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Nobody Will Tell You This But Me

Lauren Kohlenberg

February 03, 2022

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Bess Kalb’s debut memoir, Nobody Will Tell You This But Me, is a delightfully honest and heartfelt homage to the life and legacy of her beloved grandmother, Bobby.

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Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A True (as Told to Me) Story by Bess Kalb, Knopf 

Bess Kalb’s debut memoir, Nobody Will Tell You This But Me, is a delightfully honest and heartfelt homage to the life and legacy of her beloved grandmother, Bobby.

Covering the tales and secrets of four generations of women, Kalb writes from Bobby’s perspective, detailing everything from life advice to painful accounts of rarely discussed family truths.

Kalb expertly recounts the influence each generation of women had on the next, both good and bad, and details the notion that an unbreakable bond can skip a generation without losing any of its gusto.

With clarity and poignancy, Kalb relays the years of unsolicited (but always lovingly given) advice from her grandmother. From declaring that “San Francisco is for people who wear polar fleece to restaurants and convince each other to go camping," to “Everyone needs the dress that makes her feel like she's able to do anything she wants,” Bobby’s advice was honest, endearing, and everlasting.

This memoir threw me back into memories of my own trio of greats, Clara, Rochelle, and Faye; a group of women three generations my senior. As I read, I thought of them often, with renewed clarity and understanding through Bobby’s perspective. I recalled their own advice (a whole onion is the secret to a good matzoh ball soup) to me and reflected on their influence in my formative years. I can only hope to carry their stories with me as Kalb did with her own grandmother’s, to pass along to generations to come.

About The Author

Lauren Kohlenberg is an AmeriCorps alum and a graduate of UW-Milwaukee with a degree in Information Science and Technology. She is 1/2 of the IT department at Porchlight, and she feels right at home working with both tech and books. Lauren has always been an avid reader and loves getting lost in a good story. Outside of work, Lauren makes time for travel, fitness, and baking. She loves a good literary pun and is always on the hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

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