Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A True (as Told to Me) Story

Knopf. Apr. 2020. 206p. ISBN 9780525654728. $25. MEMOIR
Kalb (Jimmy Kimmel Live!) channels the voice of her recently deceased grandmother Bobby Bell to share the multigenerational story of women in her family. Narrated from Bobby’s perspective, this “representation of a life” begins with Bobby’s mother’s immigration from Russia to America and concludes with Kalb’s writing of the book. Kalb deftly captures her grandmother’s fierce, loving, and particular personality with the aid of saved voicemails, family photos, and stories of the strong-minded women in their family. Bobby explained that she treated Kalb as an equal so that they’d be friends, and the relationship between the two was admirably strong. Especially charming is Bobby’s advice, often unsolicited and always honest, about Kalb’s well-being. As Bobby’s death inevitably arrives, Kalb’s grief is gracefully expressed through imagined conversations and observations.
VERDICT Striking a perfect balance between levity and poignancy, this is a standout debut. Readers looking for memoirs featuring strong family relationships with much love and laughter will be highly satisfied.
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