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A funny, warm, and brilliantly original memoir in which a grandmother speaks to her granddaughter from beyond the grave, telling, with candor and irresistible humor, stories from both their lives--of kinship, loyalty, tenacity, and love.
Bess Kalb--whip-smart, Twitter-famous TV comedy writer and regular New Yorker "Daily Shouts" columnist--has saved every voicemail message her grandmother, Bobby Bell, ever left her. The two were best friends and confidantes. Bobby doted on her granddaughter; Bess adored Bobby. In 2017, nearly ninety, Bobby died.
In this moving, wildly imaginative memoir, Bobby Bell is still speaking to Bess, her inimitable voice in Bess's head, bristling with the loving friction between one headstrong woman and the granddaughter who grew up to be an equal force of nature. Bobby gives Bess critical advice (on career and romance; lipstick and hair). And she relates the history that made her who she is, beginning with her mother's escape from the pogroms of Belarus in the 1880s to the cramped Brooklyn apartment where Bobby was born; and Bobby's own marriage to a successful businessman, which made possible the educations that helped her children and grandchildren flourish.
But from the time Bess was born, Bobby bestowed a unique flavor of love upon her granddaughter: tea at the Plaza; new dresses at Bloomingdales; and above all, her nobody-will-tell-you-this-but-me truths, full of devotion and well meaning, even when they hurt.
This unusual love story celebrates the very special bond that can skip a generation and hold iron-clad. Told through documents, photographs, and verbatim dialogues between two remarkable women, it is an unforgettable account of survival and family; of women's lives across different generations; of gratitude and grief--all rolled into one hilarious, poetic, page-turning book.