Let’s Talk about Hard Things

S. & S. May 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781501190247. $27. SOC SCI
Sale, host of the podcast Death, Sex, and Money, explores how we can talk about difficult situations in order to better connect with family, friends, and coworkers. This debut covers five topics—death, sex, money, family, and identity—which Sale explores via stories from her own life and by interviewing a racially and economically diverse group of people. The book also offers short scripts to help readers approach often-complex issues. When discussing death, she advises, pragmatic conversations should be separated from emotional talks. On sex, she writes, the dialogue can go beyond physical pleasure, to encompass trauma, morality, aging, and disability. She advises that conversations about money should recognize its emotional weight. Years-old issues and the intimacy of family can pose additional challenges; Sale advocates connecting with relatives through family stories. In discussions of identity, people with less power are often burdened with explaining their perspectives, Sale writes, and she emphasizes that privileged individuals should listen carefully in these conversations. Not to be mistaken for a self-help guide, Sale’s book also analyzes the structural and cultural dynamics that impede meaningful conversations.
VERDICT Besides listeners of her podcast, this will appeal to any adult struggling to broach these topics.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing