I had never heard of Kelly Corrigan until I watched the final segment of the PBS NewsHour when Judy Woodruff announced that she would be doing that night’s brief but spectacular moment on the coronavirus epidemic and how we nailed it. I was so taken by what she had to say that I bought a copy of the book for my Kindle as soon as the show was over. I finished it before lunch the next day.
Not everything in it is relevant for peacebuilders like myself. But much of it is germane. And, the book is a whole lot of fun in part because Corrigan reminds us why so few of us are creative enough to be able to earn a living as writers.
The book’s value starts with its overall title and that of its first chapter. “Tell me more” is a staple both of conflict resolution work and improv. It’s a tool that lets us open space and deepen the story another person is telling us. Corrigan (re)learns this lesson from her college roommate as they are discussing their children while driving to one of their reunions.
As is often the case with memoirs, that theme and others related to it weave their way in and out of her own story about her father, her education, her family, and more. As is also often the case with memoirs, I didn’t learn a lot I didn’t know before about conflict resolution or any other topic I’m professionally interested in.
I did, however, see lets of ways I could use what I already know differently and better in my own life.
It’s a great read any time, but especially during the pandemic when books that are both meaningful and enjoyable are so desperately needed.