At Ploughshares, Once I Was Cool is compared to Louie: “Louis CK is a master at making the loneliness in life seem a little less lonely, and that’s exactly what Megan Stielstra accomplishes in her collection. Like Louie, Stielstra finds the beating heart that hides beneath most moments of quotidian emptiness without sacrificing any bit of the biting reality in growing older, learning how to parent, and weathering the financial hardships of an artist’s life. Louie draws his most elegant and watershed conclusions out of humor and sadness, and Stielstra matches him every step of the way.”

Once I Was Cool was included in The Chicago Tribune’s list of six 2014 notable Chicago books. “Stielstra has a knack for giving voice to the kinds of thoughts and feelings we assume are deeply personal but, we slowly discover, are mostly universal… funny, heartfelt and refreshingly candid, inspiring readers to make peace with their own imperfections.”