“Narrator Vikas Adam does an excellent job of balancing the angst- ridden Akash with the mourning Renu in this mother-and-son story of love and loss” – AudioFile Magazine
“A beautiful book about a mother and son…I really loved this book.”—Rumaan Alam on The TODAY Show
“My first great read of 2022…[Will] make you cringe with recognition and melt with longing.” —Jennifer Weiner
“This debut novel about an Indian-American family has all the right ingredients: family secrets, love, sexuality, loss, identity questions and remorse.” —Good Morning America
Renu Amin always seemed perfect. But as the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death approaches, she is binge-watching soap operas and simmering with old resentments. She can’t stop wondering if, thirty-five years ago, she chose the wrong life. In Los Angeles, her son, Akash, has everything he ever wanted, but he is haunted by the painful memories he fled a decade ago. When his mother tells him she is selling the family home, Akash returns to Illinois, hoping to finally say goodbye and move on.
Together, Renu and Akash pack up the house, retreating further into the secrets that stand between them. Renu sends an innocent Facebook message to the man she almost married, sparking an emotional affair that calls into question everything she thought she knew about herself. Akash slips back into bad habits as he confronts his darkest secrets—including what really happened between him and the first boy who broke his heart. When their pasts catch up to them, Renu and Akash must decide between the lives they left behind and the ones they’ve since created, between making each other happy and setting themselves free.
By turns irreverent and tender, filled with the beats of ’90s R&B, Tell Me How to Be is about our earliest betrayals and the cost of reconciliation. But most of all, it is the love story of a mother and son each trying to figure out how to be in the world.
A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books