“Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to start this book with the line ‘It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times,’” Annabelle Gurwitch says in the middle of a recent phone conversation—she, in L.A.; I, in New York—marked by the writer and actor’s trademark wit.

As Gurwitch writes in You’re Leaving When? Adventures in Downward Mobility, publishing this week to raves, juggling the coronavirus was just the start of a year spent renting a room to strangers, mothering her four-and-a-half-years-sober, non-binary college kid, acting, writing, and hosting a podcast.