Author John Kenney
Publication Date January 22nd 2013
Genre: General Fiction
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A wickedly funny, honest, and poignant debut novel in the spirit of Then We Came to the End and This Is Where I Leave You about the absurdity of corporate life, the complications of love, and the meaning of family.
“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 long-estranged 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.
Truth in Advertising is long-winded, and disjointed, with an ADHD attempt at witty writing. There were actually a few moments where I was reminded of a David Sedaris’ panache but those were fleeting and rather reverted back to a moronic, sophomoric teenage boy sense of humor. An example being a commercial using the Old MacDonald song, a chicken saying “a cock, cock here and a cock, cock there.” Thus they have a “cock problem”. It’s funny the first time but like all burp and fart jokes they start to stink pretty fast.
There were also fleeting mentions of an ex-fiance but they were very jagged and felt like a sub-plot the author started and then forgot to remove. In general Fin was an unlikeable character who I really could have cared less about. I can’t place a finger on it but there was just something about him that rubbed me the wrong way; so much so (and excuse the pun) but I could not even make it to the “Fin” of this book.