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Talk to Me

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  598 ratings  ·  173 reviews
Entertainment Weekly, New & Notable
New York Post, Best Book of the Week

By the author of the New York Times bestseller, Love Poems for Married People, and the Thurber Prize-winner Truth in Advertising comes a wry yet tenderhearted look at how one man's public fall from grace leads him back to his family, and back to the man he used to be.

It's a story that Ted Grayson
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Larry H
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I'm between 3 and 3.5 stars.

"But deep down in places he rarely allowed himself to go, Ted knew he was a lie. A handsome, large-headed, reasonably intelligent lie. They had made him this thing, this...character, this cartoon, really, where once, long ago, Ted had been a reporter. A writer."

Ted Grayson is a well-respected television news anchor. At 59, he's one of the last bastions of the "old guard" of news media, as television networks battle with cable and internet for ratings and advertising
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edelweiss
Whats not to like about a book that takes a scathing look at trends in todays culture? Especially when its done with wit and poignancy.

The author takes a close look at the tendency of our rush to judgment and the role the news plays in manipulating our emotions. Nothing escapes the authors critical eye. When he skewers the news, he includes traditional news sources, social media, and online click-bait news sites. His observations were spot on.

I loved John Kenneys writing. He makes a powerful
Elyse  Walters
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I debated about reading this book ways back....
BECAUSE....I simply wasnt sure I wanted to read about how social media affects our lives. My attitude was enough already... I feel its been a saturated topic.
Yet, there were passionate written reviews from those who found it powerful and timely.
Several readers were in touch of the value of forgiveness - ( Cheris Age of Trolls especially moved me) - a few readers liked it so so - ( I understood) - and one reader ( ha- a review that strongly
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
My mother told me a lot of things when I was a kid.  While many of those things turned out to be just plain wrong (if you don't stop making ugly faces, your face will freeze like that; it takes less time to hang things up than it does to throw them in the floor), there was one thing that was right on the money.  Never write anything down that you wouldn't want to see printed on the front page of the newspaper.  Absolutely right.

Nowadays, if you don't already assume your every move is being
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
4+ stars

Talk to Me was a powerful read. Ted Grayson is a reputed news anchor, who is caught online saying something horrible to the young woman fixing his hair one night before a broadcast. From there thanks mostly to the relentlessness of social and online media Teds life spirals out of control. But it turns out that his life was pretty shaky already his wife is leaving him and he is alienated from his adult daughter. What I loved about Talk to Me is that it gave me a lot of food for thought
4+ stars

Fast-paced and easy to read, Talk To Me was utterly compelling, extremely contemporary and deeply human.

The fact that I felt compassion for Ted, a multi-millionaire, older TV news anchor, is due to Kenney's ability to lay bare Ted's regrets and vulnerability. On his 59th birthday, Ted commits a huge faux-pas, caught on video. That sees his life spiral out of control. Without his job, who's Ted? His wife is leaving him for another man, his only daughter is estranged. Time to reassess?

Yes! Hopping on my pogo stick!

What a great novel this is! A bigtime social commentary on the power of the internet to destroy someone. In this case, the victim is Ted, and hes a famous anchorman. In a terrible mood one day, he says something nasty to a female worker bee and its caught on tape. One short sentence; one sentence that will take him down. In no time, the crime goes viral and he becomes a villain of gigantic proportions. Heres what makes this a good book: I hated what he said, just
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Ted Grayson was a trustworthy news anchor for more than 20 years. So why does Talk To Me open with him attempting to kill himself via not pulling the cord on his parachute after jumping from a plane? Well, it was a little like this . . . . .

But with the addition of calling a fill-in make-up lady a derogatory term. In the age of . . . . .

Teds outburst was about to go viral . . . .

Forty-eight hours in and it was at more than
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hypocrisy and sanctimony win out.

Seldom do I come across a book that is this easy to read with a panoply of characters both likable and unlikeable that also makes me think so deeply about the current state of our media, especially social, a world of half-truths and gauzy reality which also made me laugh. This is an extraordinarily crafted cautionary tale filled with equal doses of comedy and drama and I loved it!

We are living in a world of instant judgment and criticism, a world in which it
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do you remember when trolls were just collectible little figures? Dolls, essentially. No? Maybe you remember when they were characters in folklore, or in fairy-tale stories for children, and not the collection of people who seem to populate the Internet - more than those who are just looking to connect with old friends.

At the heart of this story is the public shaming, harassment, degradation and attempted destruction of a man who, in a moment of anger, frustration, he makes a horrendous
Powerful, Compelling, A Cutting-Edge Narrative on Where We are Today!

Ted Grayson has been a very successful reporter. His face has been splashed across TV, magazines, and online for over twenty years. He became known as the face of America in broadcasting, respected, adored, wealthy, and envied. He had it all, until that fateful day when anger took over, and Ted uttered words caught and transmitted by the various social media sites, that would change his world.

Ted's life on a personal level was
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
My disdain for social media cannot be overstated. Im deeply concerned for all of us, but mostly for children who are growing up in a false world driven by hateful comments and increasingly cruel tendencies. It seems nothing is off limits. Internet addiction and social media use by children leads to anxiety, depression, and a burning fear of missing out. I say all of this to underscore the genius of this story. Im not sure how it ended up on my list, but upon realizing where this was going, I ...more
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Talk To Me, a novel about the downfall of a fictional star anchorman (Ted Grayson), is quite timely - so I was surprised that it didnt feel more relevant to me. Perhaps because it was fairly predictable, or that there wasnt much depth to any of the characters. And the plot was bogged down with too much backstory. Kenney is an engaging writer but he works so hard exposing the flaws in Ted, his wife Claire, his daughter Franny and everyone else, that there is nobody left to care about. ...more
"Talk to Me" by John Kenney is a beautiful and heartbreaking novel. I wasn't expecting to feel such a wide range of emotions. Kenney is a fantastic writer. I absolutely loved his prose and character development. This is the story of a fictional legendary news anchor (Ted Grayson) who makes an embarrassing mistake. That mistake begins a ripple effect of Ted's inevitable downfall, professionally and personally. This book is brutally honest about how social media loves to make a well-liked person ...more
Megan Johnson
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This one was hard to get into. Once I did though, I had a hard time putting it down. It's certainly enjoyable and the real-life references make you feel like this is really happening as you watch.

Robert Blumenthal
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved John Kenney's previous novel Truth in Advertising. I found it to be laugh out loud funny and intensely moving at the same time. I loved his characters, flaws and all, and how he developed relationships between them. I was just a bit disappointed in Talk to Me at first for I missed his very fine honed sense of humor. It's not that there aren't moments of humor in this novel, it just pales to what was in his first novel. However, as the narrative developed I found myself becoming extremely ...more
Betsy Robinson
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disgraced TV news anchor Ted Grayson is at a fundraiser in an upscale Connecticut town. He peruses the guests: . . . a fairly uniform group: white, middle-aged, attractive, fit, well-dressed, smiling, sexually devious, deeply wealthy, unusually successful. They were members of an elite club, a club to which they were desperate to belong and yet, here, now, to which each felt like an outsider. (102)

Thats the gang, and Kenneys social satire of our twenty-first century love of public shaming is
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Oh boy this was a rough one... I find it SO hard to feel bad for men who do really stupid things. But at the same time, you can't, as a human being, NOT feel bad about another human being who has been humiliated, lost everything and is really, seriously broken.

I found myself reading this in a cycle... "What a jerk!" "Oh poor guy!" "OMG he's such an A$$!" "Yikes, take it easy on the man!" I was starting to feel a bit carsick at times! This story hooks you in from the very first page, What goes
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-fiction
Talk To Me is one of the best novels Ive read in a year that pointedly defines what our current culture considers relevant news. Gone are the well-researched and professional news circa Walter Cronkite. Now Twitter, thanks to our Commander in Chief, is what is news. All people care about is whats trending. Author John Kenney uses acerbic wit to make this story entertaining.

Trusted news anchor Ted Grayson has a very bad, terrible day on his birthday, a day he will remember as the beginning of
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This really is a brilliant book. It is not a funny book. I say that because Kenney has won the Thurber Prize for American Humor and because on my edition the lead quote on the back says " favorite kind of funny..." and because I picked up the book thinking it would be humor. It's really not. It's a scathing, furious and brutal look at the state of 'news' today, of social media, and modern mankind's rush to judgment. It is also a very moving story of man whose rise to fame and subsequent ...more
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it

Fun read, full of sarcasm and satire, and far too close to reality!

that point in life when you realize you are closer to the end of life than the beginning; where youthful exuberance and bountiful expectations yield to thoughts of what could have been, how you ended up in this place feeling so unfulfilled that life has passed you by and you didn't even notice!"

Ted Grayson is in his late fifties, at the peak of his career, the modern Walter Cronkite of television network news, the
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I recently read or heard something that talked about how our current culture makes it difficult to acknowledge imperfection. I was reminded of an interaction I had on a social media thread a few months ago. The discussion was regarding non-gendered language, and I made the comment that, while I completely understood and agreed with the concept of how gender in language can influence our perception of reality in both subtle and non-subtle ways, that I still had some difficulty with the usage of ...more
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
While this is a timely book with a cynical (and scarily accurate) take on the power of the internet, it didn't grab me as fully as I would have liked. It might have been because the leading characters were not that sympathetic to me.

Ted Grayson is a long-time star reporter on network news, and one night, during an off moment, he lashes out at a young woman on the set, and this tirade is caught on camera. When this video goes viral, his reputation is rapidly destroyed, followed very quickly by
Diane Yannick
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I never heard the word internet until I was middle aged. At first I pictured it as some sort of railway that would traverse the USA and somehow dispese info to various cities. I could not even imagine the wealth of info wed have at our fingertips. Although I embraced many aspects of the internets power, I remain skeptical about what it has done to us as humans. People feel so free to express themselves however they please, saying things that they would never say face to face.

Kenneys book (which
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
While reading this novel, I kept coming back to two other references Andrew Sean Greers novel, Less, and the HBO series The Newsroom. In all three settings we have smart, accomplished, middle-aged white men who are forced to face a sharp curve in their lives trajectories. All three share a sensibility about what it means to succeed - personally, professionally, emotionally - in the 21st century. All three have darkly comedic moments, as well as moments of seering, almost heartbreaking ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
This was definitely darker than Truth in Advertising. Kenney's take on today's news media and the scourge of social media's fake and shaming news is scathing. It's definitely a millennial-blaming rant with added whining about the fall of a great old rich and white man named Ted Grayson. I preferred the light and humour and tenderness and greatness in Truth in Advertising over Talk to Me.
Laura Van Lyssel
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant portrayal of the viral and toxic nature of social media and its ramifications. The story centers on long established news anchor Ted Grayson who quickly falls from grace by means of the internet. Fighting to save his reputation, he is forced to come to terms with his role in his estrangement from his wife and daughter. Cleverly written and unexpectedly touching.
Katie/Doing Dewey
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Summary: A really lovely, feel-good, thought provoking story.

When news anchor Ted Grayson loses it on camera, the impact on his career leaves him with little to value in life. His estranged wife wants a divorce and his equally estranged daughter might be leveraging his downfall to advance her own career in news. As Ted's world falls apart, it may help him take stock of his life or it might simply drive him further down his current path.

I wanted a feel good book when I picked this up and it
Sarah at Sarah's Bookshelves
Thanks to Putnam for an advanced copy of this book.

Talk to Me is definitely Brain Candy, but its Brain Candy with substance (my very favorite type of Brain Candy). Its a snarky story thats ultimately about regrettaking place in todays media world. Kenneys commentary on todays brand of journalism is spot-on and pokes fun at pretty much all parties involved. He skewers political correctness and those who dont buy into political correctness, traditional news anchors and click-bait news websitesno
Kathleen Gray
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a topical and timely look at what happens when someone self destructs and the world closes in. Ted thinks he's the cat's meow- he's a network news anchor and extremely self important. SO much so that his wife Claire and daughter Fanny have both walked away from him. He's got his secrets but mostly he's pretty darn unlikable as a human. When he totally messes up on air and everything falls apart, he has to find his way back to himself and his family. This isn't a funny book and at times ...more
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