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Review: Apologize, Apologize!

August 14, 2009

Apologize, Apoligize

Collie Flanagan was born on the day JFK was assassinated.  His family is insanely rich and somewhat eccentric.  Collie’s mother, Anais, is very open about the fact that his brother, Bingo, is her favorite.  As a matter of fact, it seems like everyone in the family favors Bingo, except Anais’s father, who was in Collie’s corner.  Anais loathes her father (who Collie refers to as the Falcon) but tries not to antagonize him too much because he’s the one who controls the purse strings.

Collie is a serious, studious young man.  Most of his family can’t understand why he works so hard and why he wants to get a job.  Bingo is happy-go-lucky – everyone loves him and he loves everyone – but he is full of mischief and gets kicked out of one school after another.  At times, it seems Bingo is the thorn in Collie’s side.

Even though his family is full of quirky characters, life seems to be moving along fine for Collie – he graduated from Andover and is now attending Brown.  One day his family is struck by two terrible tragedies that change the course of Collie’s life forever.

I enjoyed the quirky characters and the unusual family dynamics in Elizabeth Kelly’s book, Apologize, Apologize! At times the characters seemed “way out there,” yet they were still believable.  I felt so much for Collie – he worked so hard and  achieved so much, but seemed to be lost in this family of larger than life characters.  Collie says,

Those fantastic Flanagans, they exist just outside the door leading to me.  Technicolor characters in what seems like a separate cartoon-strip version of my life.  Plain as a line drawing by comparison, I was the domestic equivalent of a moderate voice in a divided Ireland.

This story is told from Collie’s viewpoint and the writing is wonderful – descriptive and conversational.  I was drawn into Collie’s story and found myself thinking of it whenever I wasn’t able to read.  My only complaint with the book is that I would have liked a less ambiguous ending.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books.

36 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2009 6:04 am

    That’s interesting you’re reviewing this book : I just discovered it this week while looking for covers for my features. I found another one in fact, with a dog on it, and read the description and thought it sounded good! But I had never read a review on it. Now that I’ve read yours I really want to put my hand on it soon! Thank you!

  2. August 14, 2009 6:48 am

    I was wondering how this one was. Now I know..THANK YOU! I really need to put it on my wish list! So glad I found your site! You’re welcome by mine anytime!

    Thanks for having me!
    xo Park-Avenue Princess

  3. August 14, 2009 6:52 am

    Love the cover. And love the premise too. I like my endings crisp and complete. I’m okay with ambigous, only not too ambigious.

  4. August 14, 2009 7:03 am

    Sounds like a book rich in different characters. I think I would like that. I’m also curious about the title so that’s another thing that would help make a buying decision.

  5. August 14, 2009 7:16 am

    I had not heard of this book at all before reading your review. It sounds interesting, but I always am drawn to book about family dynamics.

  6. August 14, 2009 7:26 am

    I have a soft spot for quirky characters, so this sounds like something I’d enjoy.

  7. August 14, 2009 8:06 am

    I like the comment about “a moderate voice in a divided Ireland”. Sounds like a nice book.

  8. August 14, 2009 8:30 am

    Your review was, for me, a good teaser. Now I need to find the book so I can find out what happens to Collie.

  9. August 14, 2009 8:44 am

    Nice review. I’ve been wondering about this book since I first saw the title.

  10. August 14, 2009 8:44 am

    Ambiguous endings get me every time. I wish that I could appreciate them more than I do, but I don’t like just wondering and wondering with no hope for certainty.

  11. August 14, 2009 8:55 am

    i love the names and title! haven’t seen this one around but i’d be interested in reading it. i’m jotting it down–i want to know what happens! thanks for the review.

  12. August 14, 2009 9:07 am

    a book with a title that does grab your attention and make you wonder what it is about…which I guess is a very good thing for a book’s title to do!

  13. August 14, 2009 9:10 am

    I like the sounds of this – insanely rich family full of quirky characters … thanks for the review, Kathy; I’m adding it to my wish list.

  14. August 14, 2009 9:41 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one! I have it to read. Thanks for the review!

  15. August 14, 2009 9:57 am

    I saw this one in the bookstore and promptly put it on my wishlist. Thanks for the review that backs up my uninformed guess that it would be a good read. 🙂

  16. August 14, 2009 10:05 am

    This sounds charming. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  17. August 14, 2009 10:25 am

    Would you love to read “Apologize, Apologize. You write wonderful reviews.

  18. August 14, 2009 11:05 am

    I had seen this one but was on the fence with it. I just wasn’t sure it was for me but it does sound good. I’m glad you enjoyed it-that’s all that matters.

  19. August 14, 2009 11:09 am

    I love stories that focus on family dynamics and sibling relationships, especially — and this definitely sounds like one of those! I love the cover art, too.

  20. August 14, 2009 11:15 am

    I’m intrigued by the title.

  21. August 14, 2009 11:31 am

    Sounds like a winner even with the ending!!

  22. August 14, 2009 12:16 pm

    Thanks for the review Kathy. I can tell how descriptive this book is from the excerpt you provided.

  23. August 14, 2009 12:35 pm

    Collie and Bingo?!! Is “apologize, apologize” about the parents trying to make up for those names for their kids?!!!

  24. August 14, 2009 1:39 pm

    I haven’t heard of this book before now. It does sound good. I love quirky characters. Great review, Kathy.

  25. August 14, 2009 1:43 pm

    Sounds wonderful. I really like the excerpt you quoted – the writing flows. Will look for this one!

  26. August 14, 2009 4:28 pm

    That passage you shared was so descriptive. I often feel this way but didn’t have the words to describe it. I definitely am going to read this book. Appreciate you sharing your review and bringing it to my attention.

  27. August 14, 2009 6:31 pm

    I like quirky, believable characters so I’m glad you mentioned that point.

  28. August 14, 2009 9:45 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one Kathy. I had the audio version, and I did not care for it at all 😦

  29. August 14, 2009 9:49 pm

    This sounds good. I can relate to the idea of feeling like you get lost in the shuffle … I always felt my brother was the “golden boy” that everyone liked more than me! : )

  30. August 14, 2009 11:39 pm

    I don’t think I would have picked up this book if I were to come across it at first, but great review. I like the excerpt you have posted. =)

  31. stacybuckeye permalink
    August 15, 2009 12:20 am

    I don’t think I’ve read a review for this one yet and I’m glad I read yours! From the cover I probably would have looked right past this one, but now I’m thinking I might really like it. Great review!

  32. August 15, 2009 8:01 am

    I like family stories and quirky characters, so I think I’d enjoy this one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  33. August 15, 2009 11:58 am

    I loved this line: “I was the domestic equivalent of a moderate voice in a divided Ireland.” Sounds like one to keep in mind.

  34. August 15, 2009 4:39 pm

    It sounded like a it might be a good book from your review. I am also not a fan of ambiguous endings though so I don’t know that I would add this book to my wish list.

  35. August 16, 2009 10:18 pm

    Ambiguous ending = “make up your own”. At least, that’s what I do. LOL

  36. August 19, 2009 12:28 pm

    I have been wondering about this book. I had come across it a bit ago, and had hoped to find a review as well, but hadn’t yet so far. I’m glad to know that it was pretty good, and I will be putting it on my wish list. I really like quirky characters, so this one is definitely up my alley. Thanks!

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