From the Publisher
"Tell Me One Thing is a staggeringly honest portrait of people reaching for the courage to connect. Often starting from loss, her characters struggle against their own demons and the arbitrariness of life to find a way to love. I found myself in tears and then, just as often, my heart leapt with joy. Deena Goldstone has a deep and profound understanding of the human heart, and thankfully, in these exquisitely rendered stories, she shares her heart with us." —Delia Ephron, author of Sister Mother Husband Dog
"Each story is insightful, emotional and an honest portrait of lives that feel lived-in. . . . I oscillated between feelings of futility and excitement, absorbing the characters’ anxieties, fears and desires for more." —The Toronto Star
"The beautiful, novelistic stories in Tell Me One Thing are poignant, heartbreaking, and very funny. But what unites them is Deena Goldstone's ability to show us what matters: that while the pursuit of family, friends and love might drive us crazy, it can also teach us to believe in things bigger than ourselves, and help us reach for the very heart of what it means to be human." —Thomas Christopher Greene, author of The Headmaster's Wife
"These confident, finely wrought stories range freely through the full panoply of human emotions, from love to loss, grief, fear, pity, and solace. Deena Goldstone’s Chekhovian sensitivity to her characters’ weaknesses and strengths makes for breathtaking reading."—Valerie Martin, author of Property and The Ghost of the Mary Celeste
"Goldstone is a good writer with a fluid, easy style, natural dialogue, and an excellent sense for detail and event. I especially like how each story slides into the next."—A.R. Gurney, author of Love Letters
In screenwriter Goldstone's fiction debut, eight stories—some connected—portray characters struggling with loss, forgiveness and the complexity of human relationships.In the title story, 5-year-old Maggie stops speaking after her mother, Lucia, spirits her away from her beloved father, Richard, one summer morning. In "Get Your Dead Man's Clothes," Jamie O'Connor attends his abusive father's funeral and examines how a lifetime of violence shaped the O'Connor children. In "Irish Twins" and "Aftermath," the arrival of Jamie's sister with her own tales of woe prompts him to grudgingly reflect on the solitary life he's built for himself, as far from home as possible. The drama among the O'Connors is loud but wraps up quickly and a little too neatly. "Sweet Peas," "What We Give" and "The Neighbor" focus on Trudy, whose husband of 32 years, Brian, dies suddenly, leaving her bereft and uncertain about how to deal with the world. There are moments when Trudy's loss is poignant, such as when she finds her husband's jacket with his gardening gloves in the pocket, but her stories follow the same pattern that many in this collection do: Things go from bad to worse, but then they inevitably get better. Goldstone tends to zoom in on each character—perhaps a result of her screenwriting experience—and explain his or her background and motivation, so not much mystery remains. The last story, "Wishing," is told in the first person, so it avoids this to some degree, but on the whole, it lacks the more emotional moments of the others.These stories tend to drag on and then wrap up quickly with a sentimental moment you wish had come sooner.