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Outside a rural Pennsylvania motel, nine-year-old Lulu smokes a cigarette while sitting on the lap of a trucker. Photographer Quinn is passing through town and captures it. While the image launches Quinn's career, Lulu fights to survive in a volatile home. 

 

Decades later, when Quinn has a retrospective at a major museum and "Lulu & the Trucker" has sold at auction for a record-breaking amount, Lulu is surprised to find the troubling image of her young self in the newspaper. She attends an exhibition talk with one question in mind for Quinn: Why didn't you help me all those years ago? 

Tell Me One Thing is a portrait of two Americas, examining power, privilege, and the sacrifices one is willing to make to succeed. Traveling through the 1980s to present day, the novel delves into New York City's free-for-all grittiness while exposing a neglected slice of the struggling rust belt.

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Praise for TELL ME ONE THING

"In the parallel universes of two unforgettable characters, Schlottman renders on the page a simple and beautiful expression of our shared humanity."

Cinelle Barnes, author of Monsoon Mansion: A Memoir and Malaya: Essays on Freedom

"A devastating and rich exploration of trauma, art-making, love, and the unmistakable hauntedness of what we cannot control, yet long to. I want everyone to read this book."
 

Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot and Heartbroke

"With a clear, empathic gaze, and with a sharp, startling intelligence, Kerri Schlottman's Tell Me One Thing traces two paths—that of artist, and that of subject—through the cruel disparities of the Reagan eighties and beyond. The result is a book that asks enduring questions about what art is for and what we, all of us, owe one another. Tell Me One Thing is phenomenal."

Matthew Specktor, author of Always Crashing in the Same Car

 

"Schlottman acutely nails the misty, gold-hued atmosphere of the 1980s, and deeply explores themes of class and privilege...This thought-provoking work will put readers on the lookout for what the author does next."

 

Publishers Weekly 

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