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Apologize, Apologize! Hardcover – March 2, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Collie Flanagan's life is part Grey Gardens and part The Royal Tenenbaums in this beautifully written if unwieldy dramedy debut. Raised on Martha's Vineyard, Collie is the dull link in his flamboyant family: his adulterous, alcoholic father and cruelly pugnacious mother maintain a miserable relationship that overshadows even the overblown personalities of his pigeon-racing uncle and his prep-school failure brother. As storms of irresponsibility rage, Collie lives in quiet, stable success until a one-two punch of family tragedy leaves him reeling. Collie's relationship with his media magnate grandfather becomes contentious as Collie spins out of control and tries wildly different ways to make restitution and become a man. Kelly is a gifted writer (Collie's mother attacks with a verbal pitchfork. Before the night was over, just about everyone in the place had sprung leaks, blood and champagne spurting from all those glamorous human fountains), but her chops as a novelist aren't as refined: Collie is as pallid as the other characters are unbelievable, and though the crazed drama keeps the story moving, it's often incredible. Though hampered by these weaknesses, Collie's quest is worth reading for the elegant prose alone. (Mar.)
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From The New Yorker

In this rousingly pell-mell début novel, the tender arc of a bildungsroman is nearly squelched by a backdrop of epic family farce. The “fantastic Flanagans” of Squibnocket Beach suffer from “compulsive vividness.” They brawl and squall without consequences, kept afloat by money “falling from the sky like ticker tape,” courtesy of a disapproving and distant media-mogul patriarch. Ma is an aspiring Marxist insurrectionist (“Ma collected Commies the way other women accumulate Tupperware”) who thinks that being difficult is “the hallmark of the artistic mind”; Pop is a skirt-chaser and a drunk. An equally lunatic (and alcoholic) “maiden uncle” is entrusted with the actual work of bringing up the kids. All are observed with sardonic affection by the straight-arrow elder son, who lives in the shadow of his wild-card brother. Inevitably, tragedy strikes, but the giddy prose never stops, detonating like a string of firecrackers.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; 1 edition (March 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446406147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446406147
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #716,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Kelly is an award-winning journalist and former magazine editor. She has one husband and four children and lives in an old house in a small village in eastern Ontario with various dogs, cats, and pond fish. apologize, apologize! is her first novel.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Angelia Menchan on January 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Apologize, Apologize is one of the funniest, sad books, I have ever read. Collie Flanagan is a regular boy born into the most irregular family. His mother literally tells him she does not love him and prefers his younger brother. His younger brother, Bingo, is the handsome, ill-fated never-do-well, who his mother adores, as does he. His father is a broke, pretentious, philanderer who lives off his wife's money. His grandfather, father to his mother, is the wealthiest, most admired and feared man in town and the only one who isn't taken in by Bingo. He loves Collie, but, has an odd way of showing it. I tell you, Ms. Kelly writes with much wit about a family who places the the dys in dsyfunction. There were so many moments when I laughed out loud, felt sad and other times when I wanted to yell at the mean antics of the characters. The one thing I could not do is stop reading. I recommend Apologize, Apologize to all readers, especially those, who can laugh at and appreciate crazy families.

Angelia Menchan
Author of
Schae's Story: A Woman's Transformation
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By sandi beach VINE VOICE on April 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The biggest compliment I can give this book is that I could not put it down! The heartbreaking story of Collie Flanagan's life is a page turner. Around every corner of Collie's life there waits turmoil, humor and at times, child abuse. Ms. Kelly's characters are so perfectly written and she creates every nuance of their personality that you almost feel as if it's a biography rather than fiction. She is adept on so many levels in this book and her prose deserves praise for creating a story that comes to life on the page.

Throughout this novel I kept thinking of John Irving because his influence was apparent. But that is all it is--just an influence. "Apologize,Apologize!" is totally a fresh, unique, quirky tale of dysfunctional families that grabs you from page one and carries you to the end leaving you wishing for more.

I believe Ms. Kelly is off to a great start and if she continues this quality of writing along with imaginative story telling, she will be very successful. It is hard to believe that this is her first novel. I look forward to reading more of her novels in the future.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Donna Dean on February 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I seldom fail to finish a book, but this one finally got to me. The phenomenon of reviewers who examine wildly dysfunctional, ghastly people in novels/movies/TV shows, and declare the miserable circumstances in which the miserable characters wallow in circumstances utterly without redeeming social value and then declare them to be funny, rollicking, humorous, or any other positive permutation of humorous strike me as being themselves deeply disturbed. A mother who hates one of her children and doesn't hesitate to tell him so at every opportunity, while gushing sentiments perilously close to incest to her other son is not funny. A drunken sot of a father whose sole purpose within the family appears to be disgusting all and sundry, an uncle whose role is to go the father one better, but who at least feeds the kid at times, and an icy, remote grandfather who is only marginally aware of the boy are not funny. Wealth protects people like this, but does nothing tojustify their existence. As a therapist I have treated people unfortunate enough to have been raised in such twisted families, and money has only meant the parents could buy their way out of either their own sins, or the resultant activities of their offspring. No one escapes the pain and damage to the psyches, and no one escapes some sort of dysfunction in later life. None of it is funny. No one is happy. Writing books purporting to be funny when dealing with subject matter of this sort tends to fail, miserably. There are some gifted writers who can imbue their stories with a certain mad humor, this writer is not one of them. This book is not the result of such a rare gift. This book is larded with characters of such monumental self-absorption that any twinge of empathy or sympathy I might otherwise have nurtured within my breast died aborning.
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Format: Hardcover
Apologize, Apologize! is a truly incredible novel. With an original plot and a unique story, this poignant novel pulls you into a world full of contradictions and extremes. The settings for the story are written with care and skill; you can almost hear the waves crashing and nearly smell the crisp, clean air. Collie and his family make up an unforgettable cast of characters whose tumult, emotional clashes are of near-epic proportion. This story has a way of wrapping you in its craziness and dares you to open yourself up to the rich experiences. With clever humour and intelligent dialog, this story (if you let it) will draw you in and hold you with an absorbing sincerity. This Author has a brilliant gift for weaving a story that makes you incredibly happy, then drops you into a murky pool of sadness. Elizabeth Kelly has written a compelling story of a family full of characters who experience jealousy, loss, sorrow, love and unwanted redemption; this novel is a literary masterpiece!
I very highly recommend this book!

(10 out of 10 Diamonds) - Absolutely LOVED it!!

© 2008-2009 Bobbie Crawford-McCoy (Book Reviews By Bobbie).
All rights reserved.
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