hard to care about the ambiguities of their severed bond. And a subsequent boyfriend is transparently bad news from the jump.

Even Jamison can't interest us in that dude — which, in a way, works in the book's favor by emphasizing the author's messy humanity. Who among us is a completely reliable narrator of our own stories? And who doesn't need someone to share a taco with us and tell us we deserve better?

Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story

By: Leslie Jamison.

Publisher: Little, Brown, 262 pages.