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

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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.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published January 9, 2018

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About the author

Kelly Corrigan

19 books1,407 followers
Kelly Corrigan is a New York Times bestselling author whose writing has appeared in O Magazine, Glamour and Good Housekeeping. Her newspaper columns for the Bay Area News Group cover everyday matters from the power of an unequivocal apology to the contagious nature of weight gain, extramarital affairs and going green."

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5 stars
8,169 (42%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,545 reviews
Profile Image for JanB .
1,146 reviews2,530 followers
February 23, 2021
What a beautiful, poignant and moving book. Reading this 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.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews24 followers
August 27, 2018
I cried. I laughed. I met you years ago - you wouldn’t remember- but I do.

While listening to you read your book- I felt drained of speech -( what else is there to say)..... other than you filled my heart profoundly with laughter, sadness, and love.
At times I hated that I loved your book as much as I did...
‘It hurt’.. but somehow I’m guessing you might say,
“I know”.

Thank you! Sincerely....thank you!
F#ck a review... I just want to say THANK YOU ...and probably could never say it enough! Thank you for sharing your dad, Liz, your family, yourself, your humanity!!!!

An Audiobook listener that is deeply moved!!!

Profile Image for Esil.
1,118 reviews1,339 followers
January 28, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,743 reviews2,271 followers
July 23, 2018
” Hold me now
It's hard for me to say I'm sorry
I just want you to know
Hold me now
I really want to tell you I'm sorry
I could never let you go

“After all that we've been through
I will make it up to you
I promise to
And after all that's been said and done
You're just the part of me I can't let go”

-- Hard to Say I’m Sorry,Chicago, Songwriters: David Foster / Peter Cetera

Twelve essays based on twelve phrases that we use to connect with others, to share our thoughts and feelings, to recognize the thoughts and feelings of others.

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 haven’t read anything by Kelly Corrigan before, I’d forgotten I’d even seen her name before reading about this book, but this was a book that a few of my Goodreads friends had rated highly and had written reviews that spoke to me. And so I checked my library, got on the waiting list figuring it would be months before I ever had an opportunity to read this, and then yesterday saw that this and another book I’d added to my “wait” list were available for me.

I began reading Tell Me More this morning, and was completely pulled into this reflection on life, on personal, emotional pain, on love, and on the things we say to those we love, in anger, or out of our own pain.

In the beginning essay, ”It’s Like This”, Corrigan relays what started out as an average day (before anyone was awake, anyway), a morning sixty-eights days after the death of her father, with two daughters in the midst of puberty, fighting over a tee-shirt. A little thing that turns into a much bigger event.

”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.

These felt so real, these feelings she shared, it was so easy to slip into her thoughts, her life and even though her personal battles may not be the same as mine, her sharing these honest and personal stories of her life made this feel more like a series of personal talks, or perhaps even letters or emails from a close, personal friend than from a woman I’ve never met.

“I Love You” had me reaching for tissues, but it was “Onward” that took my breath away. Still, there isn’t one of these that I would recommend anyone skip over, they are all worth reading, and each is heartfelt and personal, and also feels very real.

Many thanks to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book!

Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews319 followers
July 1, 2018
Reality always comes dressed in a point of view, try as we might to lay it bare. From the Author’s Note

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

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.

To the final essay, This Is It, an ode to domestic life…

The abstract performance art called Family Life is our one run at the ultimate improv. Our chance to be great for someone, to give another person enough of what they need to be happy. Ours to overlook or lost track of our bemoan, ours to recommit to, to apologize for, to try again for. Ours to watch disappear into their next self--toddler, to tyke, tween to teen--ours to drop off somewhere and miss forever.

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.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,352 reviews2,414 followers
February 11, 2018
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.’
“Sexually, professionally, personally…saying ‘No’ takes balls. One friend told me her one big take away from three years and $11,000 of therapy was ‘Learn to say no and when you do, don’t complain and don’t explain. Every excuse you make is like an invitation to ask you again in a different way.’”
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 Glitter and Glue in which Corrigan settles into recognition and acceptance of her mother.
“Very few people I’ve known are able to set themselves free the way my mother has, liberated by the simple act of saying “no,” which I submit is impressive for any woman and downright radical for one raised in the “nice and easy” generation. My Mom had always been able to find outs where others could not. Looking back I think it came down to her impressive willingness to be disliked and her utterly unromantic position that people should take serious--if not total--responsibility for their own happiness.”
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.
Profile Image for Cindy.
244 reviews
February 9, 2018
Other reviewers have described this book as being like a conversation with a friend. Yes!!! But it's that friend who dominates the conversations and jumps from topic to topic, none of which are interesting to you. At all. After reading almost half the book, I just couldn't waste any more time. And I am completely bewildered by all the 5-star reviews.
Profile Image for Andrea.
712 reviews107 followers
September 5, 2020
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.”
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,469 reviews565 followers
October 9, 2018
Corrigan writes wisely with humor about meaningful subjects - her family, marriage, her illness, the death of family members and a friend. She is likable and relatable and writes well. So why didn't I connect more to these essays? Part of the problem was its self-help theme. I wish I could agree with the rave reviews of others, but this book was just OK for me and felt much longer than its 241 pages.
Profile Image for Riva Sciuto.
215 reviews51 followers
February 5, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Britany.
967 reviews417 followers
August 21, 2022
This book made me cry in the middle of the day and made me really want to hug my mom.

My first book by Kelly Corrigan, and it was a small taste of what she has to say. Her writing was decadent, the way that she managed to make me feel a certain way the normal day to day nuances that normally are meaningless felt so heavy in her hands. I will definitely be picking up more by this author.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
815 reviews616 followers
September 23, 2018
So so so so good. Heart achingly good and magical and deeply sad and profoundly beautiful.

“Tell me more” I’ve said tell me more and that must be hard to my preteen daughters no less than a dozen times this week. It works.

“I know” made me sob. “No” made me nod my head and yell “amen”. “Yes” made me laugh and “I was wrong” broke my heart and convicted me.

“I love you” I read out loud to my husband and had to pause several times due to both tears and sobs.

“Onward” absolutely gutted and eviscerated me. I wept all the way through and could barely see the pages.

Just read this. You won’t be sorry.
Profile Image for Leigh Kramer.
Author 1 book1,182 followers
January 11, 2018
The author's chapter titled Yes is a list of things she will always say yes to. One of the items on my Yes list? Reading Kelly Corrigan's books.

I am now three for three with loving her books. I can't remember how I came across her memoir The Middle Place a few years ago but it was a revelation, as was its follow-up Glitter And Glue.

I didn't even need to know what Tell Me More was about before I requested an advance copy. I knew I'd love it and I was right.

Kelly Corrigan's writing never ceases to amaze me. Tell Me More is structured differently from her memoirs but we still get her excellent storytelling. There were a few chapters where I wasn't quite sure where her stories were going or how they connected to the chapter's phrase. But she always, always brought it home.

True to form, I laughed out loud and I teared up. Her writing can be so moving and especially when paired with the lessons she's learned.

I'd finish reading the chapter and sit back a little, taking it in, thinking through how it applied to my life. I think that's the point of reading Tell Me More. It's giving us a chance to consider what things we need to say to the people around us.

When I worked for hospice, we'd often reference the five things you should say before you die: thank you, I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, and goodbye. I thought about this as I looked at Corrigan's twelve phrases. There's very little overlap and yet the two lists partner well together.

Onward was one of my favorite chapters. It includes one of the best metaphors about grief and loss I've ever encountered. Corrigan quotes her friend Andy's eulogy for his wife and her best friend Liz. The book is worth reading for that alone.

But honestly, this is a book that's just plain worth reading. Corrigan is relatable. She's not perfect. She doesn't have it all figured out and in that vein, she invites us to come alongside and learn with her. This is a book I want to refer back to for when I'm in a sticky situation or I'm not sure what to say or I need to improve my communication skills with loved ones.

I you hear me saying, "tell me more" or "it's like this" a lot more, you'll know why.

Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Megan.
238 reviews
June 26, 2018
After reading both The Middle Place and Glitter and Glue, years ago, in which
Kelly writes about family life and personal experiences, I couldn’t help but think of this book as like catching up with an old friend !! Her writing, as always, is phenomenal !! My favorite story was the telling of losing her father, Greenie, who was my most favorite subject in her latter two books !!

Highly recommend, if you’re a Corrigan fan !!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars !!!!
Profile Image for Michelle.
Author 32 books1,026 followers
November 30, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Buffy .
6 reviews
February 25, 2018
Ugh this book was awful! I finally put the book down when the author began the chapter discussing how poorly trained her dog is (and how she is the only one in her family of 4 who even cares for the dog). The dog was eating poop out of the toilet because the family barely flushed for “environmental reasons”. Fine, then put the lid down! I just couldn’t finish this book written by this over privileged white woman. Even though the author writes about universal topics (death, cancer, raising children), I was annoyed by her the entire time! I CANNOT believe this book was a New York Times bestseller and so highly rated and reviewed. White mediocrity strikes again. I’m actually pissed I wasted my time on this TERRIBLE book.
Profile Image for Traci Thomas.
545 reviews9,871 followers
February 21, 2019
This book is kind of great. Very conversational in tone. Much more centered on grief and healing than I thought. I wept at one point. It’s small in scope and very personal to the author but lots of this book is super relatable.
Profile Image for Sue Fernandez.
651 reviews10 followers
October 2, 2017
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for an e-ARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion. I've read everything by Kelly Corrigan, but this is my favorite. I kept thinking that maybe it came to me at a time I needed it, but really, I think this book will be one of the few I return to, and that I read passages out loud to family. I already know a few people I plan to give it to as a gift...highlighting passages. It touched me, it made me smile, it struck my heart. This is me cheering Corrigan on and applauded a wonderful book.
Profile Image for Lisa Roberts.
1,477 reviews
January 21, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Karen.
1,154 reviews30 followers
March 8, 2018
Even though I still love Corrigan's writing style this one was heavy and sad. It felt self-indulgent...getting things off her conscience more than inspiration. She wrote this book at a difficult time in her life. Her Dad and good friend died prior to writing this book, so that may be why it was so heavy. It felt like she wanted to get the "bad" she had done out in the open.
Profile Image for Maggie (mugandnook).
91 reviews18 followers
March 19, 2019
Listened to this while doing spring cleaning and was completely enraptured. It had me laughing. Hard. And crying. Hard. It’s so touching and so good.
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,200 reviews724 followers
February 26, 2020
So good via audio. I don’t even know how to describe this book ~ maybe a collection of memoir-essays? A woman’s heart dumped into a collection of pages and then poured into our heart? That’s kind of strange, so maybe not. All I know is I laughed out loud and tears welled up and I could relate to all of it even though I haven’t lived many of the same experiences. Loved it.
Profile Image for Tamara.
1,414 reviews557 followers
May 24, 2018
I wake up every day and try to be a slightly better person than the day before, despite the overwhelming evidence that life is hard and unfair, and - at times - so perplexingly rewarding. My favorite authors can ascribe words to that phenomenon, and Kelly Corrigan is one of them.

Recommend for fans of Tiny Beautiful Things.
Profile Image for R J Royer.
501 reviews59 followers
December 29, 2017
While I would not have normally read this autobiography I am so glad I did. I loved the heart felt way that the author places it all out there for us to do with as we will. I would not really have considered this a self help book until I realized that it had done more for me than most of the people in my life. I would like to take the time to thank the author for that.
Profile Image for Marie Braz.
515 reviews5 followers
November 14, 2018
I don’t know, maybe I’ve read too much in this genre recently and I’m done. Reading about other people’s lives is not as entertaining as it used to be, unless they are someone famous that I am curious about.
Profile Image for Mary.
559 reviews167 followers
February 20, 2018
4.5 stars. A moving, beautifully authentic meditation on grief, love, and living. Kelly has a way with words that is raw, honest, refreshing and just unparalleled.
Profile Image for Chris.
557 reviews
April 7, 2018
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered together to get through this thing called life."

I've never read a Kelly Corrigan book before, despite seeing her in Vermont at Booktopia one year. Her books always struck me as ones with themes that I didn't want to address. Difficult themes; life, relationships, family. Death. Lots of death. And this book had all those and more. When I was at the library and I stood and read three pages and didn't want to stop, I knew this book was the right book for me at the right time.

With the 12 things Corrigan is learning to say, "I Don't Know," "No," "I Was Wrong," "Onward," all things we (read, "I") need to add to our (my) vocabulary, she takes the reader through her own life path, weaving in and out her sentences that are reflected upon from the past, present, and future. With the death of her beloved father, Greenie, and her dear friend, Liz, Corrigan wends her way with the topic at hand and sometimes ends up 360 degrees where she began and you end wondering how you got to this place. But it works. Big time.

And my original thought that her books are difficult was spot on. This is achingly beautiful while all the same being achingly sad. The death of her friend, Liz who, sick for years, succumbed to cancer, leaving behind a husband and three small children was heart wrenching, as was the death of her father, whom she idolized. Yet, somehow through the tears she always makes you smile, too. Which is a difficult feat and you wonder how she does it, but she does. In the end, each one of us is doing the best we can in our relationships, raising children, being a decent human being, all without making too many rookie mistakes.
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