Friday, August 30, 2013

A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee

Ben and Helen’s marriage is falling apart. A weekly visit to a marriage counselor only makes things worse.  When Ben, filled with despair, makes a series of reckless decisions, he disgraces himself and destroys his family’s comfortable upper middle class life. Ben disappears into rehab and jail, leaving Helen to deal with the resulting shame and financial problems. She puts their house on the market and moves with her pre-teen daughter to New York City. Despite little work experience, she lands a job with a small public relations firm and proves to be gifted at crisis management.  Her advice, no matter who the client is or what offense has been committed or even if the accusation is true or false, is to make a sincere apology. This strategy always works and the reputation of the restaurant, politician, or grocery store is salvaged. Helen parlays this success into a job with a larger, more prestigious firm. Her job becomes a career but, as the job becomes more demanding, her relationship with her daughter deteriorates. Ben meanwhile returns to the home he had rejected. He secretly reconnects with his daughter through text messaging and hopes to build a semblance of the life he had once so thoroughly rejected. However, the sincere apology does not work as well on Helen as an insincere one does on the general public. She is too angry, the hurt is too personal. Unless she can overcome her resentment, the family will remain torn. A Thousand Pardons demonstrates that it can be harder to accept an apology than make one. 

Those following the Ryan Braun case/ situation may find this to be an interesting spin on apologies and public relations. Check out A Thousand Pardons at the library!