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Truth in Advertising: A Novel | [John Kenney]

Truth in Advertising: A Novel

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 40. He’s recently called off a 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....
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, January 2013 - I’m excited to listen to Truth in Advertising because I can’t wait to hear Robert Petkoff’s narration. Petkoff’s performance on Beat the Reaper is what got me hooked on listening, so I have high expectations for author John Kenney’s debut. I’m currently reading it, and the book feels a lot like Jonathan Tropper’s One Last Thing Before I Go (which I loved) – funny, honest, bittersweet, and real. —Chris, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

A wickedly funny, honest, and poignant debut novel in the spirit of Then We Came to the End and This Is Where I Leave You about the absurdity of corporate life, the complications of love, and the meaning of family.

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 40. He’s recently called off a 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 of his brothers or his sister intend to visit. It’s a wake-up call for Fin to reevaluate the choices he’s made, admit that he’s falling for his co-worker Phoebe, question the importance of diapers in his life, and finally tell the truth about his life and his past.

First-time novelist John Kenney, a regular New Yorker contributor, mines his own advertising background to weave spot-on, compelling insider detail into a hilarious, insightful, at times sardonic, and ultimately moving debut.

©2013 John Kenney (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (270 )
5 star
 (65)
4 star
 (104)
3 star
 (68)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.6 (232 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (233 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (40)
2 star
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1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    L. Marshall Texas 03-01-13
    L. Marshall Texas 03-01-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Should have been a little shorter"
    Would you listen to Truth in Advertising again? Why?

    No, I rarely want to listen to a book a second time.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The story "hit the nail on the head" several times, which I found entertaining and thought provoking. However, I got tired of Finn not being truly happy.


    Any additional comments?

    Robert Petkoff is amazing reading this book. The best narrator I have heard so far!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    beantime27 SAN RAFAEL, CA, United States 02-04-13
    beantime27 SAN RAFAEL, CA, United States 02-04-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    1
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining enough"
    Would you try another book from John Kenney and/or Robert Petkoff?

    Great narration, but the story didn't capture me. I found myself really starting to hate the protagonist for how self centered, whiny and cowardly he was. My biggest pet peeve of John Kenney's as a writer is that with long sets of dialogue the only introduction used is "he said," "she said," "I said." Maybe it works on the page, but listening to it is ridiculous!


    Would you recommend Truth in Advertising to your friends? Why or why not?

    It's an easy "airplane" read, but not a "must read."


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Blumstein NYC 02-15-13
    Michael Blumstein NYC 02-15-13 Member Since 2006

    Michael Blumstein

    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
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    18
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    Story
    "Truth? Trite!"

    Hate to be suspicious, but have to wonder whether rave reviews were from friends of the author. Narrator was first-rate, but story was practically non-existent. Every now and then, there is a laugh-out-loud line, but the plot is thin and tedious. There is nothing new about the advertising world's silliness, and the protagonist's supposed family drama seemed overdone. I nearly gave up after part 1; wish I had.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Marlton, NJ, United States 03-11-15
    Tim Marlton, NJ, United States 03-11-15 Member Since 2006
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One beautiful thing."

    Resonant and moving, a John Kenney has delivered a debut that will be hard to top. Truth in Advertising is an astonishing piece of writing presented pitch perfect with flawless narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theresa LANCASTER, PA, United States 07-13-14
    Theresa LANCASTER, PA, United States 07-13-14 Member Since 2015

    Terry

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    60
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    10
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ho hum"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Maybe if Fin's dysfunctional family life was portrayed before the reader is dragged through his career/job. A job where relationships are the actual job itself.


    What was most disappointing about John Kenney’s story?

    It wanted to finish but could not.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Robert Petkoff’s performances?

    yes


    What character would you cut from Truth in Advertising?

    Fin


    Any additional comments?

    I don't have to like the main character when I read a book.
    This main character just wasn't worth reading about because too many narcissistic self indulging people already exist.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tina Buster Los Angeles, CA USA 11-27-13
    Tina Buster Los Angeles, CA USA 11-27-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    7
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    0
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    "Slow starter, but don't give up on it."
    Would you try another book from John Kenney and/or Robert Petkoff?

    Yes, but not with high expectations. Within the first half hour of listening, I almost abandoned the book because I was so put off by the superficial topic and writing style. I'm glad that I stuck with it because it got better, and there were some moments when it was great.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I am ambivalent about the performance. Most of the time, I was more aware of the narrator than the story, but I attribute that to the writing more than the narration.


    Was Truth in Advertising worth the listening time?

    Yes, the good moments outweigh the bad. It is a much more substantial story than the beginning indicates.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Johnson Washington, DC United States 10-27-13
    Kim Johnson Washington, DC United States 10-27-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
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    12
    3
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Such a Good Find"
    If you could sum up Truth in Advertising in three words, what would they be?

    Funny, Touching, Interesting


    What did you like best about this story?

    Inside baseball about the ad world.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I don't want to give it away....


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laugh out Loud. Def


    Any additional comments?

    It was a great surprise. I would LOVE to hear more books exactly like this. I don't write many reviews but had to reco this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 08-08-13
    Linda 08-08-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
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    "I do not recommend"

    Could not get interested in this, the story and character just put me off and made me feel irritated. Not much insight here, just the feeling it wasn't worth my time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl 07-10-13
    Cheryl 07-10-13 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Plan to Enjoy a Dysfunctional Family"
    Where does Truth in Advertising rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It was a great book. I just stumbled onto it, and I would read it again.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked how the story developed. I liked his compulsion to do the right thing with his father's ashes.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Robert Petkoff?

    Only if the character were supposed to be an older person. He has an older person's voice. It did not match the character.


    Who was the most memorable character of Truth in Advertising and why?

    His relationship with the Japanese son of his company's owner (whose name escapes me right at the moment). I should do these reviews immediately after the read. :)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra Garfinkle 07-02-13

    author of books for teens and children

    HELPFUL VOTES
    107
    ratings
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    154
    39
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    10
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    Performance
    Story
    "Highly Recommended"

    A witty, well-written novel with romance. What sets this apart is its intelligent humor and its insights about working in the advertising industry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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