Gail Rosenblum, a Star Tribune columnist, is most definitely covering the relationship beat from a powerfully firsthand perspective. In this often funny, often insightful, and always self-reflective collection of 50-some essays, Rosenblum entertainingly examines the roller-coaster ride that is motherhood, daughter-hood, being a wife, neighbor, friend and career journalist. Anyone who’s ever juggled multiple roles will enjoy, and certainly empathize with, Rosenblum’s willingness to cross-examine, forgive and often laugh at herself.

Rosenblum has clearly learned from all her roles, especially motherhood. Her children, she writes, “teach me how to live completely in the moment … and the future is only as far as the next snack.” One of her funniest essays considers the difficulties of finding a decent baby sitter. “Have you tried to get a baby sitter lately? These kids have lives,” she writes, explaining how she had to modify her sales pitch to baby sitters who expect more fun and less work.

There is much joy here, as children reach milestones, families enjoy vacations and Rosenblum helps her kids navigate the minefields of adolescence. But there’s sadness, too. Rosenblum’s abject refusal to sugarcoat her experiences is both unique and valuable. We learn how powerfully the death of Rosenblum’s beloved father weighed on her and her mother, who seriously considered suicide.

Rosenblum also shows how she and her husband often quarreled, grew apart, separated and ultimately became friends again. What Rosenblum intimately reflects upon are the countless ways, both big and small, that we need each other in moments of loss and confusion and pain. It’s all complicated, Rosenblum says, but ultimately we need each other.