Truth in Advertising: A Novel by John Kenney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read a sample of this in the 2012 BEA sampler, and then requested it via NetGalley. It isn't set to come out until 2013, but I think this is one first novel worth a read.
Fin works as a copy writer for an advertising agency in NYC. During the time of the story, his biggest project is diapers, and he has to find ways to be creative while life is in a bit of turmoil - he has called off his wedding and his father is dying.
I feel like a lot of authors write about unhappy people, but this isn't as one-note as some of the more well known authors who are acclaimed for this feat (*cough* McEwan *cough* Franzen). I appreciated the constant internal dialogue between him and his imagination, whether that was fake interviews with talk show hosts or his internal voice which insists on calling him Gary. Ultimately I don't think he's determined to be unhappy, which helps. He is sympathetic while still being funny.
"The lucky ones have a passion. The other 98 percent of us end up doing something we kind-of, sort-of like-ish. The place where you show up for work every day for five, ten, twenty years is who you are. Isn't it? And yet from time to time, there is that small voice that screams, 'Leave. Go. This isn't what you want.' Except that other voice, the one that calls you Gary, whispers, 'But where would you go? And what would you do?'"
"There are people who believe that life can be lived rationally, that we are in control of our deepest, most powerful emotions, that we can perhaps even escape the deep markers from the early days, the crucial days, where we learn it all. Those people are called crazy."