Non Fiction

Bookcover: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough (2011)

Pucker Up! (2015)

Pucker Up! The Subversive Woman's Guide to Aging With Wit, Wine, Drama, Humor, Perspective, and the Occasional Good Cry is a cheeky, irreverent, funny, and occasionally poignant guide for women on aging well. The book is lavishly illustrated and lightly organized.

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Bookcover: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough (2011)

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough (2011)

Imagine three generations of women living under one roof ó a grandmother with a shoplifting habit, a recent divorcee who's given up on sex, and a teenager whose marijuana brownies get served a little more widely than she intended. In a starred review, Publisher's Weekly said, "Thereís a rare honesty in Pennebakerís work that allows for both empathy and schadenfreude as the women examine themselves and each other, and their inner lives have a winning warts-and-all air of authenticity. Pennebakerís effort delivers right through to its hopeful but realistic conclusion."

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Bookcover: Both Sides Now (2000)

Both Sides Now (2000)

A loving family struggles to re-create itself so it can survive in "this subtle, absorbing examination of a girl's difficult passage into maturity through the voice of one of the truest narrators in the genre" (Kirkus, pointer review). Mostly told in the voice of 15-year-old Liza, this novel also includes passages written by the mother, which The Horn Book Magazine, in a starred review, called "a remarkable portrait of a woman who, exhausted by the effort of maintaining her cheery facade, can no longer be who her family expects her to be."

Bookcover: Conditions of Love

Conditions of Love (1999)

Sarah Morgan, 14, wrestles with the mysteries of sex, friendship, and her growing -- and disturbing -- knowledge of a beloved father, who died recently. "Characterization is effortless and effective, funny and perceptive, setting Sarah's milieu in a Texan patchwork of big-haired ex-cheerleaders, sex-affirmative Christian psychiatrists, and youthful casualties of bitter divorce," said The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, which honored this book as a Blue Ribbon title.

Bookcover: Don't Think Twice

Don't Think Twice (1996)

Smart-talking, funny and brokenhearted Anne Harper, age 17, grows up and grows wiser as she brings her baby to term in an unwed mothers' home in Texas in 1967. This "masterful first novel" (Kirkus), which the Voice of Youth Advocates called "an absolute winner," was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a BookSense 76 choice, and a finalist in the Texas Institute of Letters' Young Adult category.

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Essays, humor

Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide, and Feeling Blue (2015)

Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now (2015)

Bookcover: A Texas Family Time Capsule

A Texas Family Time Capsule (2002)

Ruth Pennebaker's most recent book, a collection of her best newspaper columns, is what most mental-health experts would call a cry for help from a woman who finds herself trapped in a world teeming with Martha Stewart and Monica Lewinsky, middle-aged centerfolds in Playboy and remote-control fireplaces, holiday newsletters that induce nationwide nausea, abuse of apostrophes, and time-management tips for toddlers. One of the essays from this book, on his and hers versions of pregnancy, was produced by the Dallas Museum of Art's Arts & Letters Live series in February 2003.

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Stork Realities: What No One Ever Tells You About Pregnancy (Libby Wilson, co-author)

(Harper & Row, 1985)
Stork Realities is a pregnancy book with attitude, humor and oddball facts about the gestation period of the human female. Tragically, it is out of print.

Parents: A Toddler's Guide

(Clarkson-Potter, 1986)
Parents is a view of the world of grown-ups, as narrated by a wiseacre two-year-old who goes eyeball-to-kneecap with the well-meaning giants in the house. A humorous classic that is also, tragically, out of print.



"His and Hers," a selection from A Texas Family Time Capsule, was performed at Arts & Letters Live's Texas Bound Series in Dallas in 2003

"Mediation," a short story from a novel in progress, was performed at Arts & Letters Live's Texas Bound Series in Dallas in 2005


Don't Think Twice:

* BookSense 76 choice
* American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults
* Finalist, Texas Institute of Letters, Young Adult Category

Conditions of Love

* Blue Ribbon title for the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
* Teen Book of the Month Club
* Finalist for the Book Publishers of Texas Award for the Best Book for Children and Young People,Texas Institute of Letters

Both Sides Now

* Recommended by Hurricane Voices, website for families dealing with cancer
* Random House Readers Circle selection

A Texas Family Time Capsule

* Finalist, John Bloom Humor Award, Texas Institute of Letters