Friday, May 31, 2013

DNF Review: A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee

Publisher: Random House
Pages: 224
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: March 12, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

For readers of Jonathan Franzen and Richard Russo, Jonathan Dee’s novels are masterful works of literary fiction. In this sharply observed tale of self-invention and public scandal, Dee raises a trenchant question: what do we really want when we ask for forgiveness?

Once a privileged and loving couple, the Armsteads have now reached a breaking point. Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home—a change that weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara. Then, in one afternoon, Ben’s recklessness takes an alarming turn, and everything the Armsteads have built together unravels, swiftly and spectacularly.

Thrust back into the working world, Helen finds a job in public relations and relocates with Sara from their home in upstate New York to an apartment in Manhattan. There, Helen discovers she has a rare gift, indispensable in the world of image control: She can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances. Yet redemption is more easily granted in her professional life than in her personal one.

As she is confronted with the biggest case of her career, the fallout from her marriage, and Sara’s increasingly distant behavior, Helen must face the limits of accountability and her own capacity for forgiveness.

My Review:

Sadly, this book ended up being a DNF for me. I don't have a lot of books that I'm not able to finish but this book felt all over the place that I couldn't get into it. I will say that I read about 35% of the book before I put it aside for something else and I had no motivation to pick it back up.

The synopsis had me interested, a woman having to pick her life back up again after her husband's midlife crisis. Helen is learning how to take a crisis and turn it into a second chance for others, but there is a difference between what she is doing in her Public Relations job and how she handles her personal life.

For me the biggest issue I had while reading the story was that even though the narrative was in third person, the story still jumped around between characters and it came at weird times. I felt confused about who I was following at certain times. It seemed that one thing was happening and then all of a sudden I was placed at a different part of the story.

I also was not a fan of the characters, they all had issues of some sort and it made it difficult to connect with them. From what I read, the characters also did not feel real to me, the way the spoke and acted just seemed too over the top. I hope that other readers can enjoy this one more than I did.

I really did want to get to the halfway mark for this book, but the chapters were very long and drawn out and not something that could keep my attention. Too much happened in one chapter, by the 35% mark I had only finished two chapters and there were many different character views within the short span of time.

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