A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee
Posted by Caitie F on March 15, 2013
Summary from goodreads:
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 Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home—a change that weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara. In one afternoon, Ben’s recklessness takes a turn, and everything the Armsteads have built together unravels.
Thrust back into the working world, Helen finds a job in PR and relocates with Sara from their home in upstate New York to an apartment in Manhattan. There, Helen discovers she has a rare gift: 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.
When I saw that this book was compared to Jonathan Frazen, I was a little leary. While I think Frazen has a good writing style, I really disliked the characters.
And in that respect, this was very comprable. Helen was irritating, Benjamin was a little pathetic, and their daughter was a bratty teenager. I mean a really bratty teenager. I didn’t want to see anything in her perspective and every time it switched to her, I was instantly annoyed.
Yet switching perspective between the characters made the book so much more interesting and a better read. If it had been just Helen or just Benjamin, I think it would have been harder to understand what was really going on, even though it would have been easier to understand their motivations. I felt like I never really knew any of the characters.
What saved this book and made me finish it was the writing and the style. I really enjoyed how Dee told the story and the way he described everything. It was really compelling and held my interest when the characters and plot were only okay. To me, that is the sign of someone who knows that craft of writing.
If you are a fan of Franzen’s work, this is a book for you!