Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say

Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say

In "I Don't Know," Corrigan wrestles to make peace with uncertainty, whether it's over expected invitations that never come or a friend's agonizing infertility. In "No," she admires her mother's ability to set boundaries, her liberating willingness to be unpopular. In "Tell Me More," she learns something important about listening from a facialist named Tish. And in "I Was...

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Title:Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say
Author:Kelly Corrigan
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Edition Language:English

Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say Reviews

  • Lucille_3

    Sometimes, there just aren’t enough stars.

  • JanB

    What a beautiful, poignant and moving book. Reading this book is like sitting down with a good friend and chatting over lunch. She’s the friend who can say what's in your heart but expresses it so much better. She conveys these 12 phrases through offering us glimpses into her own life. One minute she's telling you how she went ballistic over a toilet that wasn't flushed (by the way, if you ever find yourself at Kelly's house don't let the dog lick you 😳), and the next minute she's breaking your

    What a beautiful, poignant and moving book. Reading this book is like sitting down with a good friend and chatting over lunch. She’s the friend who can say what's in your heart but expresses it so much better. She conveys these 12 phrases through offering us glimpses into her own life. One minute she's telling you how she went ballistic over a toilet that wasn't flushed (by the way, if you ever find yourself at Kelly's house don't let the dog lick you 😳), and the next minute she's breaking your heart over the deaths of her beloved father and one of her best friends.

    As I read, I nodded in recognition, I laughed, and I cried. I'm not talking about my eyes welling up with tears, I'm talking actual tears running down my face. Kelly Corrigan has such a gift with words, of using just the right ones to convey exactly what she means to say, words that often pierce your heart. She’s funny, relatable and honest. She is self-deprecating, and doesn’t shy away from owning up to her less than desirable qualities, the mistakes she’s made along the way, and what she learned from them. And what a storyteller she is. She doesn't offer up magical solutions, she's learning right along with the rest of us.

    I received an e-galley of this book but will be purchasing a hard copy for myself to keep by my bed and dip into from time to time. It would make an excellent gift for any woman in your life.

    *many thanks to Netgalley, Random House Publishing, and Kelly Corrigan for an e-galley fo this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Victoria

    This was my introduction to Kelly Corrigan, a writer deemed as the ‘poet laureate of the ordinary’ and I can attest to not only her extraordinary writing, but also her ability to tell a good story often moving me from laughter to tears and always landing me squarely in introspection. With genuine heart, humor and an unwavering honesty, she provides us glimpses into her life while she examines t

    This was my introduction to Kelly Corrigan, a writer deemed as the ‘poet laureate of the ordinary’ and I can attest to not only her extraordinary writing, but also her ability to tell a good story often moving me from laughter to tears and always landing me squarely in introspection. With genuine heart, humor and an unwavering honesty, she provides us glimpses into her life while she examines the connections between what we say and how it affects our relationships.

    Starting with

    where she takes us through a morning in the Corrigan household replete with bickering siblings and barely present husband that ends in this reflection…

    To the final essay,

    an ode to domestic life…

    Sandwiched in between these essays are 10 more words and phrases from simply saying yes or no, to tell me more and I was wrong. In the most moving and deeply personal of the essays, Onward, she lays bare the gut-wrenching journey of moving on from the death of a close friend and that of her father. It is the reflections she shares with us that brought about this book and if you read only one, read that one.

    I started this book in May, it had been highly rated and recommended by GR friend JanB and it seemed my kind of ‘advice.’ But as life is wont to do, things got complicated, family emergencies and I was only halfway through my library copy, but the audio version became available and I downloaded it for yet another trip home. As much as I liked reading Corrigan’s essays, it was her voice that brought it all home. This sort of nasally, been there done that quality became endearing and I’ve now read and listened to the audio and I prefer the latter though I did just reread Onwards and welled up again.

    I’m not telling you all of that as some self indulgent foray into navel gazing, what I want to say is that sometimes books pick US and even if it’s not exactly convenient at the time, the book WILL find you. This one certainly hit home for me.

  • Michelle

    A funny, irreverent, and often poignant examination of motherhood, friendship, the grief of losing a parent, and the shock of crashing head first into the body's frailty. Highly recommended for fans of Anne Lamott.

  • Lisa

    I just love the way Kelly Corrigan writes. Her sentences have warmth, humor, truth and feeling. I felt much during this audiobook and even cried a few times. I think Kelly makes me cry during every book she has read to me. Kelly writes of her grief over her fathers death as well as her young friend Liz. Mothers especially will appreciate this book.

  • Esil

    I had never heard of Kelly Corrigan. But I was encouraged to read this book of personal essays when I saw GR friend JanB’s lovely review that described reading Tell Me More as sitting down to talk with a close friend. At the core of the each chapter is Corrigan’s grief over the recent loss of her father and a close friend. But throughout the book there are many anecdotes and lots of relatable self reflections about being a parent, a partner, a daughter, a sibling and a friend. In an understated

    I had never heard of Kelly Corrigan. But I was encouraged to read this book of personal essays when I saw GR friend JanB’s lovely review that described reading Tell Me More as sitting down to talk with a close friend. At the core of the each chapter is Corrigan’s grief over the recent loss of her father and a close friend. But throughout the book there are many anecdotes and lots of relatable self reflections about being a parent, a partner, a daughter, a sibling and a friend. In an understated way, Corrigan dwells on what it means to strive for a good life — or a good enough life. Corrigan doesn’t offer any trite answers, which is precisely what makes her seem very human or like someone you would want as a friend. It’s short but well worth reading. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  • Trish

    The subtitle of this book is “Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say” and her chapter headings are those twelve phrases. Corrigan’s grandmother always reassured her that she was “good enough,” and would be able to withstand the vicissitudes of life because when she failed, she just got right back up again and did something else. That resilience is a quality more important than beauty or intellectual horsepower when it comes to success in life, though nobody believes that when yo

    The subtitle of this book is “Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say” and her chapter headings are those twelve phrases. Corrigan’s grandmother always reassured her that she was “good enough,” and would be able to withstand the vicissitudes of life because when she failed, she just got right back up again and did something else. That resilience is a quality more important than beauty or intellectual horsepower when it comes to success in life, though nobody believes that when you’re young.

    Some of these stories are sad, like when Corrigan loses her dad, and at little later, her best friend Liz. Corrigan can be eloquent when describing how important her best friend was to her, and what a horrifying shock it was to discover she would die. But she leavens her memories with the funny bits…the bits where both their families travelled together with the kids and shared laughs and more.

    She is irreverent about her own accomplishments, a career writing, two daughters and a loving husband, but we can tell how much it means to her to be with them. It’s all she wanted: “Four by Forty,” is how she put it. Well, she did not have four kids because breast cancer intervened, but there were still four of them when she turned forty, two kids and two parents, so she satisfied herself with that. Corrigan volunteers to hold newborns at a local hospital once a week, getting her baby fix while giving relief to the corona of families and staff that surround a baby at risk.

    One thing Corrigan had learned to say was “tell me more,” which works when someone is upset or when they are angry. The very fact of listening draws people out and clarifies their anxieties so that those stressors can be dealt with or dismissed. One doesn’t have to have any special expertise for this listening and yet people often find it most consoling.

    The lesson I liked best was her learning to say ‘No.’

    I learned this lesson early and all my life it has been my super power. Corrigan tells us her mother was a ‘No Pro’ who had no desire to curb another’s activities. “She had her own mind and she used it.” If she didn’t want to go somewhere everyone else wanted to go, she’d wave them off and settle happily to spend her evening alone.

    “It must be possible to say ‘No’ nicely and still be loved,” Corrigan opines. Her mother must have managed it, since Corrigan loves her now. She may not have at the time, however, and we know this because of Corrigan’s earlier book

    in which Corrigan settles into recognition and acceptance of her mother.

    Corrigan has lots of personality—that used to be a way for men to say women are loud—but she actually says stuff rather than just blow air, and she can be really funny. It you listened to her describe using her daughter's round-tipped scissors to cut off a shirt she’d bought on sale but couldn’t manage to take off past her boobs once on, you know what I mean. She may actually be a little bit loud, but she is definitely the one you’d aim for at a party or for a long walk—she’d never be without some observation worth developing into something bigger and deeper. I am nothing like her, but I appreciate that mother nature of hers to the end. I have always admired mothers for their stop-gap practicality and their attention to the things that matter.

    The end of this memoir reads like a long eulogy for Liz, and what her friendship meant. It is the best darn eulogy I have ever heard…in the way it sounds like a wedding toast, it is so full of life an love and gratefulness and remembrance. It would be a wonderful model for someone wishing to find a way to say what is in their hearts for their own friends or relatives. We’ll all have to face it one day and judging from Corrigan’s experience, we are never ready.

    Corrigan reads the audio of this book herself, and it is a good way to enjoy the Penguin Random House production. The book would be good as well because the eulogy passages you may want to read again.

  • Andrea

    All of Kelly Corrigan’s books have been winners.

    Here is another one.

    Read this book alone, just for the chapter “Onward.” What a beautiful tribute to an incredible friend. My heart shattered and then, piece by piece, was put back together. Both better and worse for the wear.

    And the “No” chapter, because who doesn’t need reminding?

    And of course, I fully intend to make my own “Things I Will Always Say Yes To” list, starting with Häagen-Dazs Deep Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream, (naturally.) I fea

    All of Kelly Corrigan’s books have been winners.

    Here is another one.

    Read this book alone, just for the chapter “Onward.” What a beautiful tribute to an incredible friend. My heart shattered and then, piece by piece, was put back together. Both better and worse for the wear.

    And the “No” chapter, because who doesn’t need reminding?

    And of course, I fully intend to make my own “Things I Will Always Say Yes To” list, starting with Häagen-Dazs Deep Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream, (naturally.) I fear my list may be overrun by food.

    But still, this book! Each and every word is important. What’s frustrating is that I know I will forget them, and have to fumble through life with my imperfect choices, learning all these truths for myself.

    “Accepting things as they are is difficult. A lot of people go to war with reality.”

  • Riva Sciuto

    I fell in love with Kelly Corrigan years ago, after I read 'The Middle Place' and it hit me right in the center of my heart. Her words have always spoken to me, particularly as I watched my own mother suffer from breast cancer at the same time I read Corrigan's captivating memoir. In 'Tell Me More,' her deeply empathetic heart flies right off the page. "Empathy was the tonic," she writes. This book demonstrates, yet again, Corrigan's refreshing candor, keen wit, and insightful reflections on wha

    I fell in love with Kelly Corrigan years ago, after I read 'The Middle Place' and it hit me right in the center of my heart. Her words have always spoken to me, particularly as I watched my own mother suffer from breast cancer at the same time I read Corrigan's captivating memoir. In 'Tell Me More,' her deeply empathetic heart flies right off the page. "Empathy was the tonic," she writes. This book demonstrates, yet again, Corrigan's refreshing candor, keen wit, and insightful reflections on what matters most in this life.

    I'll begin by saying this: I'm likely to enjoy just about anything Kelly Corrigan writes, so I preface this review with that bias in mind. I found some of the lessons in this book to be a bit silly (i.e. using the dog eating out of the toilet to exemplify a lesson about accepting responsibility), and I wondered at times if she really had enough substantive material to comprise an entire book. In fact, if you've read her other work, you'll recognize many of the same autobiographical references scattered throughout this book.

    But as the chapters went on, I came to appreciate the book's unique mixture of memoir and self-help advice, the latter told beautifully through Corrigan's life experiences. Centered on the deaths of her father, Greenie, and her friend, Liz, this book pays homage to them in the most beautiful of ways: by sharing the wisdom she discovered in saying goodbye to them. In an effort to advise us all in a far less stereotypical self-help way, she shares with us her failures, her regrets, and the myriad lessons she's learned along the way. In doing so, she achieves what most self-help books fail to do: she actually connects with the reader. Her shortcomings make her relatable and real and human.

    You'll come away from this book with so much heartfelt wisdom -- about how to forgive others and accept what you cannot change and say "no" and admit fault ("maybe being wrong is not the same as being bad") and connect with the suffering ("in most situations, it's not important why someone hurts, only that they do") and say goodbye to the people you love most. In the book's first chapter, 'It's Like This,' Corrigan reminds us of what it is to experience a full life: "This forgetting, this slide into smallness, this irritability and shame, this disorienting grief: it's like this. Minds don't rest; they reel and wander and fixate and roll back and reconsider because it's like this, having a mind. Hearts don't idle; they swell and constrict and break and forgive and behold because it's like this, having a heart. Lives don't last; they thrill and confound and circle and overflow and disappear because it's like this, having a life." In 'I Don't Know,' Corrigan reinforces the idea that we should all embrace uncertainty a little bit more; in fact, it's OK to admit that we don't always have the answers. "Life is a mystery to be lived," she writes. "Live your mystery."

    Some of my favorite lines come from her chapter on love -- on its many forms and its unconditional nature. On love, she writes, "The first time the words pass between two people: electrifying. Ten thousand times later: cause for marvel. The last time: the dream you revisit over and over and over again." In 'Onward,' she writes a letter to Liz, whose death shook Corrigan's entire universe. She ends the letter with these words: "He and the kids are moving onward, not away from you but with you, the way I do with Greenie. You are everywhere they are. I love you through them." And in the final chapter, 'This Is It,' she reminds us all that even if our lives aren't perfect -- even if our days are fraught with stress and hardship and uncertainty and frustration -- we're still here for it. And we're lucky for that. "The kid is singing in the shower," she writes. "Your profoundly ordinary kid is singing in the shower and you get to be here to hear it."

    3.5 stars for a book bursting with heart.

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