Talk to Me by John Kenney

Talk to Me

John Kenney

Talk to Me is a sharply observed, darkly funny, and ultimately warm story about a man who wakes up too late to the mess he’s made of his life… and about our capacity for forgiveness and empathy.

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From New Yorker contributor and the Thurber Prize-winning author of Truth in Advertising comes a wry yet tenderhearted look at how one man's public fall from grace leads him back to his family, and back to the man he used to be.

It's a story that Ted Grayson has reported time and time again in his job as a network TV anchor: the public downfall of those at the top. He just never imagined that it would happen to him. After his profanity-laced tirade is caught on camera, his reputation and career are destroyed, leaving him without a script for the first time in years.

While American viewers may have loved and trusted Ted for decades, his family certainly didn't: His years of constant travel and his big-screen persona have frayed all of his important relationships. At the time of his meltdown, Ted is estranged from his wife, Claire, and his adult daughter, Franny, a writer for a popular website. Franny views her father's disgrace with curiosity and perhaps a bit of smug satisfaction, but when her boss suggests that she confront Ted in an interview, she has to decide whether to use his loss as her career gain. And for Ted, this may be a chance to take a hard look at what got him to this place, and to try to find his way back before it's too late.

Talk to Me is a sharply observed, darkly funny, and ultimately warm story about a man who wakes up too late to the mess he's made of his life... and about our capacity for forgiveness and empathy.

Advance Galley Reviews

What an interesting book, and I mean that in a positive way. While I am not a social media consumer (unless Pinterest counts), I do not live under a rock, and the negative aspects of social media are quite apparent every single day (ahem, Trump). I am sure there are positive aspects to social media, but unfortunately, we live in a drama-filled society that only seems to be concerned and consumed with the negative and are quickly outraged at even a hint of impropriety. This book not only details the drama of Ted, after making one improper statement in a 20-plus-year career as a nightly newsman, it also deals with the repercussions of now being reviled by nearly everyone, and his journey to wishing he was dead to eventually seeking forgiveness and correcting his life path. I really liked this book, despite not being a social media user. I would recommend this novel to anyone, it's a good reminder that everyone makes mistakes, we should not be defined by them (unless they are consistently defining our character), and that extending kindness to people is always a good thing.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed it. It is well written and covers subjects current in today’s world. The family dynamics are very interesting. It is a book that really speaks to the world of social media and the feminist agenda. It makes you think about what truly matters in life. I loved it!

I found this book a little stressful to read, but I think that was the point. We are so bombarded by stimulation that we don’t see what’s actually in front of us. Young people don’t know how to look and older people don’t know where to look. A little stop and start and I would’ve liked Franny’s issues detailed a little more but good read

I can see why people may not have liked this book because the main character is pretty unlikable. He is rich, looks down on everyone, took his family for granted until the disappeared from his life. I think this story is pretty spot-on about recent events in the news media about how one event can take down a public figure. The years of reporting don't mean a thing when the most recent thing everyone sees of you over and over is something atrocious. The cliffhanger at the beginning kept me reading and the ending did make me thankful for a male character that could stand up and admit he was wrong.

“The Internet...the world today...and the world is nothing if not the internet, never, ever forgets. Or forgives. There is no mercy anymore, Ted. Because we can see it again and again, as it happened...” Wow, Ted Grayson just ruined everything he built over the last twenty years in two minutes. We all have bad days, we all react differently, and Ted Grayson is no exception. The story starts with a bad day that he just can’t get out of and everything seems to piss him off. He takes it out on a young girl and shortly thereafter becomes a viral sensation across all social platforms. This story shows how today’s social media platforms can make or break someone. I was able to finish the story, but I found myself picking it up and putting it back down throughout.

"The Internet...the world today...and the world is nothing if not the internet, never, ever forgets. Or forgives. There is no mercy anymore, Ted. Because we can see it again and again, as it happened." Ted Grayson a predominant anchorman, in the spotlight of the evening news, has a bad day, a very bad day that leads him to have an exploding rant towards a young girl new to his set. This rant becomes a social media whirlwind within a few days. "Talk to Me" tells of Ted's tragic fall and ultimately destroyed career because of said rant. For some reason I kept thinking of Matt Lauer, though I know his situation was completely different and way worse behavior. I read this like this was an episode of "THIS is YOUR LIFE" yet instead of all the good memories and all the people telling you how wonderful you are, it flashes back on all the terrible events, with your wife and daughter throwing you under the bus saying you were never there as a husband/father. Then at some point it turns into "Its A Wonderful Life" helping Ted take a good look back at his life, the mess he has made from it, begin to appreciate it, and move forward. So I was a little on the fence about this one. I think it is very well written and a good read. I also honestly think A LOT of people will really like this. It does an excellent job of portraying the effects and consequences of the news/social media in today's society. However, it just wasn't for me exactly. I found the story an interesting concept just not entertaining enough to completely hold my attention. I sadly admit I skimmed a bit in the middle.

The very first line in the book Talk to Me grabbed my attention. I was riveted from the start and did not want to put the book down. The main character, Ted Grayson, had everything a person would want - a great job as a television anchorman, money, fame, a grand home, a beautiful wife, a daughter - but because of one mistake he risked losing it all. His fall had to happen for him to realize the mess he made of his life and the forgiveness he needed in order to move forward. The book showed that character is more valuable than possessions.

I was really looking forward to reading this after the Kirkus review - I even guaranteed myself a copy - but the file wouldn't download. When I click "Download Your Copy", the page loads and loads until I finally get an error.


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