Critical Era’s February 2013 Selection: Truth in Advertising by John Kenney


Critical Era is a free online contemporary fiction book club that meets with up and coming authors on a monthly basis to discuss their work.

We’re pleased to announce that our February 2013 read will be author John Kenney’s debut novel Truth in Advertising:

F. Scott Fitzgerald said that there are no second acts in American lives. I have no idea what that means but I believe that in quoting him I appear far more intelligent than I am. I don’t know about second acts, but I do think we get second chances, fifth chances, eighteenth chances. Every day we get a fresh chance to live the way we want.”

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 forty. 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 Super Bowl commercial for his diaper account in record time.

Fortunately, it gets worse. Fin 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 coworker Phoebe, question the importance of diapers in his life, and finally tell the truth about his past.

Truth in Advertising is debut novelist John Kenney’s wickedly funny, honest, at times sardonic, and ultimately moving story about the absurdity of corporate life, the complications of love, and the meaning of family. (From the publisher)

More about John Kenney:

John Kenney has worked as a copywriter in New York City for seventeen years. He has also been a contributor to The New Yorker magazine since 1999. Some of his work appears in a collection of the New Yorker’s humor writing, Disquiet Please! He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit  (from the publisher)

Best of all Mr. Kenney will be joining Critical Era online via Skype to discuss his novel with the group on the evening of Thursday, February 28th at 9PM Eastern.

Not a member? Sign up is a quick, easy, and free via the Goodreads website. All you need in order to participate is a computer and a microphone. Come join us!

What is Critical Era?

Critical Era is a free to join, online, contemporary fiction book club maintained and operated by Typographical Era through Goodreads.  Official selections are announced on a monthly basis.  All you need to do is grab yourself a copy of the book, read it, and then join us online for a healthy discussion about its contents.  From time to time, and whenever possible, the author of the novel will make his or herself available to the group during our live discussion to answer questions as well.

We only have one rule: Be nice to one another.  It is okay to not like a book.  It is NOT okay not to like a person because they did not like a book.

As a member of the club you’re not required to attend every meeting.  You’re free to read whatever titles that interest you and participate in whichever conversations that you’d like to be a part of.

Live discussions are facilitated by Typographical Era via Skype audio chat and are generally scheduled on the last Tuesday of each month at 9PM Eastern time.  You can download and install Skype here.  The basic application is free of charge and the paid premium services they provide are not required to take part in the monthly discussions.  In addition, communication throughout the month is encouraged through the club’s Goodreads forum.

Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you’re in England, Finland, or the United States, as long as you speak English (sorry, it’s the only language we’re fluent in!) and enjoying reading contemporary fiction, there’s a place for you here.

If you’ve got additional questions about Critical Era or you need assistance with using our Goodreads forums or with setting up Skype, please use the comment form below to contact us.

About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.