cover image Nobody Will Tell You This but Me: A True (As Told to Me) Story

Nobody Will Tell You This but Me: A True (As Told to Me) Story

Bess Kalb. Knopf, $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-525-65471-1

Jimmy Kimmel Live! writer Kalb honors her late grandmother, Bobby Bell, in an amusing debut memoir written in the grandmother’s sassy voice. The book, framed as a love letter to Kalb and featuring excerpts from grandma’s funny voice mails and phone calls, contains intriguing family stories about Kalb’s great-grandmother, who, at 12, emigrated to New York from Belarus, alone, to escape Jewish persecution; about Bobby’s marriage to Kalb’s grandfather, a scrappy businessman who got rich building houses; and about Bobby’s contentious relationship with Kalb’s fiercely independent mother. Kalb does a great job of capturing the voice of an opinionated, chronically concerned grandmother who’s convinced that she knows best. Bobby shares her thoughts on everything from Kalb’s choice of pets (“we are not cat people”) to her decision to live in San Francisco (“San Francisco is for people who wear polar fleece to restaurants and try to convince each other to go camping”). The book spans Bobby’s life and beyond (there are cheeky sections written from beyond the grave) and offers both wisdom and unsolicited advice (“you’d be gorgeous if you went a little blonder”). This is a fun, touching tribute to family, and the perfect book for anyone who treasures their domineering, spirited grandmother. [em](Mar.) [/em]