A Thousand Pardons: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS

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 ...
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A Thousand Pardons: A Novel

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Overview

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS

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 Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home—a change that weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara.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.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

Praise for A Thousand Pardons
 
A Thousand Pardons is that rare thing: a genuine literary thriller. Eerily suspenseful and packed with dramatic event, it also offers a trenchant, hilarious portrait of our collective longing for authenticity in these overmediated times.”—Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

“Hugely enjoyable . . . Dee is a snappy, cinematic writer. . . . A Thousand Pardons moves fast. It’s a mere 200 or so pages, and it packs a lot of turns of fate within there.”The Boston Globe
 
“Dee’s gifts are often dazzling and his material meticulously shaped. . . . [He] articulates complex emotional dynamics with precision and insight.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Some stories begin with a bang. And some begin with a roaring fireball of truth. Jonathan Dee’s latest novel belongs in the latter camp.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Dee bounds gracefully among Helen’s, Ben’s, and Sara’s points of view as they try to reassemble their lives. Their stories feel honest, and the prose is beautiful.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“A page turner . . . What a triumph.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“Graceful prose and such a sharp understanding of human weakness that you’ll wince as you laugh.”—People
 
“Propulsively readable.”—The Millions
 
“Dee continues to establish himself as an ironic observer of contemporary behavior. . . . The plot is energetic. . . . But most compelling is the acuteness of the details.”—The Atlantic

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Katharine Noel
Dee articulates complex emotional dynamics with precision and insight……[He] nicely captures the adolescent Sara, who is coming of age without much help from her physically absent father or her emotionally preoccupied mother. The interactions between Sara and her mother are small wonders, each seemingly mundane conversation showing at its root a deep tangle of rejection and misunderstanding and longing. Likewise, Ben's story becomes increasingly moving as he attempts to build a new life from the wreckage of his old one.
Publishers Weekly
“Something’s got to happen,” complains middle-aged suburbanite Ben Armstead, before destroying his marriage and career with a workplace tryst at the start of Dee’s undercooked new novel (after The Privileges, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize). Newly divorced, Ben’s ex-wife Helen moves to Manhattan with their adopted Chinese daughter Sara. Helen discovers that she has a gift for public relations and finds work at a PR firm, though she lacks experience and training. Before Ben can say “mea culpa,” Helen is headhunted by a powerhouse firm, whose leader calls her approach to PR “the wave of the future.” But when old school crush Hamilton Barth, now a troubled movie star, comes to her with a problem, she turns her PR skills to helping him, which ultimately puts Helen, Ben, and Sara in the same place again. A number of problems plague this novel: the thin Hamilton is ultimately inconsequential to the book, as is the romance between Sara and a black classmate discovering identity politics. Worse is Helen’s transformation from housewife to PR genius, which happens in a blink and is given no support. “She could see he was coming around, just like they always did,” she thinks while meeting with an early client. These flaws are a pity because Dee shines when unveiling the inner workings of the PR industry, which is at once ubiquitous and obscure. When the author focuses on the ways in which public opinion is routinely manipulated, he gives a tantalizing glimpse at what might have been. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
A Thousand Pardons is that rare thing: a genuine literary thriller. Eerily suspenseful and packed with dramatic event, it also offers a trenchant, hilarious portrait of our collective longing for authenticity in these overmediated times.”—Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad
 
“Hugely enjoyable . . . Dee is a snappy, cinematic writer. . . . A Thousand Pardons moves fast. It’s a mere 200 or so pages, and it packs a lot of turns of fate within there.”The Boston Globe
 
“Dee’s gifts are often dazzling and his material meticulously shaped. . . . [He] articulates complex emotional dynamics with precision and insight.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Some stories begin with a bang. And some begin with a roaring fireball of truth. Jonathan Dee’s latest novel belongs in the latter camp.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Dee bounds gracefully among Helen’s, Ben’s, and Sara’s points of view as they try to reassemble their lives. Their stories feel honest, and the prose is beautiful.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“A page turner . . . What a triumph.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“Graceful prose and such a sharp understanding of human weakness that you’ll wince as you laugh.”—People
 
“Propulsively readable.”—The Millions
 
“Dee continues to establish himself as an ironic observer of contemporary behavior. . . . The plot is energetic. . . . But most compelling is the acuteness of the details.”—The Atlantic
Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize finalist Dee goes au courant with the story of a woman who returns to work when her corporate-lawyer husband loses all after an egregious act at the office. Helen, now in public relations, has a handy talent for getting powerful men to apologize for their misdeeds.
Kirkus Reviews
A marriage flames out. Gleefully, thrillingly, Dee (The Privileges, 2010, etc.) tracks its aftermath, focusing primarily on the evolution of the ex-wife. That's Helen Armstead, struggling to save a dying marriage. Husband Ben, partner in a New York City law firm, has been so deeply depressed he's ignored not just her and their upstate home, but their 12-year-old daughter, Sara (Chinese, adopted). The end comes fast. Ben, discovered in a hotel room with his intern, is beaten bloody by her boyfriend, then discovered again in his car, drunk and unconscious. Fired, and facing rape and DWI charges, he goes into rehab. Divorce filed but their assets frozen, Helen, a stay-at-home mom, must hustle to find work. She lucks out when she's hired by a down-at-the-heels PR company in the city. Her first assignment, persuading the owner of a Chinese restaurant chain to publish an apology to his striking workers, is a huge success. Even the boss' sudden death doesn't slow Helen down. She persuades two more male clients, drowning in bad publicity, to go the apology route. Her crisis management skills attract the attention of a huge PR company, which recruits her. This is not some empowerment fairy tale; Dee keeps the action grounded and credible. In an already dramatic story, the most sizzling drama comes after Helen accidentally meets an old childhood classmate at a movie premiere. Hamilton Barth is a Hollywood superstar, a deeply troubled man with a history of benders and blackouts; a greatly magnified version of Ben. When Helen subsequently gets a rescue-me call from Hamilton in a Vermont motel, the already brisk pace becomes breakneck. There's a young woman missing, bloody sheets and an amnesiac Hamilton willing to believe the worst of himself. It will take all Helen's crisis management skills to resolve this one. With his sixth novel, Pulitzer finalist Dee has written a page turner without sacrificing a smidgen of psychological insight. What a triumph.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679645009
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/12/2013
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 74,727
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jonathan Dee is the author of five previous novels, most recently The Privileges, which was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and winner of the 2011 Prix Fitzgerald and the St. Francis College Literary Prize. He is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, a National Magazine Award–nominated literary critic for Harper’s, a former senior editor of The Paris Review, and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.
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Read an Excerpt

1

Helen tried not to look at her watch, because looking at your watch never changed anything, but it was already a quarter to seven and her husband’s headlights had yet to appear at the top of the hill. Evening had darkened to the point where she had to press her forehead to the kitchen window and frame her eyes with her hands just to see outside. Meadow Close was a dead end street, and so even if she couldn’t make out the car itself, the moment she saw headlights of any kind cresting the hill there was a one in six chance they were Ben’s. More like one in three, actually, because by turning her face a bit in the bowl of her hands she could see the Hugheses’ car parked in their driveway, and the Griffins’, and that obscene yellow Hummer that belonged to Dr. Parnell—­

“Mom!” Sara yelled from the living room. “Can I have some more seltzer?”

Twelve was old enough to get your own fanny out of the chair and pour your own third glass of seltzer. But it was Tuesday, and on Tuesday evening guilt always ruled, which was why Sara was eating dinner in front of the TV in the first place, and so Helen said only, pointedly, “Please?”

“Please,” Sara answered.

She couldn’t help stealing a look at the kitchen clock as she closed the refrigerator door. Six-­fifty. Mr. Passive Aggressive strikes again, she thought. She wasn’t always confident she understood that expression correctly—­passive aggressive—­but she referred to it instinctively whenever Ben failed to do something he had promised her he would do. Sara was sitting on the couch with her plate on her lap and her feet on the coffee table, watching some horrific show about rich girls; she still wore her shin guards but at least she’d remembered to take her cleats off. Helen placed the seltzer bottle on the table at a safe distance from her daughter’s right foot.

“Thank you?” she said.

“Thank you,” Sara repeated.

Then they both turned to watch a beam of light finish raking the kitchen, and a few seconds later Helen heard the lazy thump of a car door. Instead of relaxing, she grew more agitated. She hated to be late for things, and he knew that about her, or should have. Ben walked through the front door, wearing his slate-­gray suit with an open collar and no tie. When he was preoccupied, which was his word for depressed, he had a habit of pulling off his tie in the car and then forgetting it there; last Sunday Helen, passing his Audi in the garage, had glanced through the window and seen three or four neckties slithering around on the passenger seat. It had sent a little shudder through her, though she didn’t know why. His eyes moved indifferently from Sara to her dinner plate to the TV as he trudged past them toward the hallway, but his expression didn’t change; he was sunk too deep in whatever he was sunk in even to make the effort to convey his disapproval. Helen followed him into their bedroom. He finished emptying his pockets onto the dresser and then turned toward her without a trace of engagement, as if she were trying to talk to a photo of him.

“We’re late,” she said.

He shrugged, but did not so much as consult the watch right there on his wrist. “So let’s go,” he said.

“You’re not going to change?”

“What for?”

She rolled her eyes. “It’s Date Night?” she said.

He scowled and started taking off his pants. Really, it was like having two adolescents in the house sometimes. So that he wouldn’t lose focus—­he was perfectly capable, these days, of sitting on the bed in his shorts with his lips moving silently for half an hour or more—­she stood there and watched him pull on a clean sweater and a pair of pressed jeans. His hair still looked like he’d been driving with the top down, but whatever. That kind of detail Sara was very unlikely to notice. When he was done they marched back out through the living room and Helen grabbed her bag and kissed Sara on the top of her head.

“You can call either cell,” she said. “We’ll be back by eight thirty. You know the drill.”

On the television a girl and her father appeared to be auditioning a group of male strippers. “Happy Date Night,” Sara said in a deep voice meant to sound hickish or retarded, and with one finger she mimed inducing herself to vomit.

They took Ben’s car because it was still in the driveway. Helen tossed his necktie onto the back seat. He drove too fast, but only because he always drove too fast, and they were ten minutes late for Dr. Becket. Not that Becket seemed to care. Why would she? She got paid for the hour either way. So if she doesn’t mind, Helen thought as they took their seats at the threadbare arms of the couch, and Ben doesn’t mind, then why am I the only one who minds? What is the matter with me?

“So how was your week?” Becket said. She wore her hair in a tight gray braid whose teardrop-­shaped bottom was nearly white. The office was in the rear section of an old carriage house that had long ago been converted for commercial use by a real estate broker, who operated out of the half of the house that faced the road and rented out the back. Fourteen years ago, when they were trying to make themselves look stabler and more prosperous for the insanely superficial Chinese adoption agencies, Helen and Ben had bought the Meadow Close house from that very broker. Now it was night and the only light on in the house was Dr. Becket’s. Where was her husband? What did her kids do when she worked nights? Helen didn’t always feel that certain about her, but unless you wanted to drive all the way to White Plains and back, Dr. Becket was the only game in town.

“Maybe a little better,” Helen answered, when it became apparent Ben wasn’t going to say anything. It was a lie, but in the atmosphere of this sorry room the truth was generally something you had to work up to. “We tried some of the things you suggested last time. We tried to at least sit down for meals together, even though that’s difficult with Ben working past seven most nights.”

“I know a number of couples,” Becket said, “find that it works well to set aside one night a week for spending that kind of time together, make it part of the schedule rather than subject to the schedule, if you see what I mean. Like a Date Night.” They both snorted, and it gave Helen a little nostalgic pang, honestly, just for the two of them to laugh at the same thing, at the same time. Becket raised her eyebrows, with her typical maddening dispassion.

“We can’t really use that one,” Helen explained. “We’ve been telling Sara that we’re on Date Night every week when we come here.”

“Maybe we can tell her that Thursday is our night to date other people,” Ben said.

“That’s not really that funny,” Helen said, but it was too late, Becket was leaning forward, sinking her teeth into it like she did into any stupid, spontaneous thing either of them might ever blurt out. “I’m curious why you say that, Ben,” she purred. “Is that something you’d like to do? See other people?”

Helen closed her eyes. Dr. Becket was just confirming every stereotype Ben held of her, every complaint he went through on the drive home every week about how she was a huckster, a charlatan, who didn’t do anything except repeat whatever you said to her and then ask you what it meant. Why are we even doing this? he would ask. What is the point? Because you had to do something: she had no better answer than that, which was why she usually delivered it silently. You had to try something, even something as wasteful and frustrating and demeaning as this weekly hour in the back of the carriage house, because to do nothing was to find it acceptable that you were in a marriage where you hardly spoke to or touched each other, where your husband was so depressed he was like the walking dead and yet the solipsism of his depression only made you feel cheated and angry, and your daughter was old enough now that none of this was lost on her whether she knew it yet or not.

But now thirty seconds had gone by and Helen hadn’t heard him say anything or even make some kind of immature, derisive sighing sound, as he usually did; and when she opened her eyes again and looked at him, what she saw, to her astonishment, was her husband wiping his eyes with the back of his hand like a child.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes. I mean Jesus. I would love to see other people.”

Which could only be followed by a momentous silence; but since silence was anathema to Dr. Becket, on the grounds that silence might belong to anyone but vapid professional jargon was something that could bear her own distinctive stamp, she said to him, “Stay with that.”

“Not anybody in particular,” he went on. “In fact, a stranger would be best. I would like to wake up tomorrow next to someone who has no idea who I am. I would like to look out the window and not recognize anything. I would like to look in the fucking mirror,” he said with a truly inappropriate laugh, “and see other people. I mean, I cannot be the only person who feels that way. Are you seriously telling me that you don’t feel that way too?”

It wasn’t clear which of them he was speaking to; he was staring at the carpet, tears hanging from his nose, and stressing certain words with a kind of karate-­chop motion of his hands.

“Helen, what are you feeling right now?” Dr. Becket said.

Ben was right, she thought; it was all an act, the gray-­haired old fake maintained an air of smug control even though she had no better idea what the hell was happening in front of her than either of her patients did. “A lot of things,” Helen said, trying to laugh. “I guess mostly that that is the longest I have heard him talk at one stretch in like a month.”

“Because it’s all so unsurprising,” Ben said, very much as if he hadn’t heard anyone else’s voice. “I’m scared of it. I’m scared of every single element of my day. Every meal I eat, every client I see, every time I get into or out of the car. It all frightens the shit out of me. Have you ever been so bored by yourself that you are literally terrified? That is what it’s like for me every day. That is what it’s like for me sitting here, right now, right this second. It’s like a fucking death sentence, coming back to that house every night. I mean, no offense.”

“No offense?” Helen said.

“It’s not that Helen herself is especially boring, I don’t mean that, or that some other woman might be more or less boring. It’s the situation. It’s the setup. It’s not you per se.”

“Oh, thank you so much,” Helen said, her heart pounding.

“Every day is a day wasted, and you know you only get so many of them and no more, and if anybody uses the phrase ‘midlife crisis’ right now I swear to God I am coming back here with a gun and shooting this place up like Columbine. It is an existential crisis. Every day is unique and zero-­sum and when it is over you will never get it back, and in spite of that, in spite of that, when every day begins I know for a fact that I have lived it before, I have lived the day to come already. And yet I’m scared of dying. What kind of fucking sense does that make? I don’t think I am too good for it all, by the way. In fact I am probably not good enough for it, if you want to think of it like that. I am bored to near panic by my home and my work and my wife and my daughter. Think that makes me feel superior? But once you see how rote and lifeless it all is, you can’t just unsee it, that’s the thing. I even got Parnell across the street to write me a prescription for Lexapro, did you know that?” He finally looked up at Helen, whose hand was over her mouth, as if miming for him what she wanted him to do, to stop talking, to turn back. “Of course you didn’t know that, how would you know that. Anyway, I took it for two months, and you know what? It didn’t make the slightest fucking difference in how I feel about anything. And I’m glad.”

Helen stole a glance at Becket, who was sitting forward with her fingers steepled under her weak chin. She could not have looked more pleased with herself.

“Something’s got to give,” Ben said. He sounded tired all of a sudden, as if the act of denouncing his wife and child and the whole life they had led together had taken a lot out of him. Poor baby, Helen thought hatefully. “Something’s got to happen. It is hard to get outside yourself. It’s hard to get outside the boundaries of who you are. Why is that so hard? But the pressure just builds up until there’s some kind of combustion, I guess, and if it doesn’t kill you then maybe it throws you clear of everything, of who you are. Well, either way. I suppose that’s how it works.”

He sat back into the couch, the same couch where his wife sat, and within half a minute he had disappeared again, his face had resolved into the same zombie cast Helen had been looking at for a year now, two years maybe, without ever really guessing what was going on behind it.

“I know it may seem painful,” Becket said, “but I think we have really, really given ourselves something to build on here tonight.”
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 13 )
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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

    Jonathan Dee writes so well, and he's a mighty good storyteller.

    Jonathan Dee writes so well, and he's a mighty good storyteller. You will get caught up in the story from the first chapter. The following one focusing on Helen is even better. Dee writes characters well, both men and women, but especially women. His dialogue is natural, enviably tight and almost always unexpected. What struck me days after finishing the book is that, for a story about wrongdoings and the possibility of forgiveness, there are no VICTIMS. How refeshing is that in a world that often seems filled with only victims--even the criminals are pitched as victims. To read the book is to be awestruck by the artistry of the writing and to naturally want more. Enjoy!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 2, 2013

    A beautiful picture of contemporary society Very nice work on t

    A beautiful picture of contemporary society

    Very nice work on the skids of life, forgiveness, appearances and the art of public relations.

    It all starts with Ben, a lawyer, who tries to spice up his boring life by lusting after a trainee. In an instant, everything change. After a few law pursuits, he finds himself without a job, without family and money. He is required to reflect on his actions and the mess in which he put himself.

    Helen, Ben's wife, is an innocent accomplice of the collapse of her husband. By closing her eyes and accepting his excuses, she left her marriage to waste away. Privileged housewife for years, the scandal and the need for money forced her to give a new meaning to her life. Looking for a job in New York, a fluke sent her into the world of PR.

    In a society accustomed to lying as if it was breathing, soon the confessions and penances withdrawn from her customers made the buzz.

    Through this couple and the various characters you came accross, the author tells simple stories of dissatisfaction, acceptance of a monotonous routine without daring to make some changes. 
    The private jail you put yourself into, caused by the lies told to people that are watered by our beliefs, are easy to forget with alcohol. But sometimes, honesty and sincerity can relieve yourself from deeper troubles than a bottle of Jack Daniels.

    Then, there are the stories related to Sara. An adopted teenager who is undergoing many changes as she tries to find her own place in life. The coldness of her relationship with Helen shows the complexity of mother-daughter relationships and the difficulty to meet the expectations and desires of all members of the same family.

    A beautiful picture of contemporary society portrayed through the events that shook a bourgeois family. A heavy emphasis on the world of PR and image that you want to show off.
    A nice read with characters who make mistakes, but still go forward.

    Lucie
    newbooksonmyselves.blogspot.fr

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2014

    Beautifully defined characters in realistic situations.  Dee is

    Beautifully defined characters in realistic situations.  Dee is a gifted writer who draws you into the story with his ability to make situations real and true.  Excellent!

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    Great Read

    I thought the book was some what slow in the beginning. Easy reading and great for a weekend or at the beach. The story line was very predictable and I was hoping for a little more of a twist. But all in all I would recommend the book to friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    All over the place

    Story written w unrelated tangents. Not a good flow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2013

    Hated it

    This book went nowhere. Too many story lines started and never seen through to fruition. The characters were shallowly written and neither lovable nor hateable. I am shocked that this is considered a page turner by so many when, in my opinion, there wasn't an ounce of suspense in one of the measley 206 pages.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    Highly recommend!

    Great read. The story kept me interested, and it was hard to put down. Great for the summer!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    An enjoyable book with an interesting premise.  Would really giv

    An enjoyable book with an interesting premise.  Would really give it 3.5 stars

    Although I would not class A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee as one of the best books I have read, I did enjoy it. The problem is, I can't quite decide what it is about the book that drew me in. The item in the book that sets the story in motion is a glaringly bad decision made by Ben Armstead, a middle aged lawyer in the midst of a mid life crisis. When Ben decides to have a fling with a summer intern in his office, not only does his whole life start to unravel, but so do the lives of his wife, Helen, and daughter, Sarah. Dee spends the rest of the book detailing how these three characters work to get their lives back on track. 




    Eventually Helen becomes aware that she is going to have to go to work, and surprisingly, lands a job at a one-man PR firm in Manhattan. It is in the pursuit of doing her job that Helen comes into her own, counseling clients that a sincere apology can do a lot more for your image than trying to hide from the truth will. I have to admit, I found this idea of taking responsibility for your actions and living up to your commitments refreshing. It is probably the best thing about this book, and something that I feel is sorely lacking in large portions of our current society. The more respect and success that Helen garnered by promoting this idea, the more I liked the book. I also liked the contrast that the author presented during the one crisis when Helen deviates from this approach. It is the inclusion of this crisis and what it highlights about business as usual in today's society that really made the book for me. 




    Another plus was the straightforward method of telling the story that the author used. This is not a complex and twisted story of what motivates people and drives them to make the choices that they make. If it were, I may have given it 5 stars. As it is, I enjoyed the straightforward method that he used in telling his story, and again, found it refreshing. 




    The characters in the book were certainly not it's strongest draw. I can only think of one character who did not come across as mostly weak and ineffectual. That character was Helen's first boss and he did not have a very large role in the book. That is not to say that the other characters did not have short moments of brilliance, but they were just too few and far between for me. They were, though, somewhat redeeming and the things that kept me reading. 




    In the published description of the book the overlying theme of the book is stated as "what do we really want when we ask for forgiveness?" I felt it was more along the line of, "what are we really looking for when we realize that we have made a mistake?", but all in all, I felt the question raised was worth exploring and that Jonathan Dee did a reasonable, although not exceptional, job of exploring it.  As such, I am giving the book 3 stars, but it is probably more like a 3.5 star book.  




    I would like to thank both Netgalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.  

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