cover image Tell Me Everything: A Memoir

Tell Me Everything: A Memoir

Minka Kelly. Henry Holt, $28.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-85206-9

Actor Kelly recalls her far-from-privileged upbringing and reflects on the skills that helped her survive it in this heart-stopping debut. In nonlinear vignettes, Kelly recounts her chaotic childhood as the daughter of an addict—which she paints in stark contrast to her breakout role as pampered Friday Night Lights cheerleader Lyla Garrity—and recalls her intense longing “to have a regular mom who did regular things.” She bounced from one stranger’s home to another, stayed in storage units, and endured ruthless bullying, eventually working in a peep show as a teenager to earn enough money for her first apartment. Resisting pressure to undergo cosmetic surgery for the sake of her budding entertainment career, Kelly instead trained as a surgical nurse, resolving that “my career as an actress can vanish tomorrow, but no one will ever be able to take away from me what I can do with my mind and my hands.” She also details moving reunions as an adult with her father, Aerosmith guitarist Rick Duffay, and her mother, with whom she made peace before she died of cancer. Despite sometimes horrific obstacles, Kelly resists painting herself as a victim, instead suffusing her story with gratitude and humility. It’s an immensely moving story of one woman’s unconquerable spirit. (May)