... kudos to Kalb, who pulls off this daring approach brilliantly, allowing readers to hear her grandmother’s inimitable voice ... Not surprisingly, given Kalb's chosen career, there are laughs galore throughout the book ... Yet this account runs much deeper than a typical comedy routine. Kalb frequently shares the immense challenge of imagining her grandmother’s voice ... These many enthralling tales (along with family photographs) unfold in a carefully structured yet nonlinear fashion (think This Is Us). The result is lively and fascinating, funny yet poignant ... In a bold stroke of literary bravura, Kalb has turned the formula for writing memoirs inside out, bringing her grandmother’s distinctive voice back to life and sharing it with a legion of lucky readers.
If the second half of Kalb’s narrative is less affecting than the first, perhaps that is simply because everything after escape from a probable pogrom must be ... The author’s hints at her grandmother’s failings make Bobby more character and less caricature, but one longs for a still more fully rounded portrait. Some moments of neglect and even cruelty sit uneasily alongside Bobby’s quips and potted family histories.
Written from the sometimes acerbic, sometimes sweet and always laser-sharp perspective of Bell ... In between are Kalb’s loving recollections of their relationship, including snippets of conversations and voicemails and a steady supply of life advice ... In Kalb’s hands, the resulting stew is reliably funny and occasionally poignant on the aftermath of loss.
This memoir is a quick read written in Bobby’s voice and covers Bobby’s colorful life in minute detail, as told by Kalb, in sweet quips and quotes ... It is gleaned from the author’s meticulous documentation of voicemails, photos, postcards, and other cherished memorabilia that Kalb saved over her 30-some years ... a charming memoir to enjoy for a quick beach read, or lately, when quarantined at home.
... Bobby is the charming, hilarious, and ever-quotable star of her own one-woman show ... Mixing in day-to-day practicalities, crystalline deliveries of amazing family tales, and oft-repeated lines, Kalb-as-Bobby crafts an uncanny rendering of two whole, wholly connected women and their unshakable bond. This is a monumental act of attention, love, and memory, and readers will almost certainly be affected by it.
Kalb deftly captures her grandmother’s fierce, loving, and particular personality with the aid of saved voicemails, family photos, and stories of the strong-minded women in their family ... Especially charming is Bobby’s advice, often unsolicited and always honest, about Kalb’s well-being. As Bobby’s death inevitably arrives, Kalb’s grief is gracefully expressed through imagined conversations and observations ... Striking a perfect balance between levity and poignancy, this is a standout debut. Readers looking for memoirs featuring strong family relationships with much love and laughter will be highly satisfied.
Kalb employs an unconventional yet highly effective and charming narrative device ... Drawn from both a generous selection of family images and a text very much grounded in the family’s Jewish heritage, the narrative skillfully captures Bobby’s wit, worldly advice, well-intentioned meddling, and enduring love for her granddaughter ... Kalb sharply reimagines her grandmother’s inner thoughts and feelings as she regales readers with anecdotes about her life and remembers her biting yet fiercely nurturing criticism of the author’s choices in men, her appearance, and her relocation to the West Coast ... The true heart and soul of their relationship is reflected in the frequent phone exchanges between grandmother and granddaughter, most of which are hysterical. Readers familiar with the Bobby in their own families will appreciate how well Kalb embodies the classic stereotypes of stoic overprotectiveness and frequent exasperation that come with being a parent and grandparent. As the book progresses, the story becomes both sad and poignant as age and illness catch up to Bobby, and though she pokes fun at her situation, the photos and the imagined conversations make for sometimes-heartbreaking reading. Through interviews with her mother and grandfather, voicemails, and nostalgic memorabilia, Kalb commemorates her beloved grandmother, honoring her legacy and inimitable character ... An endearing, bittersweet, and entertainingly fresh take on the family memoir.
... amusing ... Kalb does a great job of capturing the voice of an opinionated, chronically concerned grandmother who’s convinced that she knows best. Bobby shares her thoughts on everything from Kalb’s choice of pets to her decision to live in San Francisco ... offers both wisdom and unsolicited advice ... This is a fun, touching tribute to family, and the perfect book for anyone who treasures their domineering, spirited grandmother.