• Nobody Will Tell You This but Me

  • By: Bess Kalb
  • Narrated by: Bess Kalb
  • Length: 4 hrs and 21 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A brilliantly original memoir of a grandmother speaking to her granddaughter from beyond the grave, telling the story of her life with hilarious candour and love.

Bess Kalb has saved every voicemail message her grandmother - her best friend, her confidante - ever left her until the day she died.

In this wildly imaginative memoir, Bobby Bell's voice is still in Bess' head. Stubborn, glamorous, larger than life, she gives Bess critical advice on everything and tells the history that made them both. Beginning with her mother's escape from the pogroms of Belarus in the 1880s to the rambunctiously cramped Brooklyn apartment where Bobby was born, it swings through her loving marriage, blazes over the rebellious youth of her daughter and finally falls madly in love with her granddaughter, Bess.

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me are the truths - full of devotion, killer instincts and hard-won experience - that Bess' grandmother tells even when they hurt, and even though she's gone.

This unusual love story celebrates the bond of women across generations and the personalities that live on through grief and love. Told through documents, photographs, and verbatim dialogue, it's a memoir like none you've ever listened to before.

©2020 Bess Kalb (P)2020 Hachette Audio UK

Critic Reviews

"I have not been as profoundly moved by a book in years." (Jodi Picoult)

What listeners say about Nobody Will Tell You This but Me

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Get your tissues on the ready

Beautifully written and narrated. It was very touching and I sometimes had to pause it as I found my mind wandering back to memories with my own late grandmother. Many tears were cried, for their story and the memories it brought up.

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  • Hannah Stephings
  • 12-07-21

Favourite book of the year!

Beautifully-written evocative, moving and hilarious matrilineal love story between a granddaughter and grandmother, which will make you laugh and cry in turn. Immediately after finishing I brought this for my own mother and grandma.

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  • Roly
  • 04-19-21

A sensitive tribute

This is a love story between a Jewish grandmother and her grandchild which is sensitive; funny w self deprecating humour and “schmaltzy”. As a biography it charts a family’s progress, as (one of) a reflection of the history of Jews in America; escape from oppression to opportunity and from poverty to wealth. It doubles as a cherished memoir, celebrating and immortalising an inter generational relationship The book’s appeal is both universal and niche and one identifies easily with themes of continuity and heritage. The author, as narrator, provides a nuanced authenticity, complementing the piece but the American accent was occasionally annoying . Nevertheless, it stayed amusing and didn’t go on too long !

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  • Storm
  • 01-11-21

Brilliant

My mother bought me this book at the start of lockdown and having read it once I realised I wanted to be able to listen to it again and again. This is a moving, poignant, funny and brilliantly written account of a daughter, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. It’s also wonderfully narrated by the author.

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  • Mimi
  • 01-09-21

hilarious and moving

I decided to read Kalb's novel as it was recommended by Nigella Lawson. I can now see why she commented it was one of her favourite books.
The story is a personal oral history of two lives- that of a grandmother and granddaughter- told from the perspective of the late grandmother.
the story made me reflect on my own life, my own relationships, the oral history that I pass down to my children and that which has been passed down to me.
The story is simultaneously hilarious and moving and i got to the end to realise I had tears streaming down my face.
now that I have listened to it, I shall add it to my list of books to buy and I shall likely read it over and over.
In addition, Kalb's reading of her own novel is a piece of art in and of itself .
"keep moving forward".

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  • Cat
  • 11-19-20

Fabulous!

Loved every minute of this. Such a beautiful story, well told and narrated. I'd recommend to everyone.

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  • Katy Taylor
  • 11-16-20

Tore at every emotion!

What a wonderful book. Really feel like I lived the relationship of Bess and her grandmother - oh to have met her! So many laughs and tears, it’ll stay with me for a long time.

Off to call my gran!

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  • JCowin
  • 11-04-20

Just amazing

Loved it. I cried so much in memory of my own grandmother who recently passed. I'd like to think it helped me with my grieving process

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  • Harriet Wheeler
  • 10-28-20

Beautiful.

Heartwarming, written and read well. Funny, especially how many similarities with my own grandmother. Some parts heart wrenching, mostly uplifting!

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  • Scribbler
  • 10-26-20

Gave up

Had high hopes but didn't enjoy this one. Family anecdotes that weren't very interesting and a rather nasal narrator. Gave up before the end.

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