Truth in Advertising (Paperback)

By John Kenney

Touchstone Books, 9781451675559, 308pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2013

January 2013 Indie Next List

“This funny first novel is an accomplished mix of snark and pathos. Finbar Dolan is nearly 40 and has little to show for it. He is ambivalent about his Madison Avenue advertising job, has a failed engagement behind him, and is emotionally distant from his fragmented and dysfunctional family. What he does have, however, are loyal friends, a good heart, and a razor-sharp wit. This book will not only have you laughing out loud but will also leave you keenly sympathetic to Fin's plight. It is funny and moving and reminiscent of the works of Jonathan Tropper and Nick Hornby with a little Mad Men thrown in.”
— tova beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI
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Description

"A quick-witted, wry sendup of the advertising industry and corporate culture...A clear-eyed, sympathetic story about complex family ties and the possibility of healing" (The Washington Post).

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 his wedding. Now, a few days before Christmas, he's forced to cancel a long-postponed vacation in order to write, produce, and edit a Superbowl commercial for his diaper account in record time.

Fortunately, it gets worse. He learns that his long-estranged and once-abusive father has fallen ill. And that neither his brothers nor his sister intend to visit. It's a wake-up call for Fin to re-evaluate 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 life and his past.

In the spirit of Then We Came to the End and This Is Where I Leave You, novelist John Kenney, a regular New Yorker contributor, mines his own advertising background to creating this moving debut, nothing short of "a masterful blend of wit and seriousness, stunning in its honesty" (Booklist, starred review).
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