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Settle for More


Settle for More

In her memoir, SETTLE FOR MORE, Megyn Kelly turns her reporter’s eye inward to bring us the story of her life --- from her rationale for her decisions to her personal triumphs.

Like she does from behind the news desk, Kelly holds her own throughout her life: through early instances of middle school bullying, the tragedy of losing her father, and the realization that she wanted to leave law to pursue television. In early chapters, Kelly chronicles the ways her confidence and strength were built. After a rough encounter with the popular girls at school, she determines, “I could avoid being hurt again by projecting strength…and spinning a narrative about myself that would convince others I was too strong to attack.” She learns after coping with her father’s sudden and unexpected death that “[t]he test of strength is not avoiding emotional distress; it’s functioning in the face of it.” Through these moments, she builds up “a reservoir of confidence and a tough shell,” all of which comes in particularly handy as a news anchor.

Kelly spends much of the book focusing in depth on her news career. She fleshes out her convictions on the controversial stories she has reported and, from the author’s seat, reveals small snippets of things that fall outside of news-appropriate. Those waiting for a tell-all may be disappointed. A lot of this boils down to her passion for defending freedom of speech, a pretty publicly held conviction. Readers won’t learn any off-brand details, but they will be taken on a backstage tour of “The Kelly File”and her other anchoring roles.

"SETTLE FOR MORE resonates with a certain definition of womanhood. Kelly is as tough as she is gracious in her prose and manages to authentically report her own story."

Most of these early anecdotes serve as a tee-up for her notorious run-in with President-Elect Donald Trump. Kelly takes readers behind the tweets to see how those surrounding her dealt with the persistent, direct attacks from Trump. In her household, there was outrage and disbelief. In her workplace, there was a concerted effort to calm Trump and his internet henchmen. In her timeline, there were threats, support and, above all, unwanted attention. Even putting her experiences with Trump in the past tense feels like a hurried attempt to put the ugly election behind her while still capitalizing on her time as the topic of the news. (She spends four chapters on this debacle.) Kelly sums up her feelings on the firestorm, reflecting the sentiments of many on this issue: “I should have known that, when it came to Trump, it was never over.”

Kelly concludes the book with a brief account of the controversy surrounding notorious harasser Roger Ailes. Though early on she paints Ailes as a benevolent side character in her climb to the top, in the final pages she addresses the weight of the accusations against him. However, as is true with her other private affairs, it is not a tell-all. Kelly sees “no point in making all the details public.” What is more compelling in this chapter on Ailes is Kelly’s struggles against the inconsistencies in her own views on powerful men, determined women and the workplace. She preaches a message of limitless possibility the first time she tells the story of her rise in Fox News, but here she wrestles with the complex professional relationship she was forced to maintain with a serial sexual predator. If anything, it is compelling to read Kelly’s rational acrobatics.

Overall, Kelly’s message of settling for more is neither new nor too clichéd. SETTLE FOR MORE tells readers that the world is yours for the taking. She believes this to the core about her own life, as evidenced by an early journal entry: “I’m in charge of changing my life, and hard work matters.” This memoir is for anyone who is curious about what Kelly has been thinking the past decade in the anchor chair. For fans of her show, her candor will be refreshing. For those who don’t share her privilege and perspective, there will be frequent flat notes and tone-deaf moments.

From growing up “the opposite of spoiled” to having it all, SETTLE FOR MORE resonates with a certain definition of womanhood. Kelly is as tough as she is gracious in her prose and manages to authentically report her own story.

Reviewed by Allison Sharp on December 8, 2016

Settle for More
by Megyn Kelly

  • Publication Date: November 15, 2016
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN-10: 0062494600
  • ISBN-13: 9780062494603