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Family Plots: Love, Death & Tax Evasion Paperback – October 29, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (October 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440104662
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440104664
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,301,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Patrick Kavanaugh has a checkered professional past that includes time served in a wide range of professions, ranging from private investigator to Avon Lady. Recently, after a series of crushing disappointments, Mary redirected a life long dream of becoming bestselling author into a new goal of being the most successful failure possible. In this role she offers workshops, products, and cheap advice that assist the downtrodden to reframe difficult experiences in a positive way. Her website, www.mydreamisdeadbutimnot.com, serves as a gateway to a virtual cemetery that invites visitors to bury the failed dreams that have morphed into obstacles to light hearted living. Because no life is only about its flops, the author admits to having one perfect daughter, one happy marriage with a loving (but now dead) husband, one well-adjusted cat that prefers to live with her aunt, and a confusing, yet fun, personal life. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from University of San Francisco (2003), a BA in History from San Francisco State University (1988), good teeth, and an excellent credit rating.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
The plot twists kept me reading as well.
Jan Stites
Family Plots reminds us not to take life too seriously and inspires us to be brave - for ourselves and the ones we love.
Michael
As I started reading chapter one I relaxed into what I can say is a pleasant and easy read.
Sheila A. Dechantal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anne Moose on November 24, 2008
Verified Purchase
Family Plots is wonderful on so many levels that I'm afraid I won't do it justice, but I'm going to try, because I think Mary Patrick Kavanaugh and her incredible first book deserve widespread recognition. Though it's written as a novel, the book is basically the true story of the author's search for love and stability for herself and her small daughter. She does find happiness, but there's a hitch: the man of her dreams is not exactly on the up and up, an he comes with a cast of characters that are both mysterious and shady. I won't try to summarize the plot, because I don't want to give anything away, but it's a remarkable, sometimes zany story with unforgettable characters, masterful dialog, and so much humor and heart that I predict it will become a best seller. This book is simply a pleasure to read, and though it's humorous throughout, it ultimately takes you to a place that is surprisingly serious, with messages about love and humanity that are deeply moving. Family Plots has everything. Above all, it has Mary, whose honesty and quirky take on life make it one of the best modern novels I've read. I simply love this book, and heartily recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good story, superb writing, and the kind of wit and wisdom that make you fall in love not only with the book, but also with the author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Miller on December 20, 2008
A very funny yet poignant book. The author is an amazing writer. I kept reading excerpts to my wife as I was reading - I hope I didn't spoil it for her. This is the best creator of metaphors I have ever read. I wanted to stop and write some of them down because they were so evocative of images and memory. A poetic experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael on May 26, 2009
A real life underdog, Cemetery Mary battles deceit, deception, and life's (and family) drama with every well-written page. Family Plots reminds us not to take life too seriously and inspires us to be brave - for ourselves and the ones we love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 17, 2009
Self-published after "sixteen rejections from prominent New York publishers in 2008", Kavanaugh's biographical novel is a tour de force of sorts, a purging of ten years of bad decisions, questionable business practices and love among the ruins. Breaking up with the father of her little daughter, Mary's first mission, other than panic, is to rebuild a shoddy credit history and find a job. It is just after the Loma Prieta earthquake in northern California in 1989: Mary's trembling building is an apt metaphor for her life thus far. One of three siblings, Mary is the child of parents without boundaries, given to the quick fix and problem avoidance. So when she reconnects with an ex-boss, Dan Murphy, the result is romance rather than employment opportunity. Charmed by the slightly older Dan, a criminal lawyer, Mary buys into his facile explanation for conducting business under the radar, ignoring the red flags waving in her face.

Mary is a romantic at heart, self-deprecating, acerbic, all too readily accepting Dan's questionable business practices in exchange for a satisfying personal life. Until the ten-year anniversary of the earthquake, Mary rides an emotional rollercoaster, clinging to her love for Dan in spite of his shady, never-ending deals and criminally-inclined business partners. Dan always has a deal about to be made, a distrust of the government, an aversion to paper trails and a proclivity for cash transactions. Besides the nagging mystery of Dan's brother's death years earlier, his eccentric parents are proof that this particular apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. Avid visitors to the family cemetery plot, Dan's parents harbor similar quirky behaviors, stashing cash in paper bags in the basement, secrets withheld from one another.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mcdonough on November 17, 2008
This is a fun read with lots of humor that makes the journey through some serious life crisis totally entertaining. The humor reminded me a bit of the writing of Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nancy J. Kavanaugh on December 2, 2008
Mary has writtin a very interesting life story sticking with her "family plot" and main characters, giving them life through their conversations, expressions and discription. I felt like I was with her.
The story was suspenceful and sensitive, conveying a feeling of open hearted honesty and the universal human experience with the power of love, forgiveness, letting go and over coming the "odds".
Thank you Mary!
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Verified Purchase
I'm astonished that this was self-published - that no publisher picked it up, as it is
a. such a funny, engrossing and enjoyable read;
b. so easy to relate to.
It's the kind of book you recommend and pass around to friends - great for a book club.

"Autobiographical novel" tags this author's honest writing (isn't every autobiography *really* somewhat of a novel?). She nails dysfunky family behavior and personal mistakes, and does it with humor and compassion - and role-models lessons for me: Only someone with hard-won wisdom and maturity could write about her "failures" like this; I would not be nearly so poised (nor that funny and philosophical), so I'm taking it as a hint-to-self.

Autobiography, comic novel, drama, mystery...a nourishing and satisfying read! I hope it's made into a movie.
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