Friday, March 22, 2013
A Thousand Pardons: A Novel by Jonathan Dee
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 Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home—a change that weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara.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.
Okay, so I'm probably one of the only people who didn't like this book. Actually, I didn't just like this book, I couldn't even finish the book. Yep, another book bites the dust. DNF! I swear I tried to stick with it, but somewhere along the way I just found myself bored and utterly annoyed with all of the characters. I just couldn't connect with anyone or anything in the book - I found the whole story to be a meandering mess. Of course, I didn't finish, so who knows what happened later on - maybe the story found its groove?
The bits I read revolved around Helen, Sara, and Ben - the three most selfish and flawed characters I've read in quite some time. Albeit, Sara is a child, but still, I found her to be just as cold and numb as her parents. Ben and Helen are no longer in love and are going to couples therapy - they tell Sara its date night, but in reality head over to the therapist and whine about one another. From what I gather, they are completely disconnected from one another - Ben seems rather depressed and Helen seems unable to figure out what to do with herself. Anyhow, Ben admits that he wants a divorce, he has an affair, and winds up behind bars. Helen finds a job (even though she has no qualifications and doesn't even seem like she can handle a job) and moves to NYC with her daughter. Sara lies to her mom and stays in touch with her dad, who has yet to apologize for breaking up their family. Oh, and did I mention that there is a movie star, who Helen happened to make out with as a teen, who is also a part of the story - although, I never read long enough to find out why.
I get that the theme of the book is forgiveness, but truthfully I just could not stand to read it long enough to see any of the three main characters forgive one another. The writing was not so much the problem, as was the story. I just found that as soon as I would try to get invested in a story line, suddenly I would be reading about someone else who seemed to be distantly connected to the main plot and that would throw me for a loop. Plus, I just didn't like the characters enough to want to read about them and that alone made the book a DNF for me.
Oh well, they can't all be winners, right? My fingers are crossed that my next read is a good one, because I've just DNFed two other books and that does not seem to bode well for me. Hmm. Could it be that I need a palate cleanser to get my reading mojo back?
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.