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Publisher's Summary

A wildly entertaining debut about a Brooklyn Heights wife and mother who has embezzled a small fortune from her children's private school and makes a run for it, leaving behind her trust fund poet husband, his maybe-secret lover, her two daughters, and a school board who will do anything to find her.

Marion Palm prefers not to think of herself as a thief but rather "a woman who embezzles". Over the years she has managed to steal $180,000 from her daughters' private school, money that has paid for European vacations, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, and perpetually unused state-of-the-art exercise equipment. But now, when the school faces an audit, Marion pulls piles of rubber-banded cash from their basement hiding places and flees, leaving her family to grapple with the baffled detectives, the irate school board, and the mother-shaped hole in their house. Told from the points of view of Nathan, Marion's husband, heir to a long-diminished family fortune; Ginny, Marion's teenage daughter who falls helplessly in love at the slightest provocation; Jane, Marion's youngest, who is obsessed with a missing person of her own; and Marion herself, on the lam - and hiding in plain sight.

©2017 Emily Culliton (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"This debut novel has what many others lack: a wicked sense of humor. Verdict: With her mordant wit, deft plotting, and clever storytelling, Culliton is a young novelist to watch." (Leslie Patterson, Library Journal)
"[A] wonderful and sharp debut novel.... When Marion meets handsome, rich poet, Nathan Palm, she achieves a dream of financial security and stability. But reality is cruel and Nathan is not as wealthy as she thought...Culliton's prose is effortless and wickedly clever; its ability to condone and condemn in the most succinct way is a testament to the author's storytelling and characterization skills...Irresistible. This debut novel signals the arrival of an exciting talent." ( Publishers Weekly)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book if you can enjoy unsympathetic characters

I enjoyed this book a lot. My heart raced for Marion Palm, but I couldn't decide if it was because I wanted her to succeed, or fail. Almost every adult was worthy of disgust, and in that, somehow Marion garners more of the reader's sympathy than the technically guiltless men and women surrounding her.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anita
  • PORTLAND, OR, United States
  • 08-12-17

Not a redeeming character in the book!

Trust me, you will not like even one character - not the leads, not the kids, not the victims. But don't let that stop you from listening - you'll want to know just how or if they get their "just desserts"! The narration is outstanding. This, I believe, is what real life is like rather than Hollywood - all the loose ends don't necessarily get tied up. I truly enjoyed it!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

entertaining

This book was well written with interesting insights into each character. Not an edge of the seater but a good read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Better than the typical beach read

We read this story for our book club and it provoked a lot of great discussion. I would definitely recommend it.

The characters unfolded in layers over time. You have the current and unfolding story of Marion, the woman who embezzles and over the course of the book you learn her backstory and why she became who she is. A similar format is used to uncover who her truly jerky husband is over time. You also are hearing the effect of Marion's abandonment on her daughters who react very differently and in interesting ways. Following these four main character's journeys for better or worse was my favorite part of the story. I loved to hate the husband. I felt a lot of compassion for the girls and I listened in wonder at Marion's choices. Most of the characters in this book were very unlikeable in a great way.

The narrarator was well chosen and her performance of Marion was excellent.

The Misfortune of Marion Palm was a very easy listen (and I imagine a very easy read). Despite the lightness of the writing style, it made for a interesting night of dissection and debate.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A bit depressing

Not super catchy. If it had not been a mandatory read for a book club, I would not have finished it. the xhatcters did not have redeeming qualities and too much was unresolved. i didnt care if the titular character was successful or not...only the narrator made this really interesting.