"F. Scott Fitzgerald said that there are no second acts in American lives. I have no idea what that means but I believe that in quoting him I appear far more intelligent than I am. I don't know about second acts, but I do think we get second chances, fifth chances, eighteenth chances. Every day we get a fresh chance to live the way we want."
Finbar Dolan is lost and lonely. Except he doesn't know it. Despite escaping his blue-collar Boston upbringing to carve out a mildly successful career at a Madison Avenue ad agency, he's a bit of a mess and closing in on forty. He's recently called off a wedding. Now, a few days before Christmas, he's forced to cancel a long-postponed vacation in order to write, produce, and edit a Super Bowl commercial for his diaper account in record time.
Fortunately, it gets worse. Fin learns that his longestranged and once-abusive father has fallen ill. And that neither of his brothers or his sister intend to visit. It's a wake-up call for Fin to reevaluate the choices he's made, admit that he's falling for his coworker Phoebe, question the importance of diapers in his life, and finally tell the truth about his past.
Truth in Advertising is debut novelist John Kenney's wickedly funny, honest, at times sardonic, and ultimately moving story about the absurdity of corporate life, the complications of love, and the meaning of family.
"The protagonist, Finbar Dolan, is Don Draper stripped of all his glamour, success and pomade. What Fin, a midlevel copywriter, does have on Don is a sense of humor... Framed around a surprisingly sweet romance, as well as Fin's eventual confrontation with his painful family history, this debut offers a pleasing lightness-to-heart ratio." - New York Times
"In this Nick Hornby-esque fiction debut, midlife crisis and family tragedy force a 39-year-old ad man to reevaluate his priorities." - O Magazine
"A lively debut that has 'movie deal' written all over it." - People Magazine
"We're sold on Kenney's trenchant, quick-witted debut. A-" - Entertainment Weekly
"Set firmly in ad land. And it's hilarious." - Advertising Age
"A comic tour de force; fans of Nick Hornby and Jonathan Tropper will have a new author to watch for." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. With wry humor, always on point, Kenney guides us through the maze of work, family, love (elusive) and friendship (a lifesaver). This is an outstanding debut." - Kirkus Reviews
"Starred Review. A masterful blend of wit and seriousness, stunning in its honesty. A novel sure to appeal to fans of Nick Hornby." - Booklist
"Starred Review. With wry wit, excellent pacing, and pitch-perfect, often hilarious, dialog, Kenney has created something remarkable: a surprisingly funny novel about an adult American male finally becoming a man. Highly recommended." - Library Journal
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Rated of 5
This book wasn't what I expected at all - it was much more. On one level, it is definitely for fans of Jonathan Tropper's work. But on another level, the reader comes to the realization at the same time the protagonist does how much our childhood experiences impact our adulthood. I highly recommend this book.
John Kenney has worked as a copywriter in New York City for seventeen years. He has also been a contributor to The New Yorker magazine since 1999. Some of his work appears in a collection of the New Yorker's humor writing, Disquiet Please! He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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