Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say
By: Kelly Corrigan
Published Jan. 9, 2018
From the Cover
It’s a crazy idea: trying to name the phrases that make love and connection possible. But that’s just what Kelly Corrigan has set out to do here. In her New York Times bestselling memoirs, Corrigan distilled our core relationships to their essences, showcasing a warm, easy storytelling style. Now, in Tell Me More, she’s back with a deeply personal, unfailingly honest, and often hilarious examination of the essential phrases that turn the wheel of life.
In “I Don’t Know,” Corrigan wrestles to make peace with uncertainty, whether it’s over invitations that never came or a friend’s agonizing infertility. In “No,” she admires her mother’s ability to set boundaries and her liberating willingness to be unpopular. In “Tell Me More,” a facialist named Tish teaches her something important about listening. And in “I Was Wrong,” she comes clean about her disastrous role in a family fight—and explains why saying sorry may not be enough. With refreshing candor, a deep well of empathy, and her signature desire to understand “the thing behind the thing,” Corrigan swings between meditations on life with a preoccupied husband and two mercurial teenage daughters to profound observations on love and loss.
With the streetwise, ever-relatable voice that defines Corrigan’s work, Tell Me More is a moving and meaningful take on the power of the right words at the right moment to change everything.
I don’t read many books that are personal essays mostly because I find it difficult trudging my way through a book reading about someone’s life I cannot relate to. As a 20-something-year-old woman, it can be hard connecting to authors with more life experience. I picked up this book anyways. I was skeptical at the beginning (After reading the cover, I read a preview of the book because I still wasn’t sure I would be able to relate to Corrigan. This is something I never do). It took me three paragraphs to realize that I needed this book.
I found myself laughing, crying, and saying “Me, too!” so many times:
“In the time it takes to get the mail, I can slide from sanguine and full of purpose to pissed off and fuming. As for perspective, there’s a Hertz customer serve rep in Des Moines who could release a tape of my recent ‘feedback’ that would make the Internet break.” (3)
“There are three reasons why I’m a poor candidate for high end potions and lotions like the ones Tish was contractually bound to foist on me. I am cheap. I am lazy. I am impatient. This makes me a fan of microwaved dinners, baseball hats, and the Swiffer.” (31)
“It’s so obvious to me now: my father wasn’t asking me to keep a regular visitation schedule with Cleta as if she were my dentist. He was asking me to know her, to enjoy her, not to let her go to waste. That was my mistake. I’m sorry I missed her, Greenie. I was wrong not to know her.” (158)
The book is organized by chapters with each one focusing on one thing she is learning to say. It’s Like This. Tell Me More. I Don’t Know. I Know. No. Yes. I Was Wrong. Good enough. I Love You. No Words At All. Onward. This Is It. I loved every one of them and I was able to take away lessons from each and I have no doubt you will be able to do the same.
I never felt like Corrigan was sitting on her high horse lecturing readers on the lessons that she has perfected and that we have yet to learn. I felt like she brought me along on her journey, inviting me in, and offering her support. This is something that takes a lot of skill, humility, and raw honesty. Many of these stories do not reflect positively on her, however that is exactly what drew me to her. There are parts of myself that connected with her; the parts that I refuse to own up to, the parts that I hide, the parts that need work. In her act of owning up to her imperfections and her lessons learned, she is giving readers permission to do the same.
Hardest Thing I’m Learning to Say No. I think that one is hard for many of us. I like to make people happy and I hate to feel like I’m missing out on things (FOMO is real, y’all). I am slowly realizing that it doesn’t matter if I make others happy if I’m not happy myself. I think Corrigan said it best when she said,”No makes room for Yes, and who doesn’t want more room for that?”