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Friday, March 8, 2013

A Thousand Pardons: A Novel

A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee jumped out at me when I read the description. How does a family cope with each others' choices?

Ben and Helen are trying to make their marriage work for the sake of their daughter, Sara, until one night Ben makes choices that will forever affect the trajectory of their family. Helen must move on from her marriage and forge a life of her own--something she has never had to do in her almost two decades of marriage. She finds a job in which she can excel and settles into her new life just before it's thrown back into chaos by the return of her ex-husband, her daughter's adolescence, and the surprise and life-altering appearance from a childhood love. How do we learn to ultimately forgive each other and ourselves?

This is not a book for the weary-hearted. It is a deep and thoughtful look at a family fallen apart and put back together again. This is a concentrated character study that looks at a group of people so lost and in search of their true selves that it serves as a reminder of how fragile we all truly are in this world.

Ben is a lost soul who is forced to find himself when messes up so hideously that he loses everything that he has. Gaining it back takes time and a contentedness that must be built and earned, not taken from somewhere else. Helen is a woman who has far more strength and savvy than she could ever imagine she has deep down inside of her. It takes gumption to not allow the difficult times to overtake you, and Helen stood up to the challenge when called upon. They must find a way to coexist and to make their new and slightly dysfunctional relationship work--if not for themselves, then for the family, the home, and the respect they once had for and and with one another.

I found myself incredibly invested in this book. Every time I picked this book back up I felt I was descending a staircase into the dark recesses of Ben's and Helen's lives. I felt a part of their world, and I wanted their story to turn out all right--if anyone could figure out what "all right" was in this case. I loved the flawed human beings that Dee built in his characters and the openness with which he shared these people with us, his readers. I closed the book understanding the old adage that if everything is not right in the end, then it's not the end--and I certainly did not think the end of the book was the end of the road for these incredible and multilayered characters.

Add this to your collection. Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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